Last week one of my students told me about a great onsen/spa/resort he frequently visits, called Healing Villa, located somewhere in Chiba, with huge outdoor pools, a great big sauna, and an overall healing and chilled-out vibe. I’m all in favor of those things, had a weekend coming with no plans, so decided to head off to check it out.
Generally I’m not one for spas, or massage, or any of that ‘relaxing, healing’ stuff. People in Japan often go on onsen holidays, and while I’ve always liked onsen myself, I could never imagine spending a whole day dipping in and out of hot water and not feeling like a bit of a fool. Well, the Healing Villa put that idea to the test. We didn’t stay a whole day, but for about 4 hours we were heated, soaked, cooled, and heated again, in the swimming pool, in the massive sauna room, in the various outdoor hot pools, and in the fridge room.
It’s funny this post should could so closely on the heels of my post about volcanic ash-fall, where I talked about how I felt at Pompeii. At the Healing Villa I felt like an ancient Roman, really taking the time to chill the heck out, lurching my body from hot pool to hot pool, trying the various heats, depths, chemical compositions, and aromas.
My favorite was the sauna room. I’d never seen anything like it- supposedly in the Korean style- just a big huge hall, filled with people lying around on the floor, everyone dressed in the brown cassocks the place provides. The picture below left will probably may you some idea of the size. At first I thought- well, this sucks, it’s hardly going to be hot, but I was wrong. About half of the time the room is at 50 degrees, but when the chugging train of super-heated bricks gets trotted out in the middle, within the railing in the picture, the place steams right up to 90. Phew, that’s hot.
We lay down on the floor (me and SY), books in hand, got ourselves a few wooden pillow chocks, and settled to read in the heat for a few hours. when the steam train rolled out it was sweltering. Kids ran around, people nearby groaned with the heat, and I began to see why the Japanese may enjoy onsen so much. It’s kind of a work-out. Getting your body so hot for so long is pretty exhausting work. Plus there’s the feeling of comunity. We were all lying around together, all dressed the same like cult members, all getting our sweat on.
Well, I recommend this place to any and all. At only 1,500 yen for a whole day, along with numerous massage and relaxation packages, it makes a perfect trip for a couple, a family, for anyone.
Now, I’ll sit back and wait for the Healing Villa to contact me and offer some advertising cash :).
Location – Inzai Makinohara, Chiba.
Access- 80 minutes from Nihombashi on the Asakusa line, which turns into the Hokuso line. 5 minutes walk from the station. Tickets are around 1,200 yen.
Cost- 1,500 yen for all day, 1,000 yen for 1 hour.
Facilities- Swimming pool, huge sauna, many mini saunas, wide range of outdoor baths, lots of massage courses.
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