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  • Writer's pictureSake Buddha

Sake Baths: My Way and My Wife's Way

Onsen with mountain view
Private onsen in room at an onsen in Hakone, Japan

The weather this past week has been absolutely frigid. When the weather gets cold my body gets stiff and aches. At times like that I want nothing more to get in a nice Japanese onsen (hot spring) and soak. I have great memories of visiting onsens in Japan. There was nothing better than being in the mountains and sitting in the water and relaxing.

When we visited onsens we would also get a room with a private onsen in the room. While relaxing in the room I would sip on sake while in the bath as well as outside of it. I would just take in the beautiful scenery and relax with my wife (and later with our kids). While soaking the hot water chock full of minerals I would just empty my mind and relax. I guess you can say as I soaked in the water, I would soak in the environment and soak up the experience.

Now years later I live halfway around the world from those wonderful onsens. The problem is I still crave that relaxing atmosphere and experience. When I get that onsen desire I replicate as much as I can at home. I fill up the tub with some hot water and toss in a packet of Japanese bath salts. This part covers the benefits of the onsen water. The next step is I put some relaxing Japanese style music on the Bluetooth speaker. I to with music that has taiko drums, koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi. Before I get in the bath, I fill up a tokkuri with some cold sake (sometimes warm if I am in the mood for it) and bring it to the bath with me.

Onsen with an ocean view
Private onsen in room at an onsen in Beppu.

The next step of my process is to soak and meditate for about 10 minutes. I try to let my troubles and stress dissipate. Once I finish my quick meditation, I say a quick prayer giving thanks to Inari Ōkami (Shinto kami of sake) and enjoy the sake. I’ll stay in the water relaxing until I run out of sake.

Now, my wife on the other hand enjoys sake in the bath in a completely different way. She gets the bath nice and hot and then pours in about 14 ounces of sake (400ml). (Don’t worry she doesn’t use expensive sake for this.) She explained to me that I Japan it is well known that tojis (sake brewing masters) have super soft hands. She explained to me that the koji used for brewing sake is the reason for this. I performed a quick investigation (I Googled it) it and it seems the koji has some enzymes and acids that are good for skin. It must be true, because my wife does have great skin.

Sake can be used for your heath and your beauty in different ways. I also encourage you to find a way to work it into your bath routine and enjoy it in a way that suits you. After all, it is your life enjoy it and enjoy the sake the way you want. That is how sake is best served.

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