What You Need to Know About Sand Baths

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What You Need to Know About Sand Baths
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We all know how great the Japanese hot springs are. The water is rich with healthy minerals which are proven to have a positive impact to cure serious illnesses such as eczema, blood pressure, neuralgia, fatigue and more. This is the reason why the Japanese love going to the onsen. Plus, it is highly recommended for tourists to soak in the hot spring baths at least once whenever they come to visit Japan.

Image Source: Ki Niseko.

Sand bathing

Aside from the regular hot spring bath, there is also a sand bath. Sand bath is popular in several places namely Beppu, Gunma and Ibusuki. Instead of soaking in a hot water, you will be buried in the sand, commonly at the beach. The sand is heated by the natural hot springs underground, hence, why the sand is very hot. Usually, people will only lie down for only 10 to 15 minutes because of the unbearable heat generated from the sand. It is said that sand bathing is four times more effective than a hot spring bath due to its healing properties.

Furthermore, you are required to wear yukata at all times even during sand bathing. Without yukata, your skin will be exposed directly to the heated sand thus getting baked in unwanted areas.

Image Source: Japan Travel Guide-JW Web Magazine.

Since you don’t have to be fully unclothed, men and women can sand bathing together without any restriction.

Benefits of Sand Bathing

The benefits of sand bathing include improving circulation, blood-flow, detoxing, relieving muscle pains and improving skin conditions. The weighs of the sand piling up on your body will definitely help to release some steam off if you can bear the heat for more than 10 minutes. For first timers, it is advised to only stay for 10 minutes to familiarize yourself with the sand temperature.

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How to Sand Bathing?

1. Change into a yukata

Once you are at the facility, you will be given a yukata in which you need to change in the dressing or locker room. Then, make your way to the beach to start the scorching hot process. You will be guided by the on-site staff as they will brief you about the whole process.

Image Source: Journey of Japan.

2. Bury in the sand

When you lie on the sand, you need to wrap your head and neck with a towel provided by the facility to protect these areas from the heat. Make sure your body, arms and legs are set in a parallel position.

After that, the staff will begin to scoop the sand to cover your whole body, leaving only the face. They will place an umbrella on top of your head to cover your face from the sun. As they bury you with the heated sand, you will start to sweat and you have to avoid moving too much. If you can’t stand the heat, you can ask the staff to remove the sand.

Image Source: Notes of Nomads.

Next, just relax and take in the view of the beach while waiting for your session to end.

3. Dip in a hot spring bath

After getting buried in the sand for 15 minutes, your body will feel fresher and energized. Next, head to the onsen to wash the sand off your body. Remove the yukata and soak in the hot spring bath to absorb more healthy minerals.

If you don’t want to dip in the hot spring bath, you can just head to the shower room to rinse off.

Image Source: Japan Discovery.

Rules of Sand Bathing

  • Make sure you don’t drink any alcoholic beverages on the day of your visit.
  • Pregnant women are prohibited from sand bathing.
  • Do not fall asleep while sand bathing because you will be dehydrated.
  • Remove any footwear in the locker room.

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Where to Sand Bathing?


As we mentioned earlier, there are three places where you can go sand bathing. The first place you can go to is at Ibusuki, Kagoshima in the Kyushu region.

The largest and popular place you can go sand bathing is at Sunamushi Kaikan ‘Saraku’. Here you can enjoy sand bathing regardless of the weather because they provide a covered area in the event of rain. In addition, you can also sand bathing even at night, but no later than 9:00 PM.

Image Source: Notes of Nomads.

Sunamushi Kaikan ‘Saraku’

Address: 5 -25-18 Yunohama, Ibusuki, Kagoshima 891-0406, Japan

Operating Hours: 8:30AM-9:00PM

Admission Fees (including yukata rental): ¥1,080 (Adults aged 13 and above), ¥590 (Children aged 12 and below), ¥200 (Towel rental)

Contact Number: 0993-23-3900

Closest Train Station: Ibusuki Station

Website: http://sa-raku.sakura.ne.jp/index.php

There are other places in Ibusuki that offer sand bathing such as in Ibusuki Kaijo Hotel, Ibusuki Hakusuikan and Ibusuki Iwasaki Hotel.


Also in the Kyushu region, Beppu, Oita’s famous sand bath plus hot spring is Takegawara Onsen. The onsen was built in the 1879 and rebuilt again in 1938.

Takegawara Onsen provides indoor sand bath experience and you need to put on your yukata and tie up your hair or wear shower caps to avoid the sand getting in your hair. You don’t need to wrap your face and neck with a towel because they want your skin to breathe in the hot steam. After 10 minutes, wash the sand off your body in the shower.

Image Source: The Globe and Mail.

 Takegawara Onsen

Address: 16-23 Motomachi, Beppu, Oita Prefecture 874-0000, Japan

Operating Hours: 8:00AM-22:30PM (Last entry 9:30PM)

Admission Fee: ¥1,030 (Sand Baths only including yukata rental)

Contact Number: 0977-23-1585

Closest Train Station: JR Beppu Station

Website: http://www.city.beppu.oita.jp/sisetu/shieionsen/detail4.html

For an outdoor experience, you can go to Beppu Kaihin Sunayu.


In the Kansai region, Megumi Hot Spring can be found in Annaka, Gunma. The facility uses white sand mixed with salt for their indoor sand bath experience. The sweat that you produce during the process will help to enhance your blood circulation and increase metabolism. The staff will ask you to drink herbal tea before you go for sand bathing to help you feel relax.

There will be a short medical check-up before you enter the sand bath. The staff will examine to see if you have any chronic diseases, possibly pregnant or consumed any alcohol substances prior to your visit.

Image Source: Journey of Japan.

Megumi Hot Spring

Address: 3-3-4-1 Isobe, Annaka, Gunma 379-0127, Japan

Operating Hours: 10:00AM-9:00PM (last entry at 8:00PM)

Admission Fee: ¥2,500

Contact Number: +81 27-385-1126

Website: http://www.city.annaka.lg.jp/kanko_spot/meguminoyu.html


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