There is a certain experience that one friend who partly lives in Japan said I should do: spend some relaxing time at an onsen. Onsens are day spas centered around natural hot springs in the area. Perfect for spending a personal day of peace – similar to day spas in Koreatown in Los Angeles.
Because our flight back to Los Angeles was in the early evening, and our flight from Osaka to Narita arrived mid morning, we had some time to fill. I knew that the best solution to unwind and relax before our nine hour flight would most likely be at the hot springs, closest to the airport. Soranoyu Spa Resort fit the goal perfectly.
After checking our bags at JAL ABC in Terminal 1 for a shockingly cheap price, we were on our way to the Soranoyu Spa Resort’s pick up bus in Terminal 2.
Now, the bus pick up is at Terminal 2, Bus Stop 23-b. The time tables are listed. The complimentary shuttle bus picks you up – exactly on time – and whisks you way literally to another world.
Once we arrived, we were directed to take off our shoes and put them in lockers. Then, you go to the check in counter and communicate how long you would like to stay on premise. You can also rent towels at the front.
Once you go up the elevator, to the third floor, the fun begins. After undressing and putting my items in a locker, I began my rounds.
Similar to a Korean bath house (I’ve been to a few Korean spas in LA), you wash up at a bath stall. Then, you get on with it.
Obviously, no camera or photography is allowed in the bathing area.
I absolutely loved soaking in the single outdoor tub, the pipping hot, hot spring tub, the herbal steam room (I think this was my favorite), and the jetted spa. Rinsing off between plunges and dips, I truly wished that I had more time to be present. However, with my paranoia about time, security and checking our bags in for our flight, we only had a total of 30 minutes at the spa.
To have the light Japanese rain falling on me as I relaxed in the outdoor natural hot spring? It was absolutely worth it.
Also, I did not feel odd being a black female in a Japanese onsen. In fact, that never even crossed my mind. Perhaps it’s the way I move about the world. Also, it could be that outside of the United Station, I’m simply considered American first, before Black. But, the women I encountered were respectful of personal space and minded their own business and relaxation – as everyone should.
As we returned to the terminal after our visit via shuttle (taking a taxi would take around the same amount of time), I reflected on how incredible my week in Japan had been. Even with the heat, humidity and the rain – it was such an incredible time. Yes, there is a clear line between the tourists life and the local’s life. But, spending time at Sora no Yu Onsen Spa Resort really allowed me the peace of mind to mentally bring everything together and gain closure on my experiences.
Until next time.
Sora no Yu Onsen Spa Resort
２７-1 Kayama Shinden
Shibayama, Chiba, Japan