Tuesday, 14 July 2009

HOT: Japanese Bath House, 59 Cromwell St, Collingwood

The Japanese Bath House is located just a short walk from my house, so as part of the extended 30th birthday festivities I thought I'd treat myself to a rejuvenating soak. I'm not old, I'm just dehydrated!

The bath house is an unprepossessing white brick building, sitting amongst the grungy warehouses of fashion wholesalers. However, slide open the glass door and it is an oasis of calm, with trickling water and green foliage. You're handed a bath towel, a scrubbing towel, a smaller towel to protect your bum from the heat of the sauna benches and a robe, and then you can proceed upstairs to the gender segregated baths.

The procedure for bathing was much the same as any other sento/onsen (which uses natural spring water). I stripped naked, sat on a small stool and scrubbed myself pink, then slid into the warm bath, breathing in the wafting scent of cedar wood as I closed my eyes. After it got too hot, I washed myself again, popped into the sauna for a steam, then back out for a refreshing shower, another dip in the warm bath and one final shower. The whole process took about an hour, after which time I wrapped myself in a robe and lazed in the tatami room reading 'The Housewife's Handbook: How to Run the Modern Home'.

While I love the soothing ritual of Japanese baths, and the egalitarianism of young, wrinkly, fat and thin all bathing together, I'm not sure I would go to Japanese Bath House again because my silky smooth skin cost me $26 (more if you book a shiatsu massage). Cheaper than flying to Japan, I guess.

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