I’ve always wanted to visit an onsen during my Japan trips, but never got the chance to. So when Yunomori Onsen opened in Kallang Wave Mall late last year, I decided to wait till the crowd had died down before going.
For the uninitiated, an onsen is a Japanese hot spring with bathing facilities attached. Commonly associated with Japanese culture, its rustic, simplistic charm is a hit with tourists.
Since many of my friends asked about my experience (after seeing the many snaps from my Instagram stories), I thought I would share about my day at Yunomori – including how to get the most out of your visit!
The name yunomori is derived from the phrase “hot water in the forest”. While it may not be situated in a forest per se (thanks to our, ahem, geographical profile), their location in a relatively quiet part of the mall, coupled with the predominantly wood accented decor and soft music, gave the place an air of tranquility.
Entering is admittedly complicated if you are a first timer. Deposit your footwear in the tiny lockers before going over to the counter, where the staff will do a one-time registration, exchange your shoe locker key for a bathroom locker key, and confirm your package before sending you on your way. The feeling is similar to checking in to a spa resort – butter smooth, fuss free, and very welcoming! The front desk were extremely helpful too, giving detailed instructions in an unhurried manner.
Admission costs $38+ for adults and $28+ for guests under 15 or over 65. There are also 5 types of massages available at an added cost. Using the onsen after the aromatherapy, foot and herbal compress massages is not allowed, though, as the oils and essences used may contaminate the waters. So plan your time wisely.
While Yunomori’s pricing is steep compared to the regular onsen back in Japan, I personally felt that it’s quite worth it for the overall experience. After all, there is no time limit so you can pretty much stay for the entire day if you feel like it. Plus, it includes a set of yukata and towels, on top of unlimited toiletries for you to stay fresh and clean after your soak!
For the yukata which you wear to the cafe and lounge, you can ask the staff to assist you with putting it on. I was spoilt for choice!
Now for the burning question: do you have to go commando in the baths?
No. You will be provided with disposable underwear. But honestly, the “underwear” is just a thin piece of black fabric that stretches to make your…bits less visible, but not fully censored if you catch my drift. I actually felt more uncomfortable wearing it – so don’t be shy! You’ll be too busy enjoying the baths to dwell on it anyway.
On to the baths – there are 5 for the ladies and 6 for the men, as well as a steam room and sauna (the latter only available in the men’s room). You can probably fit about 4 people in the steam room and 5 people in each bath before it starts to feel a tad crowded.
Rules wise – no camera phones and towels allowed (you can bring the small towel in to wipe the steam off your face), and do remember to tie up your hair and rinse yourself before entering each bath to avoid contamination. Try not to linger on the steps for too long so that others can join the baths!
Out of the 5 baths – Bubble, Soda, Jet, Silk and Cold – my favourites were the Soda and Silk Baths. So refreshing! Could feel ’em bubbles forming on my skin and making it feel smoother too.
Don’t feel like soaking? The Steam Room is great for escaping the steady hum of the baths. At 100% humidity, the wet heat might take some getting used to at first.
Personally, 1 hour is the maximum amount of time I can spend at once in the bathing area, so it was off to lunch before my head and neck massage!
As with other Japanese F&B outlets, Yunomori serves typical, hearty Japanese fare, as well as refreshing desserts to cool off. Leave your wallet behind, as the cafe uses your electronic tag slash locker key to keep track of all your orders.
The Japanese Assorted Platter ($17.80) that I had is one of the pricier items on the menu, but also boasts a ton of healthy ingredients like grilled teriyaki saba fish, chicken, tofu, pickes, salad, and rice. The soup and dessert changes every now and then depending on the season. Diners with small appetites can also share them as it’s a really large serving.
If you’re not hungry, you can also snack on some Onsen Egg ($2) and Hokkaido Milk ($3.80), which are traditionally consumed after a soak.
There’s nothing much else to do other than lounge in the rest area or go for a massage or two – but that’s what a day at Yunomori Onsen is all about, unwinding and whiling the day away with all the creature comforts you crave within your reach! I truly felt invigorated after my massage and second soak, and was really reluctant to leave all that behind. Hopefully Yunomori will introduce more seasonal baths so there’ll be incentive for me to visit again.
Address: Kallang Wave Mall 02-17/18
Opening hours: 10am – 11pm daily
Contact: 6386 4126