A First-Timer’s Guide to Visiting a Sauna in Japan
Refresh your mind and body.
The summer season in Japan can be quite unforgiving. As a matter of fact, many locals have come up with different approaches for dealing with the hot weather. For men, especially nowadays, they visit saunas as a way of refreshing both their bodies and minds. This activity not only helps them combat the summer heat, but also keeps their bodies in the best condition possible.
Want to know what makes it so special? In this article, our model, Aoyama, shares his experience of staying at the so-called “oasis of working people” or sauna.
Akasaka, Tokyo is one of the most prominent business districts in Tokyo. Even today, senior businessmen come and go here. The Sauna Resort Oriental is located on the second floor of Centurion Hotel Grand Akasaka. It is a two-minute walk from Akasaka-mitsuke Station and a three-minute walk from Akasaka Station.
As the place’s name indicates, the facility is designed to have a Japanese-style feel. “Visiting this resort in the city already has healing effects on me,” says Aoyama. “I’m excited to try the sauna as well!” The manager Mr. Matsumoto explains to him the basics of using the sauna.
“First, hydration is important. When entering the sauna, depending on the person, one can sweat about 200-400cc in 10 minutes. Because of this, hydration is essential prior to entering. Before entering the sauna, take a shower first. How long one stays in the sauna will depend on your physical condition, which we will consult with you. But the general guideline is 10 minutes. After getting out of the sauna, wash away your sweat before entering the bath area. Washing away your sweat first is good etiquette,” says Mr. Matsumoto.
“The bath usage guideline is said to be two minutes. When you get out of the bath, sit in a chair and rest your mind and body. The standard time for a break is five minutes. For some people, doing three sets of the sauna-bath-break cycle turns them into a ‘clean slate’” continues Mr. Matsumoto.
Now that we’re all prepared, let’s try the sauna.
In the same way that different people have different stories to tell, saunas also have their own personalities. The temperature, humidity, and bath temperature are different in every place. It is essential that people look for the sauna that’s compatible with them.
At the Sauna Resort Oriental, they feature a high-temperature sauna that has an average of 105 °C to 110 °C in temperature and a cold bath of around 15 °C.
Generally, the temperature of an average sauna has a slightly low-key setting of 85 °C to 90 °C. In this case, it is over 100 °C. Minutes upon entering the sauna, sweat began to appear on Aoyama’s face and body. After five minutes inside, he fought against himself over whether to stay or not.
Note: If you ever feel sick inside, do not push yourself and get out of the sauna.
After 10 minutes in the sauna, he got out and felt his body starting to cool down. Following what was explained to him, he washed away his sweat before lowering himself slowly in the cold bath.
There are two types of bathwater at the Sauna Resort Oriental. The standard water bath is 15 °C. Even though the water temperature itself is already set to a lower temperature than other places, Aoyama decided to enter the 12 °C White Ion Bath. There are actually people who seek out this incredibly cold temperature and frequently use this bath.
The standard guideline for the amount of time spent in the bath is two minutes. However, Aoyama gave up after about 30 seconds. He sat on a chair and drank some Pocari Sweat Ion Water to relax his mind and body. This is part of his five-minute break.
Among sauna fanatics, the sauna itself is referred to as the “appetizer,” the bath as the “main dish,” and the break as the “dessert.” Seeing the expression of bliss on Aoyama’s face, the activity is, no doubt, refreshing. For the full experience, we recommend that you complete three rounds of the sauna-bath-break cycle.
One of the best things about the sauna is that you get to move in your own pace while keeping your physical condition in check. Anyone can start trying sauna anytime.
After three sets, Aoyama changes into sauna wear and heads to the resting area. Sitting on the reclining chair, he looks completely relaxed. The last break is about 10 minutes.
“I don’t sweat this much regularly, so I feel really refreshed. It is quite different from the sweat that you get from sports or jogging. It’s like the water in your body is being replaced. It feels like your insides are being reborn. It’s a very refreshing feeling! The sauna, for me, is the best way to unwind. It gives your mind a break from work and lets you spend time with yourself. Even though it was my first time trying a sauna, I was completely hooked. I hope to visit the sauna more frequently!”
Sauna Resort Oriental is located at 2/F 3-19-3 Akasaka, Minato District, Tokyo. You may contact them at +81-3-6435-5381. They are open for 24 hours, except on Sundays from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.. Admission fees to the sauna are ¥1,300 (for a one-hour course), ¥2,500 (for a two-hour course), ¥4,500 (for a three-hour course). Extensions cost ¥500 for 30 minutes. For more information, you may check out their website.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (19 July 2019)