While you're out enjoying all that Singapore has to offer, remember to observe good hygiene measures and practice safe distancing. Stay safe!
Gone are the days of constant hustle and no rest — the pandemic has reframed the way we view work (for good reasons). Before launching straight into the usual work grind, perhaps it’s best to get a proper recharge for the body.
By that, we mean hopping in a good ol’ Japanese spa onsen! Hot springs are known to provide healing properties for both the body and mind, after all.
Good news for those who aren’t planning to fly to Japan soon — Singapore has its own onsen spas for some self-pampering, and we’ve sussed out some of the best that are worth checking out.
Affordable, no-frills and beginner-friendly onsens
1. Joya Onsen Cafe
Soaking in onsens brings a host of health benefits — they help increase blood circulation, relieve pain, and help promote good sleep. With the long and busy year ahead, it’s likely that many of us will need a boost of those. One great place to visit is the Joya Onsen Cafe — at just S$38 for the public onsen, you’ll be able to get a full day pass. That means a whole day’s worth of pampering, whether it be soaking in the large pool or dining at their in-house cafe.
Like many onsens, this particular one offers gender-separated baths. But what’s more interesting is that the waters are infused with ingredients such as green tea and oolong tea for added health benefits like detoxification.
At the cafe, you’d find hearty meals, from Spicy Miso Ramen (S$10) to crispy bites like their Potato Wedges with Nori Mayo Dip and Salad (S$8) — these certainly help to round up the day on a good note after your relaxing bath. For couples who prefer having their own personal spa experience, consider getting the private onsen that’s priced at S$88 per person!
Address: 511 Upper Jurong Road, #01-06, Singapore 638366
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00am to 11:00pm
2. Yunomori Onsen & Spa
A jet bath; full-body streams of highly oxygenated water; a soda bath consisting of carbon dioxide-rich water (which is supposed to help with blood circulation) — these are just some of the many features you’ll find at Yunomori Onsen & Spa. This hidden oasis is conveniently located at Kallang Wave Mall.
A one-day pass (S$40 for adults, S$30 for children and seniors) will grant you access to all the baths here, including amenities such as the steam room and sauna, as well as usage of the lounge. Alternatively, you can also opt for their onsen-and-spa package — this comes with an onsen session topped with a spa treatment, such as a traditional Thai massage that’ll help to soothe those worn-out bones.
Consider taking a dip in a cold bath after soaking up in the hot pool — this helps with pore tightening! Fun fact: Temperature changes also help to stimulate tissues for injury recovery. Best of all, you’ll get to don a traditional Japanese yukata before heading to the Yunomori Cafe, where you’ll find nourishing dishes like soba, ramen, or even warm oden!
Address: 1 Stadium Pl, #02-17/18 Kallang Wave Mall, Singapore 397628
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday — 10:00am to 10:00pm
3. Shiruki Studio
We’ve all experienced those stubborn muscle aches that return every now and then. Perhaps, what you need is a foot (S$28) and a full-body bath (S$36). Shiruki Studio is a spot to consider for some satisfying head-to-toe pampering, including special ultrasonic hydrotherapy treatments. They specialise in affordable Japanese private onsen treatments, with a focus on self-healing.
All it takes is a simple combination of air bubbles in the water plus heat bubbles. Together, they will help to release tension, soothe joints and give a host of other benefits such as deep skin cleaning and improved blood circulation. To top it off, there’s even a wide range of essential oils to select from and add to the bath for an ultra-relaxing spa experience. Try chamomile, which is known to help with pain relief and anxiety!
Address: 160 Changi Road, #02-08, HexaCube, Singapore 419728
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday — 12:00am to 08:00pm
Fancy onsens with wide, deluxe options
4. Elements Wellness
Koyamaki is the wood of the sacred Japanese umbrella pine, and it’s the material used for the tubs found at Elements Wellness. The lime-scented fragrance of this wood is unleashed when mixed with water, which makes for a unique experience in itself.
Waters here are packed with energised negative ions, which can help to detox and soothe arthritic pains. The ionised water also helps neutralise free radicals, giving it an anti-ageing effect on the skin!
Elements Wellness’ Signature Koyamaki Onsen Ritual (S$168 for one person, S$286 for two) is a must-try. It’s a grand package involving a 60min body massage, a 15min back scrub, and an onsen therapy with a 40min steam bath. Spa options are available for couples looking to spend some quality time in a private suite too. Regardless of what treatment you choose, you’ll walk out feeling like royalty!
Address: 176 Orchard Road, #02-28, The Centrepoint, Singapore 238843
Opening hours: Monday to Friday — 11:00am to 09:00pm, Saturday to Sunday — 10:30am to 8:00pm
5. Ikeda Spa
Hinoki, or Japanese cypress, has long been prized for its antibacterial agents. And it’s exactly what you’ll find at Ikeda Spa, home to Singapore’s first hinoki onsen since 2009. This is where you’ll find pools that are made with precious cypress wood, akin to Japan’s hot spring resorts. Considered a highly therapeutic wood consisting of minerals and essential oils, it's often used to treat skin irritations and to reduce stress. There is a choice of single or couple bath too!
Expect to find a variety of treatments here, like the Ganbanyoku Detox Massage (S$200+) over a hot stone bed. To put it simply, this is pretty much like enjoying a massage and sauna at the same time. Another noteworthy one is the Zen Candle Therapy Massage (S$200+) that’s been voted as the best tension relieving massage in Singapore. With the combination of the infrared waves from the beds plus essential oils, it’ll work magic to rejuvenate fatigued bodies.
Address: 787 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269762
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday — 1:30pm to 10:30pm
6. Heiwa Wellness and Spa
Heiwa Wellness and Spa is the new kid on the block that’s worthy of a visit. It first opened at the end of 2021 and is conveniently located in the vicinity of HarbourFront MRT station.
First up –– the place boasts of a zen, Muji-like interior, with a host of facilities ranging from a mineral-rich onsen, infrared-powered steam bath and sauna, as well as full-body massages and foot reflexology. Prices vary depending on what you go for. An aromatherapy massage is priced at S$138 for 60min, for instance, whilst an onsen soak costs S$38 for 45min. On top of that, its in-house restaurant is helmed by Chef Wong –– an experienced sushi chef with years of experience up his sleeves.
Unlike other places, the dining experience here is Omakase style too, which means that you’d get to don a kimono or yukata and relax as you watch meals prepared before your eyes.
Address: 1 Maritime Square, #03-44/45/46, Harbourfront Centre, Singapore 099253
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday — 10:00am to 10:00pm
Japanese onsen etiquette
One of the best gifts we can shower ourselves with is a comforting soak in the hot springs, especially with Singapore’s breakneck pace of life. While there aren’t snowy mountains in view here, it’s still possible to get a taste of the Japanese onsen experience.
That said, bathing etiquette is extremely important — here are some tips to how you can get an uninterrupted and authentic onsen experience:
- For hygiene purposes, wash your body with soap before entering the pool. This prevents the water from being dirtied.
- Douse yourself with warm water first. Also known as the practice of Kake-yu, this helps to get your body accustomed to the temperature, thus preventing hot flushes or dizziness. Start with your feet, then work your way up to the waist, hands and chest.
- Don’t soak for too long. The recommended duration is not more than 15 to 20mins.
- When ready to leave, dry yourself lightly before heading off. End it off by hydrating with plenty of water!
*Note: For pregnant women, onsens should only be used carefully and for limited amounts of time, if at all. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor before using a hot tub, especially in the early parts of pregnancy.
With that, go on a dip around Singapore and you’ll be surprised at the wonders it brings — hopefully, it’ll leave you refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the year!
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