After walking hours and hours in Tokyo, it's always a good idea to make your way to a Sento, or communal bath house. Give yourself over to bubbling waters piping in from the hot springs nearby and just chill.
But it gets even better than that at Oedo Onsen Monogatari.
Rock pools, wooden bathtubs, pure-white effervescent hot springs, a raised pool fed by amber-coloured mineralised groundwater. You can experience every kind of traditional Japanese hot bath in this spacious Sento.
The bath house also offers a suite of massage therapy services but they're pretty pricey. I tried a cheaper service, the sand bath. For ¥1,500 or thereabouts, they put you in a hot house and you lay down on hot sand. They shovel sand on you and you stay buried for like 15 minutes.
It's feels like being in a sauna except that the sand weighs down on you and it can get hard to breathe. You can't really move and it's quite impossible to reach that itch in between your toes. But I don't regret the experience.
Outside the gender-segregated bath area is the main hall. It's styled like a street market on a night in Edo Japan. There's a wooden watchtower in the center where performances (in Japanese) are sometimes acted out.
Stalls along the perimeter of the hall mostly serve Japanese food. They're not the best or the freshest, but they compliment the Edo experience. There's also an awesome bar that serves quite a big selection of sake. I had a cold glass of 〆張鶴... I don't know what it reads as but I know it tastes mildly sweet and totally awesome.
I had meant to check out Oedo Onsen Monogatari for just a couple of hours but ended up staying for over eight. I believe I'll go back the next time I visit Tokyo.
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