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Monday, April 5, 2010

Review: Kabuki Hot Springs

Get a Japanese bath San Francisco. Head over to Japantown.

While the Kabuki Hot Springs offers traditional spa services (massage, facials, body treatments and acupuncture), you’ll be just as relaxed going with the communal baths.

After depositing your clothes in the locker room, you’ll enter the serene bathing area. The spa area has dimmed lights, where you’ll find a dry sauna, steam room, hot pool, cold plunge, Western style showers (with curtains) and a seated Japanese-style bathing area. Take a bowl of salt (included - near the hot tub) and head over to the seated area to exfoliate, rinsing off with a hand-held sprayer. But don’t make the mistake of shaving before you arrive – or that salt will sting. I learned the hard way.

In between pools and bathing, you can relax on wooden recliners, sip tea and use the chilled-cucumber washcloths. The room is quiet, with some people reading magazines and some just resting their eyes. Stay an hour, or stay all day. All for $22-25 (the baths are $15 if you get a treatment as well). Leave your own toiletries at home - the Kabuki has shampoos, soaps, combs, lotions, towels and more.

The Kabuki Hot Springs baths are reserved on alternate days for men and women – so no need to worry about dropping your towel in front of the opposite sex. Men use the baths on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while it’s reserved for the ladies on Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays. As for Tuesdays: it’s co-ed (though clothing is required).

Most days it's no problem to just drop in. I went last Mother's Day, and did have to wait. Though I got there on the early side, so the wait wasn't long, and I could still sit in the relaxing spa corridors.

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