Hakone Yuryo Onsen
Hakone Yuryo is a famous onsen that was just being renovated and cleaned at the end of November 2016. During our three day trip to Hakone, we purposely booked a private open-air bath to relax our muscles and replenish our energy at Hakone Yuryo.
It was a very good experience for us and Hubby still remember how relaxing it was when we first dipped ourselves inside the 40 degree hot water. Private open-air bath is definitely a way to go if you want more privacy and relaxation time inside the mineral-rich spring water.
There are three different types of private open-air baths starting from 3,900 yen, 4,900 yen and 5,900 yen (hourly rate). A total of 19 private rooms available at the premise. A private bath is quite a luxury especially at an onsen. An onsen needs to have one of 19 beneficial minerals such as iron and aluminium, and the water needs to be naturally warmer than 25 degree Celsius.
We chose the third type (Ajisai) which was the biggest one and it was perfect for two to four people. Children are not allowed in the public open-air baths so if you plan a visit with your children, don't forget to book the private bath.
We reserved the private bath months before our trip to Japan through email to firstname.lastname@example.org just in case the room got fully booked. If you're not sure how long you will use the private bath for, just opt for one hour first. The front desk staff informed us that we can prolong the usage by calling the front desk, 15 minutes before our finishing time.
Whether you go to onsen or jimjilbang (Korea's public bath), the rules will always be the same. Before bathing, always sit down and wash yourself first with warm water at the washing station. The bucket, soap and shampoo will be provided at the wash area. Do not dip the wash towel into the bath water and definitely do not swim inside it.
A lot of Japanese people visit Hakone for a day trip and book their private bath at this place too. They believe that onsen can helps them stay healthy and disease-free. A trip to Hakone Yumoto station from Shinjuku Station only takes 85 minutes using the Odakyu Romancecar train. From there, a free shuttle bus will be available every 10-15 minutes to pick up guests to the onsen.
With the private bath, Hakone Yuryo will provide you with towels and kimonos. There will be water bottles and cold green tea available in the fridge for guests to drink. After you drink, don't forget to fill out a slip of paper depicting how many bottles that you take.
We tried the free spicy shiitake mushroom that was provided for guests, it was really delicious! The mushroom can also be bought from the shop area located just across the front desk along with other souvenirs.
A further guide to use hot spring bath is available here. Similar to sauna, drinking water 15 minutes before hot spring is really recommended to improve your blood circulation.