Inspire

Get A Slice Of Japan At This Traditional Onsen Hidden In The Blue Mountains

With news that Japan is talking about opening up a travel bubble with Australia next month, you might be thinking about all the incredible Japanese experiences on the potential horizon.

Thanks to TikTok, where I now get 80 percent of my education, you don’t have to wait months before you can literally immerse yourself in Japan’s delights – turns out there is a full working onsen in the Blue Mountains, with stunning views to boot.

“This is for those who miss the Japan onsen experience,” Nick of @NickandHelmi says.

The couple show us around the Sparadise Blue Mountains Japanese Bath House in South Bowenfels near Lithgow. There’s no Instagram for the bath house and not much has been written about it – it really is a true hidden gem, found through both recommendations and by happy accident.

There are multiple bathing areas (both indoor and outdoor) including individual soaking tubs underneath cute pergolas and a herbal steam room. You can also book private baths (buros) or a massage if you’re feeling extra bougie.

 

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There’s a serene tea room that serves tea (obviously) along with a selection of tasty Japanese meals. There’s even a zen garden to ponder the next phase of your life, or which bath you’ll hit up next.

The whole thing is a very lush dream seemingly on top of the world, with sweeping vistas of Lake Lyell.

An Onsen is a public bath with hot springs. The Japanese Bath House in the Blue Mountains is fed by a natural mineral spring, which flows from a depth of about 300 meters from the mineral rich layers of the land.

 

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Bathing in public is not only the norm in Japanese culture, it’s steeped in history and ritual. In fact, soaking your tired bones dates back as far as the sixth century when Buddhist purification rituals were introduced.

Ever since then, Japan has been a nation that loves to bathe.

“Traditional Japanese bath culture is rooted deeply in the nation’s history and has its very own set of rules and norms,” says Live Japan.

That includes bathing naked with others. But if that makes you anxious, no need to stress about this Blue Mountains situation. “A good thing [is] you don’t have to be naked,” Nick explains in the video.

 

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The bath house at Sparadise endeavours to promote “Ikigai; finding happiness through the pursuit of your reason for being.” There are cultural practices to note before heading there, and you must book. They also offer accommodation if you want to stay the night.

You can make it a full Japanese experience on your way back to Sydney by stopping off for some Japanese souffle pancakes in Chatswood or to an authentic Japanese bakery in Newtown, two more @NickandHelmi recommendations.

 

Otherwise, check out our guides to the Blue Mountains, here.

(Lead Image: Japanese Bath House Blue Mountains Sparadise / Facebook)