Lonely Planet Writer

You can bathe in wine, coffee or green tea at this Japanese spa

A spa in Japan that bills itself as a “hot springs amusement park” allows guests to unwind in baths of green tea, coffee and even red wine.

Bathers enjoy a red wine dip. Image by Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun hot springs spa and water amusement park is famous for its rather unusual repertoire of hot tubs. The spa, which is located 50 miles from Tokyo in Hakone, features 26 baths, some of which are filled with ingredients such as sake, green tea, coffee and red wine. The spa is fully committed to its themes, using fresh ingredients in the baths and refilling them regularly throughout the day.

The coffee spa at Hakone Yunessun spa resort. Image by Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

Tea grown in the surrounding mountains is used for the green tea bath, while coffee beans are brewed with water from natural hot springs to create the coffee spa. Over at the wine spa, bathers splash about in red wine that has been poured into the pool by a sommelier. At certain times of the day the sommelier will fill bathers’ plastic glasses with wine but it’s not unusual to see people drink wine directly from the tub in cupped hands.

A caffeinated dip. Image by Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

Other themed spas at Hajone Kowakien Yunessun include the God’s Aegean Sea, which is styled like an ancient Roman bath, an attraction called Rodeo Mountain, where hot water is pumped into outdoor water slides (even in winter) and the rather intriguing Mysterious Jellyfish Bath. 

The Hakone region of Japan is famous for its natural beauty, views of Mt Fuji and onsen (hot springs) and the Yunessun resort takes advantage of its setting. This is a genuine wellness destination and visitors can enjoy traditional spa experiences such as the hot springs cave, mist sauna, Finnish bath, aromatherapy pool, charcoal spa and Turkish hammam.

A dip with a difference at Hakone Yunessun spa resort. Image by Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

But it’s the themed pools, especially the red wine bath, that are creating the most buzz on social media. The resort’s site claims that “bathing in red wine is a rejuvenating treatment for the body” but as fun as it sounds, red wine can actually dry out your skin. So while splashing about in wine won’t make you look younger, it sure as hell will make you feel younger and that’s what really matters. Cheers to that.

Admission to the spa’s full range of water attractions costs 4,100 yen (US$36) for an adult and 2,100 yen (US$19) for a child. See here for more details.