A highlight of my Japan trip was when my friends and I spent the day in an onsen, peeling off our haggard layers of exhaustion from traveling and reveling in an ancient Japanese tradition of relaxation.
While Japanese culture demands hard work and rigid adherence to being proper, it also excels in the art of truly winding down in a way that doesn’t yet exist in San Francisco. Here, high ambitions drive a paltry work-life balance, and we often forget to take time for ourselves. That’s where Onsen, the bath house and restaurant, come in.
Onsen is straightforward with what they are trying to do. They don’t want to replicate the exact bath experiences of Japan—to do so would take too much time and probably be futile. Instead, they want to bring the essence of the onsen to the city. Through a thoughtful aesthetic and well-executed menu, the entire experience is relaxing from beginning to end.
A soak and a dinner is easily a three-hour evening. If you are short on time, I recommend coming for dinner. Onsen provides an excellent sake tasting flight with written descriptions to guide you through flavor profiles. In terms of food, the squid skewers, pork belly udon noodles, and mochi dessert shine; I could probably eat the pork belly udon three times in one sitting and not get tired of it.
Onsen has arrived to provide us the much-needed break from life that we need. Come for a bath, stay for dinner, and relax.
466 Eddy Street