Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Onsens: Komaki and Hirahata

a pretty path near the park
For many non-Japanese, the thought of bathing in the nude with other people around doesn't seem very pleasant. But if you would like to give it a try, I say go for it! I, too, was a little shy my first time at an onsen (which wasn't in Japan) but once you realize there is nothing to be embarrassed or feel weird about, it is quite enjoyable!

Komaki Onsen is a resort in Misawa. You can rent a room there, just look around the park, or just go there to use the Onsen. There is an outdoor pool with a really beautiful view, a cold pool, and two indoor pools, one hot and one tepid. There is also a sauna. You can also sign up for a membership program with the onsen which is free and you get a discount card which you can use for the onsen (10% discount) and the restaurant (5% discount). Membership has no expiration. You can also rent a face or bath towel for 100 yen each.

an Aomori style float downstairs near the onsen
The koi fish follow you if you clap your hands!
The prices for baths at Komaki vary depending on the day and time. Non-members pay 1200 yen from 8am-11pm. Members pay 700 yen on Sundays from 8am-3pm and weekdays from 3pm-5pm and Saturdays 8am-3pm. 500yen weekdays from 8am-3pm and 900 yen on Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm-11pm.

one of the tatami rooms at the restaurant
Directions to Komaki Onsen: Come out from the main gate and turn right at the second stop light. Follow the road and pass 7 stop lights. You will find Misawa Train station on your left. Passing the station you will see a big sign with their hot bath picture on your left side. That is the sign of the Komaki Resort.

Hirahata Onsen
table in the lobby
Outside the window at the lobby
If the onsen still sounds too expensive to you, you can try Hirahata Onsen instead. If you go out the POL gate and take a left it is down that road somewhere. (Sorry, I will update with better directions later) The parking lot is also a bit hidden. Here, a bath is only 300 yen. Granted, it isn't as "pretty" as Komaki, you still get to experience and onsen. They have a small outdoor pool, a hot pool, a warm pool, an electric pool and a sauna.

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