Beppu: Buried alive in Takegawara Spa

Beppu Travel Blog

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Random Observation/Comment #67: Good Idea/Bad Idea. Good Idea: Professionals preparing you for a sand bath. Bad Idea: Anyone-else preparing you for a sand bath. So that’s why you don’t try it at beaches. Where’s my air hole?
Because pictures were forbidden in the spa area, I couldn’t actually snap color photos of how this sand bath deal is setup, but the black-white postcard shown above is actually a very good representation. Because of this whole buried in sand option, Takegawara spa in Beppu turned out to be one of the cheapest and coolest spa experiences I had in Japan.
To get this detail out of the way, I need to mention that the old ladies preparing the sand baths are the fittest ladies in the town.
They have to shovel that sand non-stop. They’re constantly digging graves and burying living people in a sauna (actually, that sounds like a pretty cool job description). Beware of these ladies while you’re changing because they will just barge into all of the changing rooms unannounced visits from them in the male and female changing rooms. They will also annoyingly leave doors wide open for all to ogle (and laugh in some cases). I guess they’ve seen enough to just not be phased.
So how does this thing work? First of all, you’re wearing a full yukata (thin, cloth bath robe) when they bury you. If this was not available, I would have gotten sand in places that sand does not belong – and well, f*@# that. After that, it’s basically all you would expect from being buried in sand.
The sand is black and very hot. You lay down and the old lady just starts pouring it on. I know what you’re thinking – and don’t worry. The professionals will not give you a giant rack and a large package (unless you ask for one. Well, I didn’t ask, but I’m sure they need a little bit of fun.).
The buried-alive-with-an-air-hole sensation is freakin’ awesome. Imagine the best hug you’ve ever gotten in the whole wide world lasting for 10 minutes. Or, imagine the feeling you get when you bundle up in warm blankets in a cold night, except you’re perfectly tucked in by your Mommy (I love it when you push the blanket under my arms, legs, and feet, as if I’m a mummy).
Although it was a lot of fun and really relaxing, washing the sand off was a pain in the ass. It actually was such a pain in the ass that I would not recommend going in the sand bath if you don’t like washing sand out of your long hair. I had some bangs and I wound up standing there for 20 minutes washing like it was my job.
~See Lemons Exfoliate His Skin

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photo by: portia