Tag Archives: Japanese Culture

Another catch up and a visit to an onsen during Golden Week


Yet again I’ve been slow on the updates, though for good reason. The lovely new laptop I had brought out to me had a fit of selfishness and drank my cup of hot chocolate one evening so I’ve spent a little while laptopless again. I am now an expert a keeping myself amused without it. It was a good thing I decided I was going to read my way through the entire works of Terry Pratchett while I was here (thank you Kindle). So now I have yet another new laptop, and it has a snazzy Japanese keyboard, unfortunately I’ve had to transfer the settings into English so it actualy doesn’t work as a Japanese keyboard now but as a British one (going to involve a lot of stickers when I get back unless I switch it over when I get back).

So, things I haven’t yet talked about on here…

Despite it now having been a very long time ago, At the beginning of May we had a week of holidays that’s known in Japan as Golden Week. So, we had a sort of half term basically. Usually Japanese people go off on Holiday during this time, but as all the prices for travel and hotels etc go up during this period, us poor, exchange students didn’t really go anywhere outside of Tokyo and it’s immediate area. Though we still had fun. On the first day I arranged a trip to Oedo Monogatari Onsen in Odaiba seeing as a fair few of us hadn’t yet visited one. It’s a very tourist style Onsen and it’s set up to try and create a feel of how Tokyo would have looked when it was still Edo. We visited after six in the evening as it was a lot cheaper and spent about four hours there. I had a little drama where I thought I’d lost my shoe locker key (turned up in the lining of my bag AFTER I’d paid the fine for losing it, thank you refunds though) but over than that it was a really nice experience.

There was one main room of baths, there was a separate room for men, and they had a variety of types, temperatures, some outside and even a sauna and steam room. First of all we had to choose a yukata thing to wear around the Edo style street, so we went into the first changing room and took off everything but our underwear and then put the yukata on. After that we had a quick stroll around to find everything and then went to the main bath rooms. There were also over things offered such as massages, a sand bath, the doctor fish thing and so on, but you had to pay an extra fee for those. We’d all gotten over the whole ‘oh god we’re naked in front of each thing’ a while ago so there was no shame after leaving the second changing room being completely starkers. Seeing as this was a more tourist place there were other foreigners there, and luckily no one making a scene being all ‘people are looking at me’ blah.

Before we got in the baths we had to have a shower and make ourselves clean, so we enjoyed the very nice quality shampoos and soaps available and then got on with bathing. They gave us this little towel as well, which I didn’t really understand as it wasn’t big enough to preserve modesty and there wasn’t much point in drying yourselves in between baths, so maybe it was just to keep your hair out of the way. Dunno. But the baths were really nice, though some were a little too hot so we couldn’t sit in them for more then five minutes before you start to feel faint. Also the one hot spring bath they had there was about forty degrees and very brown, which I assume was due to the minerals etc in the water (at least I hope so). There was a bath of very cold water as well which you are supposed to use when you come out of the sauna but we just hopped in whenever we got too hot. Heh heh. I think one of my favourites was the ‘bed bath’ which is essentially a lie down jacuzzi. It was really comfortable and relaxing. After that we went back out of the baths, and tried the outdoor foot bath, it was quite cold out there so we didn’t spend too much time out there and also some of the pebbles and stuff they put in there, which I assumed was the stimulate circulation in our feet or something, were VERY painful so that one wasn’t our favourite. After that we had another wander around the street, ate an ice cream, drank some tea, Ollie bought a stress banana, and then we were all very sleepy at this point so we decided to head back. Definitley want to try and head to another Onsen before I leave and I recommend it to anyone if they get the opportunity to try it, just be aware that you get very sleepy afterwards so don’t plan too much stuff afterwards!