Flesh Eating Fish

Tonight, Tom and I took the girls to an onsen theme park in Tokyo.  It is a theme park based solely on how much the Japanese love to take a bath.  When you arrive, you select the Yukata of your choice (a cotton bath robe) and change into the robe and leave all your belongings in a locker.  They provide each guest with a bar coded bracelet that you use to pay for things while you enjoy your stay.  When we first arrived, we decided to meet Tom in the only bath area that was co-ed.  It was a large outdoor foot bath where you walk through the various “rivers” filled with cemented river rocks which are supposed to “massage your feet”.  In actuality, you watch a bunch of people in their bath robes hobble in pain from one uncomfortable rock bed to another.  Tucked away in the back was the private room where, for an extra fee, tiny carp nibble on the dead skin on your feet.  Of course, we had to do that.  For someone who refuses to touch the bottom anytime i am in the ocean, it was a surreal experience.  slithery fish nibbling on your toes, your heals, and up your legs.  It almost felt like small electric shocks.  Sophie’s feet were not that interesting to the fish.  Annie refused to put her feet in at all and Tom and my feet had swarms of fish feasting away.  It has been awhile since I had a pedicure (they are $90 in Tokyo!)… After the fish feeding experience, we split up and went into the single sex baths.  When in the locker room, you must remove your yukata and walk completely naked through the locker room (filled with women and children) into the main bath area, select a small stall, sit down and bathe yourself completely.  they provide a small hand shower head, shampoo, shower gel and a bucket to dose yourself.  once clean, you are free to walk around the indoor and outdoor baths (the rooms were football field size) with various types of bathes.  Some were hotter than others, some with bubbles, some had milky white water, some looked like wooden japanese tubs and only held 2 or 3 people.  There was  cold plunge pool, a suana, a steam room, a massage room where women were being rubbed down in bright lights completely naked… We spent about 1/2 hour going from one bath to the next, trying them out, ranking them.  As the time went by I realized i felt less and less self conscious.  By the end of the half hour i was walking upright instead of hunching over trying to hide my nakedness.  I must report that the bikini wax has not made its way to Japan unfortunately.  The girls and i were feeling very relaxed but extremely hungry.  We dried off, put our Yukata back on and waited for Tom to finish (he took at least 15 minutes more than us!)  We walked into the main hall, found an empty table and everyone went in search of their dinner.  The girls chose sushi and Tom and I had Udon noodles in soup with Shrimp Tempura and i had a nice cold Asahi Beer.  After dinner, the girls played some games, treated themselves to dessert (using their handy bar coded bracelets) and Tom and I sat at the table and continued to relax.  We were back in the car by 7pm and home by 7:30.  The girls have school tomorrow but its a Japanese holiday so Tom and I are going to bike to a Japanese garden, walk around and then have lunch in the garden.  Sayanora….

1 thought on “Flesh Eating Fish

  1. hilarious, I did a google search for onsen theme parks looking for one in Hakone, and your blog came up first..I knew it was you right away

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