Hakone, Kanagawa is home to the most popular spa centre in all of Japan for a period of 12 days every year. What makes this outdoor hot springs and spa resort so popular, you ask? Well, the sheer ridiculousness of it all, of course. Leave it to the Japanese to exaggerate spa-based practices to the point where they are quite comical (and efficacy of treatments become questionable). Regardless, the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun offers guests the chance to stew in large ponds of green tea, coffee, sake or red wine all in the name of healthy and well-being. Touted as more of a water amusement park than a health spa, Hakone Kowakien Yunessun only opens the wine pool for 12 days a year. T
he most popular type of wine in Japan is the Beaujolais Nouveau, and for the last four years, the spa has been providing a yearly opening of the wine pool in which Beaujolais Nouveau is piped into the pool via an oversized wine bottle that is filled with eager bathers. For those of you who are sad to hear of the wasted wine, fret not – the bathers are tended to by a sommelier who is ready to fill up their glasses with the same wine they are bathing in out of a fresh bottle.
The powers that be at the spa, claim that bathing in red wine is a rejuvenation treatment for the body – a belief that was popularized by Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Bathing in a large vat of coffee (coffee grinds mixed with natural hot spring water) is effecting in treating skin suffering from fatigue and the aroma of the coffee will “perk up the senses”. The Green Tea spa features teas from the Tanzawa and Hakone mountains and the spa area features a giant 2m tall tea pot. The aromatic green tea contains Catechin, a powerful anti-oxidant that fights tumours and enhances the immune system. And finally, bathing in a sake-filled tub will improve the beauty of one’s skin…or at least that’s what the folks over at the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Hot Springs Amusement Park & Spa Resort say.
Additional amenities at the spa include the Mori NO YU resort zone that allows guests to enjoy the hot springs in a secluded area that is designated as a nude bathing zone. Wow.
official spa website