Soak in a Japanese bath house
The Japanese islands are volcanically active and there are veins of geothermally heated water right below the surface. The country has thousands of natural hot spring bath houses, called onsen. Stressed out city folk retreat to rural hot spring towns to stay in a traditional Japanese hotel, and soak in the hotel’s communal baths. Locally, you can visit the appropriately named, Onsen , a Japan-inspired bath house and restaurant built in an old automotive garage in the Tenderloin. Like the Japanese spas, it is single-sex (swimsuit optional) on alternating days, and co-ed (swimsuits required) on weekends. The soaking room has an eight-person hot soaking pool, dry sauna, steam room, and cold plunge shower area. The spa also offers optional spa treatments and a restaurant with delicious seasonal food, tea service, and a selection of sake and Japanese craft beers.
Don’t miss the bathhouse restroom which displays a massive collection of elaborately decorated tsuko tegata, wooden amulets that were used as passports during the Edo era. Today, they are sold as souvenir-worthy admission passes to many of Japan’s hot springs baths.