Stuff yourself until you’re full, and after that, get naked! Doesn’t sound like the best idea, but in Ooedo Onsen you can do just that. And it’s awesome!
It went like this: Charlotte and I already visited the cat café and the Kawaii Monster Café that morning, to quickly get all of the things on our Tokyo checklist done. It was early in the afternoon, and we decided: “Let’s go for a swim!” But not before we visited Shinjuku to get me a GoPro, waterproof camera case or… I was happy I eventually decided to buy a 2000¥ waterproof phone case.
So we were heading for Odaiba, where Ooedo Onsen is located. They call it a themepark, but I wouldn’t call it that. It’s an onsen, or Japanese bath house (in case you ever wondered what this emoji meant… ♨️), in entertainment style.
You enter, take off your shoes, put them in a locker and get a wrist band at the counter. The wristband will register all your purchases, so you can pay for them when checking out. Very convenient! You proceed to the next counter, where you can choose from eleven different yukata (like a simple kimono) designs.
Onwards to the dressing rooms! Your wristband is also the key to your locker, so you have to search for your number and then it’s clothes off, yukata on! Charlotte and I were optimistic and wore our bikini’s underneath, oh, stupid gaijin.
From the dressing room we entered a big, kinda tacky hall with all kinds of stands. Sushi, crêpes, ramen, ice cream… They have it all. The food hall was decorated like a old Japanese town: every stand was a cute little house, there was a watch tower with party lights and Mt Fuji was painted on the wall. Next to the food hall was a tatami room, where you could eat, drink and relax. A few steps away there were games you’d find at a fair, something with fishing a ball out of a bucket of water, or something like that.
Okay, cool, but ehm… Where’s the pool? It didn’t take long before we spotted the entrance. Men to the right, women to the left. We went left and found another dressing room. Huh? We received a big and a small towel, and saw all the women walking around naked. Naked, with the small towel on their heads. Ehhh…?
Fortunately there was a French woman, explaining it all to us. The baths are gender separated, because you have to be naked! Embarrassed, we took our bikini’s off, draped the towel into a cute bow on our heads and, well… Pretended this was all completely normal to us. My phone stayed in my locker, because it was forbidden in the onsen. (Doh.)
When entering an onsen, you have to wash yourself with hot water, which you pour on yourself with wooden bowls. After that, you can chill out in one of the many hot tubs. There bubble baths, normal baths, sitting baths, lying baths… There was also a bath outside, with rocks and atmospheric lighting. You can’t really swim though: the water is only knee-high.
After soaking in the pool for a while (and finishing with ice water, iieeeh!), we were starting to get hungry. Charlotte ordered a little desert. Or, little…?
Talking about emoji: hello! 🍧
I got sushi and a crêpe, after which we went looking for the foot bath. It was outside, in the dark, with only a few atmospheric lights… And the harbour in the background and planes flying low, heading for Haneda. They also had food baths with fishies, but you had to pay extra for them, so we were like, nope.
We ate some more, sent my mum video messages over the free wifi and decided it was time to head back home. Not that we had to, though. The onsen is open until 9:00 in the morning, the next day!
I still don’t really know what to think of the Ooedo Onsen. It reminds me of the cheap, tacky all-you-can-eat facilities we have back home, but on the other hand, it’s sooo nice! Everything is provided for: the yukata, but also shampoo, towels, brushes, toothpaste, hairdryers… So you could spontaniously decide to go to the onsen after work – you wouldn’t need a bikini anyway. And even though it’s not all-inclusive, because of the wristband it does feel like it. You can deal with the damage later, haha.
The damage for me was around 35 euros. The entree fee (after six) is ¥1,980 (about 15 euros), the rest was for the food. Charlotte had a cheaper night out, with her desert she totalled at 20 euros. Do you want to go to Ooedo Onsen? Take the JR to Shimbashi and catch the Yurikamome (driverless train, yay for nerds!) to Telecom Center. It’s only a two minute walk from there. Please keep in mind: since they’re related to maffia in Japan, tattoos are forbidden.