We departed in the morning to Fukushima from Tokyo and finished our cherry picking in the morning. So we went to Iizaka Hot Springs to take a bath in the early afternoon. After a huge earthquake hit in northern Japan in 2011, I have visited Fukushima several times. Right after the earthquake, there were less people and many posters cautioning how to protect kids from radiation. This time, the town seemed to have finally regained its usual pace.
Immerse yourself in natural mineral springs at Nakamuraya Ryokan
There are several choices for a hot spring day-trip in the Iizaka area and I selected Nakamuraya Ryokan Inn which has a long history as a ryokan dating back to the end of the 17th century. The buildings were built in the Edo era and this creates a nostalgic atmosphere. Entry costs 700 yen per person and a reservation is needed. Opening hours are 10:00 to 15:00 and a cozy small resting space is available till 14:00. Near Nakamuraya Ryokan Inn, you can visit 4 public baths and spa hopping is actually the best way to enjoy the Iizaka area.
Extremely hot water
The high temperature of the water is a selling point of Iizaka hot spring. The landlady told me I could fill up with cold water as much as I wanted. Even so, it was really hot. I hadn’t expected such an extremely high temperature bath at Iizaka hot spring that reached up to 51°C. In the bathtub, the water should be lower than the original temperature, but I couldn’t touch it till I filled it with cold water for more than 5 minutes. At last, I gradually sank into the bathtub by pouring in cold water.
When you become accustomed to the hot temperature, you notice the water is very smooth and your skin gradually becomes tender. At Iizaka hot spring, you don’t need to wash your body before soaking in the bathtub which is totally different from my common sense as a Japanese. At Iizaka hot spring, it is not necessary. I guess the bacteria are sterilized by the very hot water.
How to bathe in Japan
My kid’s first hot spring experience was with me when they were 6 months old. Recently, they have begun to take a bath themselves. So, I’m not sure how they take a bath at the male’s bathroom, but I’m hoping they behave well. Below is an easy introduction of how to take a bath in Japan.
- Separate into female or male, marked by “noren” curtains; blue for male and red for female.
- Elementary school children need to join their own gender bath but please give some cautions, because the floor is so slippery and accidents might happen.
How to bathe
- Take off your clothes (No wearing swimsuit)
- Wash your body before soaking in the bath (No washing your body in the bathtub)
- Tie your hair and remove any make-up
- Make sure to keep your towel out of the bathtub
- Enjoy as much as you can