He was a doll, and it was worth the price, just to talk and joke with this friendly guy...
Later, after a long boat ride, getting lost on Odaiba island and heading in the wrong direction on the monorail I finally arrived at Oedo Onsen Monogatori, just as the sun was going down.
Although a "re-created" onsen (read, Las Vegas style) with a sand bath, a foot healing stream, 10 indoor baths, 8 outdoor baths, massage, salt scrubs, fish foot therapy, hot stone baths and a beautiful food and bar courtyard, it really is an amazing experience. Of course, going out into the country side to experience a "real" onsen in the woods is the ideal, but if time doesn't allow, this is a fun option.
|The inner courtyard and shops|
|The food hall|
|The entrance to the hot baths. Women have red noren (curtains), men have blue|
|Everyone wears a yukkata|
This girl is getting a refreshing cup of iced green tea, which is dispensed like water
So I waded all the way to the other end without tears and was quite proud of myself. Next, I tried the Fish Therapy foot bath. Apparently this is all the rage all over the world now. These little fish eat the dead skin off your feet and your feet come out of the bath completely renewed. They're happy, you're happy.
I finally did look down after about two minutes...my feet were covered, like I had on fish boots and I was so terrified suddenly that I shrieked and pulled my feet out of the water. The women continued to nod at me and I immediately stood up and went to the door. The manager came to ask if I was alright and I said "Gomen nasai, sukijanai." I'm sorry, I don't like it. He said, but you have 15 more minutes before they are finished! I bowed and made my exit, he bowed and kept trying to get me to sit down. Arigatou, doumo, doumo I said as I bowed myself out.
Finally, I headed to the baths. The women's room was giant, the biggest indoor bath I've ever seen. Multiple tubs of every temperature, with different minerals and salts, wet saunas, dry saunas, scrub rooms. The rotemburo (outdoor bath) had a bamboo cover and the moon was out. There was one large outdoor bath and then quite a few barrel baths, made for only one person at a time.
What I love about the Japanese bath culture is that it's just so natural. Kids are with their moms, girl friends and middle-aged and old-lady friends are just hanging out, talking, laughing, relaxing. I wish America wasn't so hung up on the naked body. We could learn a lot from a culture that just hangs out naked together a lot.
I didn't leave the onsen until 11:00 pm. In six hours I had oodles of time in the baths, a salt scrub, two meals, a glass of shucho and a half pint of beer...it's hard to leave that kind of paradise.