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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Natural Sand Bath Center "Saraku" 砂むし会館 砂楽

Visited 25.03.2014


Sand bath comes into mind almost immediately when you mention Ibusuki to most people. One of items on my "must do" list during this trip to Kyushu was to transfer southwards to experience the therapeutic effects from burying the body under the sand. Currently, Hakusuikan (白水館) is the only hotel/ryokan that has its own sand bath facility, which also explains why it is one of the high end accommodation in Ibusuki, most people will make their way to Saraku to participate in this activity. We stayed in Tsukimiso for a night and came to Saraku, located just opposite the ryokan, after checking in our luggage.

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Steps:

(1) Buy a ticket and receive a yukata from the reception located on the second floor. Do note that you can buy a head towel for 120 yen and rent a towel for 200 yen as well. Otherwise, please bring along your own towels or those provided by the accommodation you are staying in.


(2) Change into the yukata in the dressing room (separated by gender) located on the first floor and proceed to the outdoor sand bath area. Wait for your turn until the attendant signals/directs you to any empty spots in the sand field. After lying down, he/she will place the head towel over the neck and around the head. Next, sand will be scooped onto your body to cover the entire body under sand. Brought along my phone as I was hoping to take some photos. Fortunately, the staff was eager to help capture a shot after "burying" me under the sand. After the photo is taken, he put my phone into a plastic bag and placed it at a nearby aisle within my sight.

(3) Duration of sand bath is approx 10 minutes. Halfway through the course, I was already perspiring and the heat from the sand helped to ease my backache as well. To end the session, just wriggle your limbs to loosen the sand and sit upright. Try to sweep off some the sand and return to the main building. Deposit your soiled yukata at a collection counter and head down to the public bathroom equipped with hot spring facilities. Change back into your clothes at the dressing room.


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Natural Sand Bath Center "Saraku" 砂むし会館 砂楽
〒891-0406 鹿児島県指宿市湯の浜五丁目25番18号
Opening hrs: 0830 - 2030 hrs
http://sa-raku.sakura.ne.jp/saraku00.htm

Bottom left: Visitors can also enjoy footbath here. 
How to get there?
(1) By bus. From Ibusuki JR Station (指宿駅), board the bus heading for Iwasaki Hotel (いわさきホテル) or Higashi Ogawa (東大川) and alight at Suna Mushi Kaikan mae (砂むし会館前). Bus journey takes approx 4 mins.
Bus schedule (in Japanese): http://www.city.ibusuki.lg.jp/modules/xfsection/cache/uploaded/basubasu.pdf

(2) By foot. Approx 20 minutes walk from Ibusuki JR Station.

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