Monday, 22 April 2013

Japan - Hakone Hotel Kowakien and Hot Spring bath

This is a continuation from our second day in Hakone.

Thwarted by the weather, we decided to take a bath in the hotel. At the public bath. Hot spring. Naked. Make and female are separated but you are required to go in naked. It was quite an experience. I told Cs that we should try it once. Hahah I'm glad we did though. Now that its over, I can say it was erm fun? Haha.

Initially we wanted to try both the naked and clothed experience at Yunessun (water park) together. But since we have a public bath at the hotel (most hotels have public baths), so we thought might as well just save the money and go for the public bath at the hotel. 

This is our hotel for the night. I chose it for the location - just opposite the road to Yunessun. Convenient. Plus there are bus stops right outside the hotel. 

Location wise, it was good. Its easy by bus to the attractions like Moto Hakone to Hakone Shrine, to Lake Ashi, and back from Gora. There is also a Family Mart close by where we bought our dinner and breakfast. Convenient and cheap.

It is quite a big hotel. Service was good but then again service was awesome every where in Japan. But they didn't let us check in till 2pm. Boo. They did give us a big room with triple beds though. We booked a twin room. No idea why but no complains.

The lobby was on the 5th floor (if I'm not mistaken) overlooking the gardens. There were still some cherry blossom trees. So pretty in pink. 

We finally checked in at 2pm. When we opened the door to our room, we faced another three doors. How different from what we're used to. The door on the left is the closet, the one straight ahead opens to the toilet and the third on the right is finally our room!

I loved this room. It was so comforting holed up in here while the wind howled outside. 

After settling in, we took a shower and put on our swimsuits and a t shirt and shorts to go find the public bath. 

I told Cs that people go into the bath naked and that you're supposed to shower beforehand. He said no lah, impossible. Can't be naked. Don't believe me!! 

We looked so out of place with our t shirt and shorts. Most people came in wearing the robes provided by the hotel in our rooms.

Almost all other hotel guests (except the two of us) were wearing this robe to the public bath. With the hotel slippers. At least we got the slippers correct. Hahah. Stupid. 

So I got in, took a locker and stripped. And tried not to notice the other naked women walking around. Not as embarrassing as I thought. Walk tall, walk proud. Haha. 

This is where you can dry your hair etc afterwards. I didn't linger. I dried myself, put on my clothes and scuttled back to my room straightaway. Hahah..

Anyway. Start at the beginning. 

First you should know the bathing etiquette. You are given a locker and you strip down to nothing.

Take your locker key with u and a small towel and go take a shower. The Japanese shower sitting on stools. So you wash your whole body with shampoo, soap etc and basically scrub yourself clean in full view of other women.

But nobody stares at each other, no worries. No one is interested. I sneak a glance at other people's backsides or glance over at them because I want to know if I'm doing it right. Hahah.

When you're finally clean, then you can go to the bath.

I stole these two photos off the hotel website. It was not empty when I was there. There were about 10 women indoors and more outdoors.

 Don't get your very small towel wet. The women tie them on their heads like headband, so I did the same. It was so so so so hot!! This was my first time so I was not used to it at all.

 In the beginning, I had my face all screwed up and walking halfway into the bath and stopping halfway cringing, and didn't dare go all the way in. The stupid tourist. Haha. I guess it would be nice if I had a friend at least. So we can be stupid together. Bah.

Prior to going in, Cs and I decided on 30 mins tops and we should meet each other outside. Initially I thought  30 mins was too short, but we just wanted to try it for the experience.

In reality,  it was quite boring inside alone with no one to talk to, and cannot stare at other women. Cannot understand other Japanese conversations. I just thought of Cs and what he was doing in the men's section.

After about 15 mins in the bath, I decided that was enough. It was so so so hot anyway and I had nothing to do. Nothing enlightening coming to mind due to the heat and boredom.

I stood up and almost blacked out. Literally. Scared me half to death. My legs went weak, I couldn't see. I had to stand still for it to pass. Thank God I didn't pass out.

What's worse than passing out? Passing out naked in a hot bath in a foreign country. Would be a nice FML story if it happened. Heheh.

 It was my first time and apparently you should not spend more than 15 mins inside the hot water. You should come out, walk around or wash some cold water. Your blood pressure will go down and that will cause you to faint. I didn't know that. Thought that something was wrong with me. Too weak or something. Hahah idiot.

Seriously, the aftermath of it was: I felt so tired, so hot and so dizzy. I didn't get much sleep the night before at the airport, plus I spent the day out I'm the cold so I think that combined with the hot spring bath made me feel quite faint.

I literally tumbled into bed immediately. After waking up, I felt almost back to normal already. Hahah useless. For Cs it was ok. Just am experience.

And no, we didn't feel embarrassed or anything. Now that it is over, I think it was quite fun. :)

Moving on.

For dinner, we went to Family Mart to buy a selection of food back. Loved this takoyaki (octopus balls) with noodles. I miss convenience store food.

Sorry but you gotta bear with me saying I miss this and that for quite some time. Japan has completely won me over. 

This looks like mochi but tastes exactly like cheese cake..

Cs loves these desserts. Y298 is about RM9. Like a slice of Secret Recipe cheese cake only better. :)

These are hot spring eggs that turn black due to the sulphuric content. It tastes like normal chicken eggs, just the smell that's a bit different. That sulphur smell you get at Owakudani.

Happy drinks at night. Bliss.

I left them by the window cos it was so cold outside. Icy cold. Nice.

I thought the bath tub was so cute. It was deeper and shorter than normal. Cute. Cs and I can fit inside together. Not bad. Can't tell eh? Its really quite deep.

At night, flipping through all the Japanese channels, we finally found an English movie. "The Tourist" starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Yes! Finally! Until we realized it was in Japanese too. It's so funny hearing Johnny Depp say arigatou. Hahah. We finished watching it anyway.

These are my holiday nails. A bit messy actually.

OK bye. 

No comments: