As stated in an earlier post, we have decided to take advantage of weekends off-call and experience as much of Japan as possible. We decided this weekend to head towards Hakone, a hot springs area, for the day to go to the 'Yunessun". This is a mixture of hot springs spa and amusement park.
The drive was only about 2 hours (we got lost for about 20 minutes though - so about 2:20) and we were there! Parking was easy and the people working there seemed used to English speaking customers and were very nice in explaining what we needed to do.
First, we split off (boys and girls) to the locker rooms to get ready. When we were done, we met up in the first area known as the Aegean Sea pool. This was a huge heated indoor area with shallow waters, jet sprays, bubbles, etc. They even had a 'thunder and lightning' theme accompanied by cool splashed of rain water coming down at you once in a while. I think the kids would have been fine if we stayed in this area all day. There were a lot of other people - but it never felt crowded.
Next we headed up the stairs to the dreaded OUTSIDE! It was freezing out. Literally. We were up in the mountains, snow still covering the ground. So to run outside in your bathing suit was less than desirable. But right outside the doors was a hot tub to soak in and warm up your body. Then, you could walk up the stairs to "rodeo mountain". There were 2 more tubs at the top of the stairs, to regain your warmth again. One was super hot, another was just hot. Once you were boiling hot again, you could get to the top of the slides and have fun! Evie was too small to go down the slides - but she still went up and soaked in the top with me. Patrick and Gavin went down a few times (as Evie and I sat in the lower hot tub) and I went down once with Gavin (just to experience it. It was so awesome to be outside in freezing air - but be totally warm. I am so glad we went in the winter - as I think the experience would not be as amazing in the summer.
After we had our fun with Rodeo Mountain, we headed back inside for the Dr. Fish. This is a large pool that has those fish (you know you have heard about them) that eat the dead skin off of your feet. It tickles to high H*LL but was such a cool experience. The kids were troopers and joined us. We told them they were "kiss fish" that kiss your feet...so they were excited! After the first few squeals (from all of us - including Patrick) you started to get used to the tickling feeling. The kids flinched everytime one touched them, but I tried to stay still to get a few on and get some pics. You got 4 minutes in the pool - which was long enough!!!
After the kiss fish, we headed towards the outside pools. The kids were most excited about these for some reason when they saw the brochure. The was the chocolate bath, the coffee bath, the red wine bath, the green tea bath, the sake bath, the charcoal bath and a waterfall bath. Each supposedly has benefits for your skin or health - but all I know is they felt like heaven. Again, we had to muster the courage to take the first steps outside to get into the hotness - but we were so happy we did! I think the kids liked the red wine bath the best (they are my kids, of course) because it made them look purple! I liked the sake one because it was the hottest. The green tea one was also very soothing...so I couldn't really give a favorite. Just imagine how you feel after sitting in a hot tub for a while - and multiply (safely) by 5 hours!!! So utterly, totally exhausting and relaxing. It was great...especially because the kids loved it just as much as Patrick and I did!
Here are a few of the outdoor pool pics:
Coffee Bath -
Red Wine Bath -
Green Tea Bath -
Sake Bath -
Charcoal Bath -
Waterfall Bath -
Random Bath at top of mountain -
What the kids looked like on the way home -