Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

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15 2012

Ooedo-onsen Monogatari, Odaiba

ooedo-onsen_1

Last month, I went to a day hot spring named Ooedo-onsen Monogatari in Odaiba, the reclaimed land area in Tokyo Bay, by the Yorikamome train. It had been a long time since I had last taken this metropolitan government-run Rinkai Line.
先月、ゆりかもめに乗ってお台場の大江戸温泉物語に行って来ました。ゆりかもめに乗るのは久しぶりでした。

Though I have been to many spas in Tokyo, it was my first visit to the spa (opened in 2003) that calls itself a Tokyo’s first and only hot springs theme park.
都内の主だった日帰り温泉施設には行っていますが、2003年オープンのここは初めて。

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The building is constructed in traditional Japanese style.
外観も和風な佇まい。


While a main change house is situated next to a bathing area in other spas, it’s in entrance area away from a bathhouse. I mean, visitors have to change into Yukata (a Japanese bathrobe) for using the facilities.
普通の施設ではロッカールームは大浴場に隣接していますが、ここは入浴設備とは離れたエントランスのすぐ隣にあります。大江戸温泉では、入場者は浴衣に着替えないと館内に入れないのです。

ooedo-onsen_4 ooedo-onsen_5
Left: Visitors choose one of yukatas at the rental counter in the entrance zone.
Right: I chose this oiran (a high-class prostitute) yukata on which I shall never put again.
左:ここで浴衣を選びます。
右:私は最もあり得ない柄を選んでみました。


I experienced a moment of déjà vu when I went inside it. Then, I reminded Raumen Museum I visited last May (the previous post). The themes of the two spots are different: while the museum is decorated with the image of 1950s Tokyo, the spa’s theme is Tokyo in the Edo Period (1603-1867). However, “theme-park-style” commercial facilities, which were popular from 1990s to the early 2000s, are similar in tone to each other.
館内に入ると、既視感が…。5月に行った新横浜のラーメン博物館を思い出しました(その時の記事)。ラーメン博物館は昭和30年代、大江戸温泉は江戸とテーマは違うのですが、この手のテーマパーク型商業施設はどこも似たような雰囲気がありますね。

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The day spa reproduces streets at the festival in ancient Tokyo consisting of restaurants, food stands, souvenir shops, and attractions like fortune-telling, blowgun darts, ninja-knife throwing, etc.
館内にはお祭りで賑わう江戸の町角をイメージして作られています。レストランや屋台風フードコート、お土産店の他、辻占い、吹き矢や手裏剣投げなどのアトラクションも用意されています。


ooedo-onsen_8
The bathhouse is situated in the streets.
大浴場の入口も町の一角にあります。


The bathing area was quite attractive. There were plenty of facilities including one filled with 100% natural hot-spring water pumped from 1,400 meters underground, small ones with different temperatures, open-air baths, dry and steam saunas, etc. The spa provided other services: spa treatments, Japanese-style full-body and foot massages. There were multiple resting rooms and large tatami rooms where you can relax.
入浴設備はとても充実していました。地下1,400mから汲み上げた温泉風呂、温度を変えた浴槽、(私の好きな)シルキーバス、露天風呂、ドライサウナにスチームサウナ等など。スパトリートメントやマッサージもあるし、仮眠がとれる休憩室や、のんびり脚を伸ばせる大広間もあります。

Though it had everything needed for a day spa, personally, Ooedo-onsen offering extraordinary experiences wasn’t my kind of spot. I want to use one as an extension of our daily lives, so I felt its interior and service directing to be superfluous. However, it’s a perfect place for beginners of Japanese onsen and foreign tourist.
日帰り入浴施設に必要なものは全てそろっているのですが、個人的には、非日常を演出する大江戸温泉は私向きではありません。こういうところはあくまでも日常の延長でだらだらと楽しみたいので、ここの内装やサービス上の演出は余計なものと感じますし、落ち着けません(浴衣を強要されても困りますし)。でも、日帰り温泉初心者や外国人観光客にはうってつけの施設だと思います。

ooedo-onsen_9

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Posted by Kinakinw | 13:39 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Hot Spring & Bathhouse in Tokyo

03 2012

Day Spa, Oktoverfest, Chinese

GW1

Japan is in midst of the Golden Week holidays, a week between April 29th and May 5th, in which a lot of people return to their hometown or go on trips. I don’t travel during this period, but instead, I usually spend my free days hanging around in the Greater Tokyo Area.
ゴールデンウィーク真っ只中。皆さんいかがお過ごしですか?私はこの時期旅行はせず、たいがい首都圏をうろついています。

We went to a day spa, Manyo-no-yu spa, in Yokohama yesterday though it was unfortunately raining. This is said the spa provides hot spring water directly brought from Yogawara and Atami (the famous hot springs near Yokohama), but the water in its bathtubs has lost traits of original natural hot spring water. I would rather call it chlorine water.
昨日は雨の中横浜にある日帰り温泉、万葉の湯に行って来ました。この施設は湯河原と熱海から温泉を運んで使用している、所謂、運び湯温泉。でも浴槽のお湯はと言えば、温泉の名残を全く感じさせない塩素水なのですけれど。

However, I prefer it among several spas in the waterfront areas for the gorgeous view from outside bathtubs and all the equipment and facilities for all ages and diverse base. There are large bathtubs, open-air baths, the rooftop foot-bath with the view (in the opening photo), saunas, family bathrooms, relaxing rooms, various facilities for relaxation and esthetic treatment, restaurants, an Internet corner, game arcade, private rooms for party, hotel facilities, and so on.
それでもここが気に入っているのは、露天風呂からの素晴らしい眺望と、様々な設備が整っているから。露天風呂を含めた各種浴槽、屋上の足湯(冒頭の写真がそうです。夜は夜景が綺麗だと思います)ドライ・スチーム・ミストと揃っているサウナ、貸し切り風呂、リラックスルーム、ありとあらゆるマッサージや垢すり、食事処、ネットスペース、ゲーセン、宴会場貸し部屋に宿泊用客室など等、なんでもござれ。全年齢、あらゆる客層に対応している施設です。

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Left: It’s really relaxing to watch boats came in and out of port from an open-air bath.
Right: The large relaxing room
左:港を出入りする船を露天風呂からぼーっと眺めるのは格別。
右: TV付きリクライニングチェアが数多く並ぶリラックスルーム。この他にも同様の部屋が2箇所あるので、ここなら混雑していても席にあぶれることはないでしょう。


After taking a lot of sauna and rest, we headed to the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, a historical building used as a complex including a shopping mall, banquet hall, and event venues, where Oktoverfest Yokohama has been held during the Golden Week.
たっぷりサウナに入って昼寝した後、横浜オクトーバーフェストが行われている赤レンガ倉庫に向かいました。

GW5

Oktoverfest is a beer festival held annually in Munich, which is one of famous events in Germany. In recent years, an Oktoverfest style beer fest that gathered brewers in Munich and Japan has been held around Japan. Visitors can enjoy various beers and German foods. It’s the 10th in the series in Yokohama, and I think it’s popular among Yokohamans. There were a great many people in hard rain.
オクトーバーフェストとは、毎年ドイツミュンヘン市で開催されているビール祭り。ドイツではかなりメジャーなイベントだそうです。こんな集客の目玉になりそうなイベントを、同じようなビアガーデン文化を持つ日本が見逃すはずはなく、近年では本家と提携したこのビール祭りが日本各地で行われています。ミュンヘンや日本の醸造会社のビールスタンドやドイツ料理の屋台が立ち並び、大雨にもかかわらず大盛況でした。横浜オクトーバーフェストは10回目だそうで、このイベントは横浜の人々に浸透していて大人気なのだと思います。いつもは名前の通り、秋に開催されるそうですが、今年はゴールデンウィークにも行われているそうです。夏場は日本式ビアガーデン、春や初夏、秋はドイツ式のビアフェストと、我が国はお祭り気分で生ビールが飲める機会に恵まれているのです。

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We wavered between many beer stalls. A TV reported the fest.
目新しいビールが多すぎて、どれにしようか迷いました。この日はTVの取材も入っていました。


The venue was so crowded that we gave up having German dinner and moved to the Yokohama China town. I switched drink from beer to Chinese wine and had a quick meal before we went back.
会場があまりに混雑していたため、ドイツ料理はあきらめて中華街に移動しました。お酒を老酒に変えて軽く食事して1日を終えました。

GW9 GW10

Posted by Kinakinw | 11:44 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Hot Spring & Bathhouse in Tokyo

25 2010

Hot Spring in Tokyo

信楽風呂
An Example of a Bathtub in a Hot Spring Resort

Do you have plans to come to Tokyo sometime soon?
If you’ll not be able to take a stay-over trip to Onsen (温泉: hot spring resorts) because of a tight schedule, in Tokyo there are plenty of places where you can feel like you are visiting real Onsen. That’s half a day of free time you need. Just bring yourself.

I visited a number of day spas in and around the Tokyo metropolitan area.
I pick up two treasured spas among them. You can reach them within 1-hour form main part of Tokyo.


Jindai-ji Hot Spring “Yukari” (深大寺温泉ゆかり)

Location: Chofu City, from Shinjuku 20 min by train + 10 - 20 min by bus or taxi
The nearest station is Chofu (Keio Line).
Price: 1,650 yen (including rental towels and a pair of pajamas)
Feature: It’s nice and cozy with Japanese Ryokan flavor. The indoor bathing area is not so spacious but comfortable. There are 5 unique bathtubs in open air space: a tub inside the cave, a wooden tab, a tub surrounded by rocks, a tub in a hexagonal hut and so on. I like the tub in the hut!
Tip: The hot spring water is deep brown, which contains ancient maritime component.
English Information on Cool Japan Guide website:
http://www.tenkai-japan.com/2010/03/01/43-onsen-with-the-best-feng-shui-yukari/
HP (only in Japanese, but it'll be fun to look at the photos):
http://www.shiroyama-gr.co.jp/yukari/

湯の色

“Niwa no Yu” (Toshimaen Garden Spa 庭の湯)

Location: Nerima Ward, from Ikebukuro 20 min by Seibu Line (Toshimaen station) or from Shinjyuku15 min by Ohedo subway Line (Toshimaen station), just a 1 – 2 min walk from both stations
Price: 2,250 yen (including rental towels and a pair of pajamas)
Feature: It’s surrounded by greenery, so when I was sitting in the outdoor bathtub, I felt as if I was in distant Onsen. There are three different types of sauna: dry, steam and mist. Nice! Not only the bathing area, there are a pool and outdoor Jacuzzis (bathing suit required).
Tip: Various massages and treatments are available.
English Information on CNN website:
http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/sleep/niwa-no-yu-649322
HP (some English captions):
http://www.niwanoyu.jp/


For general bath manner information, David Kawabata’ Site is helpful.
http://www.iloveyu.jp/learn/manners/manners.html

I’ll present another day spas some other time.
人気ブログランキングへ

Posted by Kinakinw | 12:28 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Hot Spring & Bathhouse in Tokyo

08 2010

Empresses of “Sento” Empire

Do you want to take a hot bath?

Most Japanese love soaking a bathtub, and I sure do love that. Though I have a bathtub at home, I prefer a spacious bathroom and often go to a public bathhouse, “sento” (Dr. Wikipedia details it). My favorite sento nearby has a sauna (extra cost), and I always spend about 2 hours taking the sauna and sitting in a nice hot water every Sunday evening.

In most sentos some older persons who frequents have been a sort of autocratic Empresses :D. Those regulars gave me sento etiquette training in my elementary school days. They are rulebooks. Lately I’ve noticed that Empresses are having a hard time with newcomers of their generation. The newcomers are not familiar with sento etiquette. They come to bathhouses because they get free tickets, which Local Governments give them as part of health promotion activities for the elders. Unfortunately, sometimes conflicts occur between them =).

The problem is the water temperature. In a sento in downtown Tokyo bath temperature is very high - between 43 and 45 degrees C (109~113 degrees F), and regulars love a very hot bath. Besides common rules for a communal bath (e.g. wash one’s body with soap and then rinses oneself thoroughly before dipping into a bathtub), there are local rules differ from region to region and sento to sento. One of the local rules is about how to take this very hot bath. If there are two separate tubs, you can add water only one of them (let’s ask a grandma). However, you must never try to adjust an entire tub to your suitable temperature. The right way is that under a running faucet you dip into under the faucet where the temperature of water drops. Then, when you soak up to your shoulders, turn the faucet off as quick as a flash. If bathtubs seem separate, they are continuous at the bottom. Don’t forget Empresses desire a very hot bath, and adding water effects on the other tub.

Some newcomers who don’t know or just ignore this rule add too much water into a bathtub. When Empresses give them a mild verbal reprimand, it sometimes creates an explosive situation. They don’t have a quarrel but start whinging. At an unfortunate time I’m told complaints from both sides. Empresses point out the newcomers’ rudeness, and the others say the regulars don’t know too hot water is dangerous to health.

I don't really care either temperature….
Come on, grandmas! I just want to relax and enjoy my bath time.
It's a toss-up!

Posted by Kinakinw | 12:08 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Hot Spring & Bathhouse in Tokyo

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