Hidden in the heart of a drab industrial area of Collingwood, a bright white tiled wall with opaque glass windows beckons you to enter the Japanese Bath House. Leaving the street behind, I was somewhat surprised to find myself in a small piece of Japan, with stone floors, a small garden feature with waterfall, and the admonition to remove shoes on entering. This is a quiet introduction to the rituals of bathing in Japanese culture, which dates back for centuries.
If you don’t have a clue here, like I didn’t, don’t worry. The quietly spoken staff will give you very specific instructions on how to participate in the process. Cute, Manga-inspired directions are also posted on the walls of the bath areas. Basically, it’s a process of stripping off naked (mandatory in the bath area), cleansing the body, bathing in an extremely clean bath of 40 degrees, and optionally using a combination of sauna and cold shower to invigorate yourself. Men and women are strictly separated into their own wet areas, but can meet together in a lounge area afterwards.
The whole atmosphere, process and facilities are designed for maximum relaxation, and it works extremely well. I found myself rotating through the different wet services, bath, sauna shower, bath, each providing an element of cleansing or relaxation, and combined together, it was a great ritual.
I found myself still pretty hot after the bath routine, so I was looking forward to relaxing in the lounge. After your bath, you can dress in a traditional robe and enjoy inexpensive light refreshments in their Tatami Lounge and/or enjoy a Shiatsu (acupressure) treatment.
The staff provide a friendly and professional service, guiding novices if necessary, and always available for assistance or questions.
Next time I go, I’ll definitely try the shiatsu.
Pros: Friendly, professional staff
Great bath facilities
Cons: None (It is a Bath House, so don’t expect skin therapies)
17/20 “Relaxing Ritual”
Well over 50,000 customer visits have been recorded over the 8 years the Bath House has been open. While I was there, an academic, computer support tech, businessman and a famous athlete were enjoying the Bath House facilities.
Bath/Sauna (1hr) + Licensed Lounge (1hr)$26/$23 conc.
Options after bath: Shiatsu 30min $44, 45min $63, 60min $77
Tues – Fri 11am-8pm (latest booking, Bath House Closes at 10pm)
Sat/Sun 11am – 6pm (latest booking)
59 Cromwell St
Tel: 9419 0268