My first spa experience was at a wonderful place in New Orleans, and it was very relaxing for me. After getting beaten up by a traditional masseuse from the Lahu tribe on the Myanmar/Thai border, I was put-off by the idea of massages and spas in general, since massage seems to be such a big draw for spa-goers. New Orleans helped to make my attitudes more positive. As a gift for my wife, I decided to give it another go, and ended up on Enoshima Island at Enoshima Island Spa.
I schedule us a couple’s shiatsu massage. For the uninitiated, a shiatsu massage uses no oils or perfumes and relies strictly on the hands and joints to get the job done. Before we began, the masseuse asked me if I wanted the gentle or normal massage. I opted for gentle, but when it began, I quickly found out that it was still pretty intense. He pressed very hard in certain areas, on certain muscles and joints, that I was not expecting. The toughest parts where along the spine and on the backs of my knees. When he was working on my mid back, it was hard to breathe sometimes when he pressed down. Even though I’m still skeptical of massages, I found parts of the shiatsu to be very enjoyable, like the work on my arms. Afterwards, however, I felt incredibly relaxed, and enjoyed a short rest in a reclining chair outside the parlor.
The spa also has hot springs you can dip in as well as coed pool areas. They have a rooftop pool as well as indoor pools on the second level, and a really cool infinity pool on the first level where you go under a waterfall to the outside, where you can breathe in the ocean air. The unisex bathing areas have many favorite staples: sauna, super hot baths, medium heat baths, cold baths, and something known as finely carbonated water baths. The deal with those is that the water has carbon dioxide in it, so soaking in the bath covers your body with thousands of tiny bubbles. I liked this one the most. There was something about the bubbles that made the warmness of the water feel cozier than the plain-water baths. As always, you have to be 100% nude to use these facilities, so they are not for everyone! I think I was the only foreigner in the onsen when I went (to be fair, there could have been a very quiet Chinese gentlemen or two in there as well) but there was no discomfort in that. Everyone was just kind of there doing their own thing.
All in all, the spa was a wonderful experience, and it’s located on such a lovely island The views are great, a good deal of the staff speaks English, and they even have their own snack bar you can get drinks and treats from. You can get a package deal for 6500 yen that gets you entrance to the spa and either (A) a meal at the restaurant or (B) a 40-minute massage session. Regular admission is 3,120 yen (1,980 after 6 PM) and they have special Ladies’ Days you can get a discount on as well (if you are a lady, that is!). It’s well worth the price of admission!