Onsens let’s get naked and talk body confidence

Advice, body confidence, confidence, Travel, weight loss

Firstly if you think I have body confidence you are mistaken. My pale chubby body is not a sight for sore eyes, even mine. I have gained a little weight since the wedding and I am not happy about it.

I do appreciate my body, don’t get me wrong, it is fairly healthy and fairly strong but it does look way better by candle light. I do believe in women loving themselves but I also understand that having body confidence is all in your head. And confidence grows from confidence so you can judge me all you want but my insecurities are not going away with a talk about how I should be proud of my body.

I was

Now I am not.

So let’s get back to Onsens. Onsens are like hot tubs but more like a the kids bathing pool. They are hot, they have to be a minimum of 37 degrees and have a minimum of 19 different minerals. Two of the Onsens we visited were 51 degrees

and were so hot we felt like we were cooking!

Getting naked

Most places will supply you with a kimono dressing gown cover called a yukata,belt, socks and the most uncomfortable flip flops ever. They are heinous but slow you down. This whole outfit forces you to take your time and relax. I loved it so much and you can sleep in them too if you want to. The yukata not the flip flops.

The men and women are divided so you only get naked infront of other women, few.

You go to a room full of baskets. Turn your basket the right way up and fill it with your bits. I left everything in the room so I just had what I was wearing.

When dressing women tie at the front and men tie at the back. Also the left lapel goes over the top. The right only goes over the top when you are dead!

It’s not out of focus it’s just that steamy in Here

Modesty

There is a modesty towel. It’s fricken tiny it barely reaches from boob to boob but it does cover your vagina so you don’t need to worry about your front. The whole rest of your body is on display. Oh boy…. I am not sure exactly what I was so afraid of until an American goddess with a perfect body entered the room. She was leaving and I was getting in so I hid in the loo till she left.

Because I had no confidence!

A few rules

The first Onsen I went to the lighting was nice and low so it helped me build my confidence. No it didn’t it just meant I didn’t run as fast to the Onsen like I did in the second one. After my fourth Onsen I was a bit less caring about what only her people thought of me and more concerned with how long I had been outside for!

It’s a hot bath which you share, this means you have to be clean going in. They have these tiny stalls with tiny stools you sit on and wash yourself. There is soap shampoo and conditioner but you don’t have to get your hair wet at all. You must clean yourself to keep the experience as hygienic as possible.

There are also shower heads, taps and a cute wooden bucket that you fill and splash over yourself. When I was alone I really enjoyed this process as the room is heated by the Onsens so you stay nice and warm. It’s a strange but pleasant way to wash and if I could get an Onsen in my garden in London I would, not a hot tub an actual onsen.

So far I have been in a Onsen alone, with a goddess ( she joined me the next night) and with a Japanese family and then a room full of Japanese beauty’s.

It was all fine no one cared.

I will go in again and again and get the most of the Onsens. We are in Japan at a quiet time of the year so I have been lucky that none of the Onsens have been full. I need to work on my confidence. I also need to work on my body. It’s not bad but it could be better!

Tattoos and Onsens

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but tattoos are generally not accepted in Onsens. I found one out of the five I visit were accepted and that was because it was a private Onsen.

I bought some tattoo covers with me and these are exceptable but if you have larger tattoos then you might face some issues.

From what I have read the reason Japan hates tattoos is because years ago prisoners used to be tattooed as a punishment. Then the yakuza decided to decorate the tattoos even more making this punishment a rite of passage instead. Yakuza had a lot of control in Japan so Japan decided to ban all tattoos from Onsens this making a huge statement to Japanese gangsters that they are not welcome.

Flash forward to modern times and things are changing but it is important to respect the traditions. You are not going to change anything by kicking up a fuss.

How did I feel about my tattoo

Well, honestly I felt like it was a hindrance. I had the stickers and I had to buy more but I was more worried about being kicked out for having a tattoo which came with a certain amount of shame that I had never felt before. I felt better when I had a cover up or I snuck in when there was no one around! But I did feel like I was sneaking.

I am sure if you search for them there are plenty of places that have no care for tattoos but like I said, 4/5 did. And we traveled a nice amount.

An Onsen life for me

We squeezed in as much Onsen action as we could and I swear it helped with the jetlag as we never suffered any!! These baths are open air relaxation and I enjoyed them immensely. In Zao Onsen they hawks closed off the open site but bit you could see the piles snow, it was beautiful but we weren’t allowed outside.

Hotels we stayed in Japan

Advice, Honeymoon, Travel

If your planning a trip to Japan then you may be interested in hotels we stayed it. I won’t put the prices up as it will change when you get there.

Before we left I popped all our hotels in my Google maps so that I could find them quickly on my phone.

They were easy for us to find our way back to even if we had had one two many cocktails!

Ryokan Onsen Tokyo

5 Chome-3-18 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan

This was probably my second favourite hotel of the whole trip. Walking in from an 11 hour flight to find the most peaceful interior. Filled with soothing music, calming staff. The location was perfect. 10 minutes from the station and from all we needed. We loved it so much we chose to stay here when we were returning to Tokyo two weeks later.

Even though it was our honeymoon we decided to opt for twin beds rather than doubles. We had been warned that the beds in Japan were small so we wanted comfort. We moved the beds so they were next to each other but on the first night we were so tired we didn’t care.

The Hotels

Entrance to hotel

The Onsen was the best thing after a long flight and we took advantage of it when ever we were at the hotel even using it in the morning as you have to clean yourself before you get in! If you want to know more about Onsens I wrote about my experience here.

The room was small and functional we just slept and relaxed here. We never really suffered from jetlag so we were out from morning till evening then we would have an Onsen as it was open late and go to bed.

Considering how hectic Tokyo can seem this hotel was a breath of fresh air. We didn’t eat there but we loved staying there we only had one negative. On our last night there we organised for our luggage to go straight to the airport. The guy who was serving seemed like he couldn’t be bothered. He basically said we had to organise it all ourselves. When we first stayed we asked them to send our suitcases on to another hotel so we didn’t have to carry them. The women who helped us couldn’t do more, the guy couldn’t be bothered and kept making up excuses.

But that was a 20 minute experience from a 4 night stay so I would. Stay there again!

Overview

Location 4

  • Location 4
  • Price ££
  • Extras Onsen
  • Size of room Compact but perfect
  • 3 words modern peaceful compact

Shinaokoi annex Hakone

This place was wonderful. It was a traditional Ryokan where we wore robes to our meals and to the Onsen. It was surrounded by trees and was beautiful.

It was halfway between the town and the attractions so it was a good location however there was little to do there. We ate at the hotel so we didn’t have to go far and it was only one night I wish we had stayed for two minimum. The hotel was not modern but that is not what we wanted. We wanted a more traditional experience and although we didn’t have rice paper wall it still felt authentic.

The bathroom was just a toilet and sink as you were encouraged to use the Onsens and as we were only there for 1 night we didn’t miss it. Our floor table had a heater under it and kept us warm and we enjoyed having our tea and relaxing.

  • Location 3
  • Price ££
  • Extras Onsen the food was outstanding
  • Size of room Large and traditional
  • 3 words: traditional peaceful remote

Hiroshima Kokusai Hotel ひろしま国際ホテル

Hiroshima was a magical place and this hotel was pretty basic but it was fine. We didn’t spend long enough in Hiroshima it as most things were closed we didn’t mind too much.

The room was traditional with two futons on the floor it comfy clean and warm. The best thing this hotel had for it was it’s location. It was great. Right in the middle of things. It also had rice paper wall and lots of different spaces we didn’t really use because we were too busy exploring that we didn’t spend much time there.

We did eat here but to food wasn’t great. It was breakfast so we wouldn’t recommend the food but the hotel was fine. There were a few nice bars close by.

  • Location 4
  • Price ££
  • Size of room Large and traditional
  • 3 words: traditional clean and tidy

Hotel Wing International-Select Osaka Umeda ホテルウィングインターナショナルセレクト大阪梅田

Time for a bit of a change we headed to Osaka. To modern hectic Osaka.

This was a super modern, clean tidy hotel. It had a strange Art Deco theme but beds were heavenly with thick mattresses. The bathroom was small but had a bath and missing the Onsens we took full advantage.

We had a bit of a mishap with the language barrier and ended up getting our clothes dry cleaned rather than laundered and although it cost us £100 for tee shirts we put it down to a foolish mistake! A costly one but a mistake.

The location was great just a ten minute walk from the station but if I could go back I would stay closer to Namba as we ended up going out there a lot.

  • Location 4
  • Price ££
  • Size of room Small and compact
  • 3 words: modern, fresh, comfy

In summary

Even though I have about 4 hotels left I am going to leave it there for now. I will pop the information up in a blog later on.

I hope that wasn’t too boring we never stayed in a bad hotel and I do feel bad for any negative feedback as we were looked after pretty well. Any mistakes were generally ours. We had decent nights sleep every night, all in comfortable beds. It didn’t matter if we were in the heart of a city or out in the country the rooms were all peaceful and tidy.

Hakone, I wish I stayed a wee bit longer

Honeymoon, Personal Experience, Travel

So lots of Japanese people head to Hakone for the Onsens. Being tourists we wanted to see Mount Fuji, take a trip in the pirate ship, eat volcano cooked eggs and take the ropeways. Which is fine but we didn’t really get out to the restaurant and walk anywhere but the touristy areas. And there really isn’t anything wrong with that but if we had had more time we would have loved to explore more.

We left Tokyo at about 11 and got on the bullet train to Hakone. We packed a bento lunch and watched Japan whiz by. It was easy. We had booked our seats E and D so that we could see Mount Fuji the whole way. Japanese travel efficiently is something all countries should aim to achieve.

When we arrived we booked a Hakone 1-2 day pass and it was worth it. There had been a landslide so the little train was out of action so instead we hopped on the bus for 40 minutes. Dropped off our rucksacks and headed straight for the rope way.

Mount Fuji

This area of Japan is so serene with all the trees, rivers streams trickling down the mountain. Clouds often cover the peak of Mount Fuji so rather than relaxing in our hotel we wanted to get straight up and see it, in case it was Hidden The next day. With clear skies above us we checked into our hotel and went straight our again.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that gondolas are my absolute favourite thing even though I am scared of heights I don’t mind being in one. And because tourist levels were super low we got a gondola to ourselves. We rode it to the top and entered what can only be described as the dragons den.



The Dragons Den

Now it says that if you have asthma then you shouldn’t go up here. Gavin said he was fine and wanted to go so we went up anyway and he didn’t suffer at all. I am not saying people should go up if they do have asthma but you guys know your levels. The conditions on the day we went up were lovely so I think that helped.

This place was magical they said that a few years ago an earthquake opened up small fissures adding to this dramatic sulphuric smoke. I took so many photos I was completely in love with nature’s drama. There was still a lot of trees plants and birds around which felt slightly out of place. I want to do a bit more research on this place.

We walked around for a bit then headed to the gift shop. The museum was closed but everything else was open. So in Hakone they have magical eggs that are cooked in the volcanic water boiled for 60minutes and they turn black. Now legend has it that for every egg you eat you live an extra 7 years.

They come in bags of 5 so I ate two and Gav ate 3. We also had a curry pan and a beer so we were pretty full. They are just normal boiled eggs they don’t smell or taste any different. But 7 extra years guys! I had to try.

So we went all the way over then back again, which felt right as this is definitely Hobbit country and Smaug is definitely hiding beneath this mountain.

Prince Eric’s boat

We wanted to catch the last pirate ship of the night. Accross the lake, I thought it would be amazing to watch the sunset whilst we were on the ship however I forgot that the mountains would block out the light so it was really pretty but no sky drama. It looked like the boat at the start of the Little Mermaid. This boat is purely for tourists and it’s all for show. The journey was cold and pretty and we stayed outside drinking instant coffee and had a good old laugh.

At the end of this we hopped on a bus back to our hotel where are rooms where ready and dinner was served in just 15minutes so we ran upstairs to change into our traditional robes yukata.

Even though we had only spent a few hours travelling we were both tired so even though the food was great I didn’t have much of an appetite. I will pop the hotel food in its own blog just because it was exceptional.

Dinner and Onsen

The restaurant was full and we were the only tourists there which makes a nice change. We ate our amazing meal and then jumped in the Onsen. ( we didn’t jump in we had to do all the bits first!) I had the whole place to myself so we could really enjoy it.

It was nice to have an early night. We had breakfast which was a epic feast that I am still dreaming about another Onsen at it was our last one for a while and then thought we would do a bit more sight seeing.

We visited the Hakone open air museum which was lovely but modern art isn’t really my favourite. We did enjoy all the Henry Moore’s as well as the actual grounds were impressive. The Picasso wasn’t my favourite but we were lucky because it was fairly empty and we got to wander around at our own pace.

Outrage favourite bit was actually the foot Onsen which was beautiful and we were the only ones in it so we took our time and just took in the park. There we a few your cherry trees blossoming but not incredible pictures yet!

We divided to visit Hakone town have a wonder round the shops eat amazing cheesecake and mocha from ancient store holders. We wish we could have stayed a bit longer but Hiroshima was calling us.

We then took two bullet trains to Hiroshima.

Even though we spent the night there we really didn’t get the chance to explore this wonderful place. So when we return we already know that we will book two nights minimum here and spend some actual time visiting bits of the Hakone deserves a bit more time and effort.

First day in Tokyo… an early start

Personal Experience, Travel

When we arrived at Tokyo it was 6am and we were understandably tired. Our hotel would not let us check in Till 3, so we had some time to kill. Our hotel was in Shinjuku and we decided to head there and just have a walk around and take in the sights. Our luggage was forwarded to our hotel so we didn’t have to lug them around.

We decided to get off at Harujuku. We knew full well that not much would be open at they time but it would be nice to see bit. I was in my snowboarding coat and it was 17 degrees so we searched a few shops for something I could change into. In the end gGav gave me his shirt and I wore it like a dress.

We found a little coffee shop and ordered an egg sandwich. The shop had a hatch so we ordered from there and the door to the right looked into it. The cutest Dalmatian puppy stood at the door and we were invited in. The cafe was also a dog groomers. So we had puppies running round our feet. It was wonderful.

Sandwich was delicious too

If you want an excellent cup of coffee I would definitely recommend this place. Whyte Sandwiches. It was a tiny place but was super clean and they were all about sustainability and looking after the planet. We chilled here playing with the dogs and setting up our WiFi which was super easy.

Then after a bit of hunting for a dress I never bought, Harujuku started to get busier. We had seen the amazing candle floss here and even though it was early we thought that as we may not be back to Harujuku it was now or never. A little girl stood in the door way holding a candy floss that was half the size of her. The look of elation was exactly how I was about to feel when I got mine.

Every colour was a different flavour !

We wondered around a lot, the streets started filling up but it never got swamped. Then we headed back to our hotel. It was 13.30 and we just wanted to see if our room was ready. It was, thank god, because we were both exhausted. We decided not to fight our jetlag and set our alarms for 4 hours. We both passed out pretty fast.

Our room was small but immaculate and the view over Japan was insane.

When we woke up still feeling tired but more ourselves, we headed to the roof for an Onsen. Onsens are hot baths, shallow so you can’t swim but deep enough for your privacy. You can’t wear clothes and you have to wash before you go in. I will write a little blog on them when I get home.

I was so nervous about being naked infront of other women I ran to the shower cubicles and then ran to the Onsen. About 5 minutes later I realised there was an outside Onsen. It was cold and the water was hot.

This is the view from the other side

Din dins

We knew we wouldn’t have too much energy so we got ready and headed out. It was about 8pm by the time we left our hotel. We headed for memory lane or Piss Alley. We did get a wee bit lost and went down the wrong lane but we easily found the right one. We stopped at the first yakatori place on the left and had a grisly meatball and some tasty chicken all downed with Japanese beer.

Which is so good.

Then we went to another yakitori place had more beer with more meat. I read somewhere that if in doubt head to the Albatross bar so we went there for a few cocktails. A nice old fashioned followed by a spicy gin. It was really cool in there and we will probably is it again.

Then it was about half ten! Where does the time go we started heading home and Gav saw a sign for gyoza so we went to the second floor of a building and had last ordered with two sides of gyoza. You had to order through an iPad and it was all Japanese so we ordered 3 beers by mistake!

We drank them and ate up and by the time we arrived at our hotel it was almost 12.

So we hit the hay.

It was a lot to do on our first day but the Onsen really helped us relax as well as the 4 hour nap. When we woke the next day we were a little tired but we haven’t suffered from jetlag.

My advice to you is sleep if you need it just not for too long and if you can get to an Onsen then have one. Book a private Onsen if you don’t like to share.

That was our first day in Japan and we loved it. Good food. Good drinks! A perfect way to start our honeymoon.

Japan Airlines, the flight and inflight routine

Travel

We booked out flights since Christmas and are planning on exploring our honeymoon in Japan over 3 weeks. We couldn’t wait.

Flying out we have come withJapan Airlines, because of where we live in London there were no trains into London on the morning of our flight. We all know how stressful getting to a flight can be so we thought ahead. I booked us a taxi so we didn’t have to struggle with our suitcases and we left on the Friday.

We booked into an Ibis hotel the night before. Our flight was at 9.55am so we could get up at seven, get breakfast and jump on the bus to Heathrow. We ate at a burger and lobster the night before and ordered a nice bottle of red and a couple of old fashioneds! It was a nice way to relax before our flight.

Our journey began

At Heathrow we boarded without any issues. As I am off to Japan for the first time ever I didn’t care for the beauty counters as I hope to pick some up. Check out my last blog on skincare bits I want to buy in Japan. So we went straight for snacks and some water.

I did squeal when I saw our plane

We left London on a cold gloomy Saturday morning with an 11 hour flight ahead of us. The hostesses were attentive. Food was the best food I have had on a flight and I have had some corkers from Air Seychelles many years ago!

The noodles were yummy but my favourite thing was the ice cream we got at the end! Ice cream on a flight is brilliant and I haven’t had it before. It was a fairly warm flight and I felt overdressed in leggings and a jumper.

In flight entertainment was great and me and Gavin caught up in lots of film we missed at the movies which was nice. We didn’t sleep much which was the plan as we were worried about the jet lag.

Ice cream and Frozen 2, yes please

We didn’t drink too much but the pillows I bought of Amazon were great especially the eye masks!

Beauty routine

I read a lot of bloggers and watch a lot of beauty you tubers who talk about there inflight routine and it makes me cringe.

Planes dehydrate your skin! If you remove your makeup or use masks and sprays you are doing more harm than good. The best way to look after your skin for a flight is to do it all before hand.

Because we were flying for a whole day I saw no reason to wear any makeup at all. Who is going to look at me on the flight?? So instead I put on a rich hydrating mask by Summer Fridays in the morning and let it do it’s job.

It acted as a barrier to my skin and I wasn’t about to destroy that barrier by applying a sheet mask or washing my face. I listened to the dermatologists rather than beauty influencers.

Summer Fridays jetlag mask and Lancôme Idole

I cleaned my teach on the plane and added some lip balm but that was pretty much it. When we got to the hotel I washed my face and applied more cream and my skin was looking pretty good.

A great flight

Yes there was a bit of turbulence but other than that it was great. We had two hot meals, snacks, drinks. We watched a few movies and tried to sleep. The leg room was great so we could stretch out and getting through customs at the end was easy.

All the staff wore face masks which was a bit startling at first but it helped us adjust when we got to Tokyo. In Japan when you have a cold or aren’t feeling well you wear a mask to protect everyone else. It’s a very considerate culture.

We had to pick up our pocket WiFi, JR pass for the trains, buy a passmo card ( like an Oyster card) The best thing we did was organise for our luggage to go on ahead of us. We arrived around 6am in the morning and rather than dragging our suitcases with us they went to the hotel so we could explore.

We couldn’t check in until 3 although when we got there at 1pm our room was ready for us. Everyone we spoke to was very helpful and it made our lives so much easier.

We just couldn’t wait to explore what Japan had in store for us!

Japanese skincare: What I am hoping to pick up in Japan

Beauty, Honeymoon

So I think I have probably watched over a hundred videos on what to pick up in Japan! So this is my list, what’s great is that thanks to the the internet I can get most of these online now but I want to try them out whilst I am there.

I have gone on peoples reviews however Japan is awesome when it comes to skincare as they rate them on the packaging so if it has a label with the picture below you know this is a product actually bought by the Japanese people.

So my purchases may be biased and based on what every one else is buying. Also because I can’t read I will have to rely on my photos to make sure I am getting the right thing!

Okay so here is the list…

  • DHC cleansing oil
  • DHC lip balm
  • Hadda Labo lotion
  • Cure natural aqua gel
  • SANA Soy Milk 6 In 1 Moisture Gel Cream
  • Pair acne cream >
  • Melano cc vitamin serum
  • kanebo suisai beauty clear powder
  • Skincare conditioner >
  • Biore Aqua spf
  • Lulu Lun masks
  • Keana Rice Mask
  • Soborino masks
  • Baby foot

So that is quite a lot!!

But they all do different things!!

DHC cleansing oil

So this is supposed to be amazing, an oil based liquid cleansers.  This cleanser digs deep it is vitamin-rich. It’s going to leave my skin feeling clean and enriched and is this is my first step in skin care it. You are supposed to use this on dry hands on dry skin and massage into your face.

Hadda Labo lotion

I was watching Caroline Hirons another beauty goddess and she was saying they the red one contains retinal so is better for my skin. I know I can get this in the Britain but it is cheaper over here so I know if I like it I can get more.

Sana Soy Milk

Is a 6 in one so for lazy days you can just pop this on in the morning. This sounds ideal to me because I generally just moisture are my shower in the morning. Especially if I have had a face mask on the night before. Taking of face masks I can’t wait to try the Keena rice masks and the Lulu hun. They come in number packs so I can try them out when I am in Japan.

sunscreen

Apparently Japanese and Korean sun are is the best. They keep there skin out of the sun and guess what! They have less wrinkles and better skin quality. I am sure there diet of fish helps too.

I will be buying there skincare apparently this one is lighter, doesn’t leave white residue and also is great under makeup.

My list is longer than my descriptions but I can give you more information when I get back.

Don Quioti

I will be purcahsing most of these bits from Donqui as it’s called here. I also want to try some eyeliner from blowfish and the number one waterproof mascara!

We may have to buy another suitcase when I am out there but it’s our honeymoon and I can’t wait!

Beauty shopping here I come!

Honeymoon with coronavirus! Japan here we come

Advice, health, Honeymoon, Planning, Travel

So firstly, are we worried? Yes a little

Are we going? Yes unless the government tells us not to!

It’s a flu, a bad flu that mainly effects the old and vulnerable. So we are not in the danger bracket yet. We still may get sick but likely that we will be fine. It’s flu, nasty flu.

This isn’t the dream honeymoon we have been planning for two years I can tell you. Generally I am fine and level headed about the hole thing but I still get moments of panic. I went out and tried to buy hand sanitizer but Tesco had sold out. Went to another shop but it wasn’t good sanitizer so I went to Boots and bought 6 baby ones and a big one to restock it.

I went in Boots today and they had sold out !! Sainsburies had nothing. So I bought what they had. I know Gav will say it’s too much but I would rather be safe then sorry… or dead.

This isn’t all of it!!

A lady I know who works at the local GP said Dettol. It kills all bacteria so I bought a decanter to take with us on the plane. I bought the antiseptic dettol for humans and antiseptic dettol for objects. This means I can clean the plane and our trays and just make it a bit more hygienic where ever we are.

Okay I sound crazy! It takes up minimal room in my suitcase and I don’t care.

Gav is far more sure about the decision.

He mocks my fear a little but I just want to be practical. We have bought extra hand sanitizer andantibacterial wipes to clean things. We even have proper masks but apparently they don’t do anything.

We are going to be sensible.

Hopefully that will be enough.

Stay away from crowds but enjoy ourselves! Have fun eat drink and stay clean.

What else can we do.

We are also taking half a pharmacy with us as well. In case we get sick out there we are making sure that we have some medication with us. Does this sound like fun honeymoon planning to you? I have two first aid kits! A mini one and a bigger one for when we are travelling around.

Safety first for the crazy lady!

My parents are both worried. My dad is worried we will get stuck out there. He calls me every other day now. And we get it, we really do but what can we do it about it.

My mum is coming to look after the dog.. so I am thinking of moving her out before we get home. In case we are not sick but pass on the virus to her. I would hate to be responsible for getting my mum and aunt sick! This really does worry me.

So let’s have a chat in the comments! Are you going to Japan? Would you go? Are you there now?