So, we’re a little over a year and a half into life with Covid-19. And if there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it is how to be extra creative on this small island whilst not being able to travel. If you’ve ever stayed at a ryokan in Japan or visited an onsen for a couple of hours, you know how enjoyable that experience is, once you get past the fear of going naked in front of strangers.
Good news for those who are suffering from Japan withdrawals, or even those who’ve never had a chance to take a dip in a Japanese onsen – Singapore has Japanese spas with its own onsens too complete with wood tubs and luxurious bath minerals. Here’s a list of onsen spas in Singapore for a relaxing dip, no passport needed.
1. Ikeda Spa
Ikeda Spa is Singapore’s first hinoki onsen, which is onsen crafted from precious Japanese cypress wood. Once reserved only for royalty, today us normies can get in on it too. The wood is prized for its calming, lemon-fresh scent, and has immunity-boosting oils, which get released into the steamy waters. It is said to alleviate mild respiratory problems too!
Take a dip with their private Hinoki Onsen Bath for singles (S$80++) or couples (S$120++). It comes with five different bath salt choices for different aromatherapy and health benefits for your needs. Ikeda also has several onsen packages, so after your nice onsen bath you can continue with a massage or facial too.
2. Yunomori Onsen & Spa
What better way is there to bond with your friends than to go butt-naked into a pool together? But instead of illegally skinny dipping, you can do that at Yunomori Onsen & Spa, which brings the communal onsen experience to Singapore. Don’t worry though, the pools are gender-separated!
There are different kinds of onsen pools here, from a powerful jet bath, to a soda bath, a bubble bath and a silk bath. There is also a cold bath which stimulates the body’s natural energy and nerve endings, as well as a steam and sauna room. An all-day pass costs $38++ and it’s easy to spend the whole afternoon relaxing here. Of course, Yunomori also has a whole range of massage, facial and even hair removal treatments to complete your visit. After you’re done, head over to their cafe for some hearty Japanese fare.
3. Joya Onsen Cafe
This is for the Westies! Newly opened at Joo Koon, Joya Onsen Cafe is a full-fledged Japanese bathhouse with both communal and private onsen experiences. Their bamboo-roofed public baths (S$38++ for an all-day pass) come with a rotating range of minerals which includes green tea and citrus.
For a more private experience, there are two private onsen rooms that can accommodate up to a maximum of five people regardless of gender. They are well equipped with an onsen pool, a shower station, a sauna and a dressing table. Prices are based on a sliding scale from S$80 for one, to S$200 for five and it also includes all-day passes for the public onsen. Onsen guests can also top up an additional $7 for a refreshment set which includes 4 pieces of sushi, a scoop of ice cream and a drink!
4. Elements Wellness
Elements Wellness isn’t an onsen spa, but their outlet at Centerpoint has a Signature Koyamaki Onsen Ritual (S$168++) which provides an all-round pampering. This starts with a 60-minute massage, a body scrub, a private Koyamaki onsen therapy with steambath, and lastly a foot detox. Koyamaki comes from the Japanese Umbrella Pine tree, which is what the tubs are made of. This sacred wood releases a lime fragrance and has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
While the water here isn’t from a natural onsen in Japan it’s got negative ions which are said to refresh the mind and help the body detox, as well as soothe rheumatic and arthritic pains. Couple rooms are available upon request, so make sure to let the staff know in advance if you’re heading down with your significant other!