Hakone (箱根)

Hot Spring Theme Park: Hakone Kowakien Yunessun (箱根小涌園ユネッサン)

Hakone Kowakien Yunessun (箱根小涌園ユネッサン) is a hot springs spa resort and water amusement park located in the spectacular scenic surroundings of Hakone (箱根), Japan.

They have a unique combination of traditional Japanese onsen (hot springs) and water recreation services and activities.

I’ve always wanted to visit this hot spring theme park but didn’t really get a chance to until now!  There are 2 hot spring theme parks housed in this complex – Yunessun (ユネッサン) and Mori no Yu (森の湯).

We were travelling with our friends and their 2 young sons so we bought tickets to Yunessun which comprises of 2 zones:

Yutopia (湯~とぴあ) is an open-air bath area in a valley. Surrounded by woods, the area has unique outdoor baths such as sake bath, wine bath and green tea bath.

Yunessun (ユネッサン) is themed Aegean Sea and has eight kinds of Jacuzzi, floating bath, doctor fish foot bath, rodeo mountain slide, wood deck bath, Roman bath, inside and outside pool recreation for children and more.

Most onsens in Japan require you to “bare all” before you can take a dip in the hot spring but if you find it too embarrassing to show your privates to complete strangers, you may want to consider visiting Yunessun as this hot spring theme park requires you to wear swimsuits! This is one of the rare few places which allow you to wear swimsuits in the onsen (which also means you can take pictures!). If you’ve forgotten to bring your swimsuit, you can buy or rent one here.

Went to check out Yutopia (湯~とぴあ) first as this outdoor area sounded more interesting…

本格コーヒー風呂 Coffee Bath – WOW… you can really smell the aroma of the coffee especially when you soak in this hot spring. Although the water in this bath looked like coffee, when you try to scoop the water with both hands, it actually looked quite clear and clean!  There were warning signs everywhere telling you that the water is not suitable for drinking!!  Haha… wonder if anyone actually tried to drink it previously?

露天ワイン風呂 Wine Bath – The water was so red that I was worried it would stain the white trimming on my swimsuit but thankfully it didn’t! Couldn’t really smell the red wine though…

緑茶風呂 Green Tea Bath – Now this bath was really HOT!!  Think it was about 42°C?  Definitely a much higher (almost scalding) temperature than the rest that we had tried so far and you’ll need to be careful and gradually lower yourself into the bath.  There was a very nice fragrance of green tea all around but the colour of the water looked so artificially GREEN!  A must-try for green tea lovers! ^_^

Here’s another picture of the Green Tea Bath and the giant teapot behind is another section of the Green Tea Bath as well. However, that giant bucket on the right with the word 酒 is actually the 酒風呂 Sake Bath which really smelled like sake.

This was the “October 2010 Special” bath which featured Kanagawa Beer! However, I couldn’t really smell any beer in the bath…


Next, we headed over to the Yunessun (ユネッサン) section of the theme park which was housed indoors…

ドクターフィッシュの足湯 Doctor Fish Bath – Hmm…. this had fixed timings for admission so you’ll have to time it right and queue accordingly. Admission was divided into batches and each group is only allowed to spend 10mins getting the “doctor fish therapy”.

At the Turkish Hamam – We had to disinfect our feet here before we could step into the Doctor Fish Bath.

Ready… set… put your feet in! Be careful not to step on the fish! Ohh…..and when they start feeding on your dead skin, it may be quite ticklish! (^o^)

The Japanese do emphasize on hygiene and each person is given a towel to wipe your feet dry. When you return the towel upon exiting from the doctor fish bath, they will dispense a small amount of hand sanitizer to every individual (you can decline if you think you don’t need it).

古代ローマ風呂 Ancient Roman Bath – a section of this bath had rather milky-looking water but we weren’t sure what was actually contained in it.

LOL….Trying to be part of the Thermae Romae manga at the Ancient Roman Bath.

神々のエーゲ海 The God’s Aegean Sea – This one had a section with jacuzzi. As the park was almost closing, we didn’t have time to try it and just snapped a picture before we left.

To fully enjoy all the facilities at this hot spring theme park, I would recommend spending a full day there (2 days if you intend to visit both Yunessun and Mori no Yu). We only spent half a day at Yunessun and felt it wasn’t long enough as we couldn’t complete everything in the indoor area.

Will definitely go back and stay longer if I’m visiting Hakone again!!…

Categories: Hakone (箱根), Japan, Theme Parks, Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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