Last week, my friend jio-ed me to go for this Yunomori Onsen thing (his treat). At first, I thought it was going to be a private date as it’s been awhile since we did that. Little did I know, shortly after agreeing, I was added into this group chat with two of his other friends. As it turned out, I was the extra man to make up 4 pax so that we could enjoy the current 1-for-1 promotion offered by Yunomori. $38 for 2 pax is quite a sweet deal so I strongly encourage everyone to make full use of it. The promo runs till 28 Dec 2016, and is valid from Mon-Wed 7pm to 11pm. To my even greater surprise, I also found out that his wife was taking her family there too. So instead of 2 pax which I assumed initially, it became a party of 8. So much for some 1v1 bro time 😅
Turns out to be a crowd!
I arrived at 645pm even though our meeting time was 745pm. Lo and behold, there were already a good 20-30 kiasu Singaporeans camping there, waiting for the clock to strike 7pm. There were two receptionists who managed the queue pretty efficiently. Within 10 minutes, the first batch was admitted. But this promo is apparently very popular, so more people kept streaming in. By the time my friend and his friends arrived, there were only 4 pax left in the queue so we got registered in no time.
Before going in, we had to put our shoes in a locker and exchange the locker key for one of those electronic wristbands. Singapore is such a technologically advanced country so I wasn’t overly impressed haha.
Once we entered, the Restaurant and Relaxing Area were to our left, but we chiong-ed straight towards the changing rooms. Girls on the left, guys on the right. A bit different from 男左, 女右. Once we entered the changing room, we were given two towels, one big one small. Unlike other onsens/spas in Japan and Korea where there are unlimited towels at your disposal, you apparently have to pay if you want an extra towel. Oh well, it’s quite difficult to lose your towel anyway since most of us will be guarding our jewels with it lol. So we got undressed, dumped our stuff into another set of lockers (using the wristband), and off we sauntered into the onsen holding our towels in strategic positions. Note: no phones allowed into the bath area.
For the uninitiated, seeing a ton of naked men might be an eye-opener. Then again, most of have gone through army before so I’m sure we have had enough of comparing sizes. Oh wait, forgot to mention that this is not a mixed gender onsen. Sorry boys, no naked chiobus for you to beo lol. Anyway, you first start off with a shower. Sitting on a stool, you can shower for as long as you like. The house brand shampoo, conditioner and body wash were quite nice to use. Made my hair feel super good. You might see other men glancing over their shoulders (or plain staring), checking you out as you shower. While it might seem awkward at first. If you see them looking at you, means you were looking at them too (more on this later lol).
Feeling refreshed after the shower, we then headed into the first bath. There are a total of 6 baths for men and 5 for women. For a list of all the different baths, please refer to this link.
While the bath area was a little smaller than expected, the bath area had about 15-20 pax at one time on average. While you don’t get the feeling like you own the whole place, neither will you feel claustrophobic. The first bath closest to the shower area was the Soda Spa (37-38 degrees). After soaking for just a few minutes, my skin felt smoother instantly. Next up, the Jet Bath. There were about 6 Jet Bath “seats” and my friend and I were lucky to get ours side by side. Not like it made much of a difference though. We were enjoying our own relaxation too much to even talk to each other. The jets themselves were not very powerful though, definitely not as powerful as those you see in a jacuzzi.
This 1-for-1 promo is actually to promote Yunomori’s new spa, which is the Yuzu Bath, so I guess it deserves special mention. It is the 2nd hottest bath after the Hot Bath and it smells very good. There are a handful of Yuzu packs floating around and I guarantee you that you will exit the bath smelling like citrus. Finally, there is no place to expedite muscle recovery than the Cold Bath. At 17-19 degrees, it doesn’t sound very cold but it was chilly to say the least. The cold water helps to tighten your muscles and this aids in the recovery process. It takes great courage to step in. And since you are going to do it either way, might as well step in like a man. That means don’t linger around and contemplate whether to go in. Don’t use the bucket to splash water on yourself to get used to the temperature. Just head right into the freezing water, and sit down. You will be freezing at the onset. But if you minimize your movement, your body will soon generate enough heat to reach equilibrium. If you need cheat code, just position your hands by your side, and tuck your palms under your knees. Several screams and shouts were heard, but none came from me lol. After chilling in the Cold Bath, we jumped right into another hot bath. The transition from extreme cold to extreme hot will leave your skin feeling like a lot of ants are biting you, an interesting sensation to say the least.
The hot baths created a massive emptiness in our stomachs and we were raring to gobble up some food. So much for our initial plan to eat our dinner at 11pm lol. We quickly took another shower, got dressed in our Yukatas, and scurried off to the restaurant. The restaurant was also high-tech. No wallet required as you will be charging your purchases to your wristband. Slurping hot Udon with my core body temperature raised certainly caused some beads of perspiration to accumulate on my brows. Thankfully, there was free cold green tea for me to neutralize the intense warmth building up in my body. Unfortunately, you will be denied the authentic Japanese experience as all tables are accompanied by chairs. So no chance for you to sit seiza-style (kneeling and folding one’s legs under one’s thighs).
After a satisfying meal, we headed into the Relaxing Area where there were about 20 sofas for us to lie down.
Feeling super clean, I fell asleep instantly. At that point, I was contemplating getting a Yukata to wear as pyjamas. It was just so comfy! Oops. Backtrack a bit. You are supposed to wear your underwear under your Yukata. No wonder I felt a little strange with everything hanging loose hahaha. After waking up, we still had about an hour left so we went back into the baths for a final round to complete our Onsen experience.
I was pretty addicted to the Cold Bath as I play a lot of sports. Just sitting in there and feeling all my muscles (or lack thereof) tighten was truly relaxing for me. The feeling is kind of like how tight your face feels after facial (after the cold mask part). Now that the “worst” was over (or so I thought), we decided to “cool down” in the Steam Room. Upon entering, you can barely make out anybody’s face. So it is best to go in together with your friend to avoid looking like a clown trying to find your friend inside. My friend and I found a nice cosy spot and sat our asses down to enjoy the contrasting temperature. This is where things got weird. While the room was small, there was ample space to accommodate about 15 pax comfortable. For some strange reason, I noticed a group of 6 guys huddled in one particular corner. Thinking that there might be a television there or something, I beckoned for my friend to check it out. This is one time where curiosity killed the cat. My friend walked forward to that corner, and turned back abruptly. He then told me to evacuate the room immediately. To his horror, that was the corner where un-straight men were straightening each other out, if you know what I mean. Till this day, my friend is still emotionally scarred. After I heard him recount the incident, the strange stares at the shower area (see above) started to make sense. The pieces starting falling into place – this onsen place must be gay heaven!
Overall, the onsen experience was truly relaxing and rejuvenating, especially after a long hard day at work. I definitely had a good night’s rest that night. At $38 a pop, it does seem rather pricey on any given day. But with the current promo, I think Yunomori Onsen & Spa is definitely worth a visit. Mai tu liao!!! Oh, and if you are really addicted to this experience, you can pay $1,800 (before GST) to gain unlimited access for 6 months. Current massage package promo is $139 for two pax for 60 min. Again, rather pricey. Plus you don’t want to “waste” your limited 4 hours in the onsen. You are better off heading to JB for a $10 massage or buying one of those Groupon vouchers.