Raku Spa is a chain of hot spring baths complete with spa services, beauty salons, restaurants, cafes, bars, libraries, karaoke rooms, kids amusement center, resting areas, rooftop gardens, rental rooms and event halls. With dry saunas and open air baths, they are spacious places you can spend the entire day just relaxing and lounging about.
I’ve been to a couple of Raku Spa onsen and while I loved spending the day there with friends, given the current pandemic I kept on hesitating despite the fact that the chain of spas was having a collaboration with Jujutsu Kaisen. A friend of mine, Nami, who’d been wanting to go for some time finally had an opening in her weekday schedule, so she and I decided to take a mid-week break from our work and immerse ourselves in a JJK-themed onsen.
The first thing that greeted us was a set of panels featuring the gang. How cute can these four get?
I was disappointed they weren’t wearing more colourful, patterned clothing like the ones customers actually get to wear. But the dark blue clothes remind us of their school uniforms, so I guess it’s as JJK as one can get.
Character Hand Towels
For manga/anime fans, an additional JPY 760 to the entrance fee will get you a Jujutsu Kaisen character tenugui or hand towel.
They’re packed in opaque silver bags so there’s no way of knowing what’s inside. The best thing is that the counter staff don’t just hand you a pack, but offer you a bunch to choose from. That means you can’t blame the staff if you want a Gojo and end up with someone else.
So guess who I got? The man himself, Satoru Gojo! Yay! My friend Nami got Nobara Kugisaki. Yay for her, too!
The towels are 35cm x 90cm in diameter, made of a thin cotton fabric. Cute, eh?
Gift Shop with Lots in Stock
Next to the reception center is the gift shop, with a shelf filled with Jujutsu Kaisen merch.
I thought they’d only be selling Raku Spa-exclusive goods but the mountain of blue boxes you see on the left hand side of the pic are plushies available in toy stores everywhere. The rest of the merch, however, are ones you can only get after you check in at Raku Spa. Yep, unlike museums and art galleries, the souvenir shop is only accessible to those who have paid the entrance fee.
Some of the merch are ‘blind’ packaged – they come in opaque silver-foil wrap and there’s no way of knowing what’s inside, so if you want to complete a set you might have to buy more than one each.
I got myself a hand towel, featuring the chibi version of the characters. They’re just too adorable! I love it when they’re all together in a group.
Also, I couldn’t help but get Gojo’s acrylic figure, as well as Kugisaki’s. I love the laughing Gojo, looking at him being his joking, non-serious self makes me happy. As for Nobara-chan, ugh, she’s too cute eating an ice cream cone. I love this girl, especially when she gets to eat and is clearly enjoying it.
Entertaining Onsen-Themed Posters
After checking in, we were entertained by a series of posters featuring Sukuna, saying funny things based on his famous quotes in the manga, but with an onsen twist.
I’ll write a separate post about these, they’re so funny they deserve a post of their own 🙂
All Kinds of Hot Spring Baths
I couldn’t take pictures inside the hot spring baths, of course, because it’s full of naked women and girls, but there were themed saunas, a bedrock bath, open air jar-shaped tubs, a silky milk bath, a grape bath, jacuzzis and so on.
The entrance to the baths were lined with colourful nobori or banners featuring the four characters. Yuji is first in line, greeting everyone with a big smile.
After showering we went straight to the outdoor baths as I really didn’t want to marinate indoors in a place full of unvaccinated strangers (me included, I mean, the vaccination program in Japan is being carried at a snail’s pace and my generation is second to the last in the priority list).
We bathed, soaked in the outdoor baths, and then went to the restaurant. This really was my main purpose for coming here: I wanted to eat the JJK-themed food. I ordered Megumi Fushiguro’s chicken sauté with ginger sauce, which featured a strange-looking but delicious black-coloured rice. The collab menu comes with a printed senbei or rice cracker of the character the dish was named after. For the giveaway coaster I got Yuji-kun, which made me very happy as I hardly ever get him in random distributions such as this.
Nami ordered the Yuji Itadori ramen. You’re supposed to put the senbei on the dish to decorate it, and then eat it along with the rest of the food. But neither of us felt like eating the characters, ahaha! So we kept them on their little paper plates. My friend got a Fushiguro coaster, which made her happy because Megumin is loved by many, including her.
Taking Advantage of the Manga Library
I didn’t feel like going to any of the more than half-dozen themed saunas in the facility. Who wants to stew and sweat while the virus is still flying about and infecting people by the hundreds? Not me. Fortunately, Nami was more than happy to sit on the rooftop terrace and gossip with me about people we knew, or complain about our jobs, until we grew tired and went to the lounging room to nap or read manga.
I read a few volumes of 文豪ストレイドッグスBungo Stray Dogs, which was an interesting story located in Yokohama about a group of young detectives with special powers.
There are literally thousands of manga and magazines available in the library, plus a convenient online database so you can find the shelf with your books in a heartbeat.
A Bit of Office Work
Later on we did something we both should not do, but still did. We took out our laptops, went to the conveniently-supplied office room and began to work. The workspace is small, with shelves of books on one side and partitioned desks on the other. There are electric outlets for multiple devices, and the chair is the office-type, swiveling kind.
Yeah, it’s supposed to be our day-off but we both couldn’t stand the thought of not reading work-related emails and what-not. Ugh, thinking about work while in a spa! I told my friend it was a bad thing to do, and she told me it was a bad thing to do, but then we laughed it off and spent around an hour typing on our laptops. That’s what a 24/7 “duh what’s work-life balance?” kind of lifestyle does to you. Ahaha! Though actually it’s not funny.
At around 3 pm we got the munchies and went back to the restaurant and not the bar, which only served drinks but not the ice cream sundae I wanted.
Here’s Nobara Kugisaki’s raspberry parfait. Isn’t she adorable? To my disappointment, however, I got the exact same Itadori coaster I was given during lunch! Aaargh! Look, I love Yuji-kun but c’mon! Where are all the others!?!
Nami ordered a Gojo sky blue ginger drink. Guess who’s coaster she ended up with? Fushiguro, the exact same one she got during lunchtime! Can you believe it? Doesn’t this onsen facility have any other character in stock?
The coasters come in an opaque silver wrap so it’s impossible to tell who’s inside, and all the distributions are random, or so they claim. Well, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. The good thing is that there were two of us, so we swapped coasters and ended up with one Itadori and one Fushiguro each. A great pair as they go perfectly well with the non-Itadori and non-Fushiguro tenugui we got earlier!
Themed Dry Saunas or Stone Spas
After more napping and lounging about, in spite of our initial hesitation we ended up doing the sauna rounds. Each of the dry sauna or stone spa rooms are themed. There’s one covered entirely in mirrors, the ceiling festooned with circular orbs, their light bulbs transitioning from one colour to the another while soothing music plays in the background. Then there’s a dome-shaped room with a planetarium ceiling twinkling with constellations. If you’re with a romantic partner you’ll enjoy the candle-themed room featuring a huge, softly glowing candle light chandelier.
As part of keeping safe during a pandemic, since it’s too hot to wear a face mask, you’re supposed to keep your social distance and not speak while inside. There’s actually a sign in each sauna entrance saying conversation is prohibited. Unfortunately, for some of the rooms there were groups of people who insisted on chatting while others were trying to relax or nap. How annoying! You’d think people would know how to read and understand signs.
My favourite sauna, though, is one made of salt rocks and over 50 degrees Celsius. We sweated and sweated in a good way, very detoxifying, and thankfully there were no chatterboxes inside so we had a good, quiet nap as well.
End of the Day
Before we knew it closing time was just an hour away, so we did the onsen rounds one last time. By 8 pm we were paid and out the door.
All in all, we had a great time. Raku Spa has amazing facilities, and is affordable to boot. I’d love to go there again after we’re all vaccinated and I no longer have qualms about jostling with strangers. It’s a healing, rejuvenating place, if you don’t mind some moments of kids running about screaming, along with a few rule-breakers here and there.
Notes and Tips
Mondays to Thursdays, the entrance fee is JPY 1480 (excluding tax), and from Fridays to Sundays as well as holidays, it’s 200 yen more expensive. Before the pandemic, the opening time was from 10:00 to 2:00 am, but as of this writing many facilities are closing at 8 pm.
Spas located a considerable distance from the nearest train station offer free shuttle service, so be sure to check out the bus schedule on the facility’s official website.
It’s perfectly okay to go to a Raku Spa without any kind of preparation. Basically, all you need is a credit card or cash. They provide a bag with a bath towel, hand towel, plus the loungewear/roomwear of your choice. These are rentals included with the entrance fee. I suggest, though, that you bring your own washcloth or sponge.
Aside from the clothing, the facility provides shampoo, hair conditioner, body soap, face wash, facial toner, body lotion, hair dryer, combs as well as disposable shavers and toothbrushes. I always bring my own comb, depilator, toothbrush and toothpaste, to minimize plastic waste.
Better not go to a Raku Spa on a weekday or holiday. Pandemic or not, there are just too many people for comfort. If you’re like me and not a fan of crowds, then avoid weekends like the plague. I think it’s absolutely worth it to take a day off from work just to spend an entire weekday there. If you’re feeling up to it there’s a full-fledged salon in-house offering hair cuts, massages and esthetic services. On a weekend you’ll need to wait hours for your turn.
Not all facilities participate in the Jujutsu Kaisen collaboration, so check out the list to make sure. As of this writing, around 30 (31 for merch, 29 for restaurant food) spas are doing the JJK collab. The last day of the event, by the way, has been extended from June 15 to July 11. That means there’s still time to go!
Also, while the spas are open almost every day of the year, they sometimes close for maintenance. Never go without checking the calendar for each facility.
I highly recommend Raku Spa, especially now that they’re doing a collab with JJK (until July 11, 2021). Be prepared to be buck naked in front of strangers. It’s totally worth it, though! 😀
Thank you so much for reading! Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. Your comments give me life and are a real source of encouragement. xoxo – hana