Gokoyu   五香湯

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Gokoyu baths offer a variety of affordable services.

Gokoyu baths offer a variety of affordable services.

A milk bath for Japanese Cleopatras

An onsen well known to the local population, who have made it their favorite place to go after a long day at work.

A milk bath with soothing virtues? A boiling hot bath? A bath that is just hot enough? A bath with big bubbles? A bath with relaxing plants? An ice bath? An electric bath? Or rather a sauna?

Gokoyu Onsen has the advantage of being very affordable (390 yen), offering a variety of baths with soothing vertues and having beneficial effects on rheumatism, back pain, asthma and acne, and all that available until late (midnight) so that you can watch the stars. Upstairs there are two saunas, one with hot stones, the specialty of the house, which you have to book by phone or in person at the reception.

The small size of the baths - only one or two people per bath, and the friendly atmosphere set the tone. Grannies wearing towels on their heads, do strange gymnastic movements in the very hot water, a young man remains astoundingly stoic in water so cold that it would make many Westerners' heads spin, young children frolick happily, as they too enjoy the  mineral water: Here you leave not just soothed, but having touched a part of everyday life of Kyoto. 

A small snack bar is available where you can have a refreshing beer, an ice cream or if you are hungry, some prepared noodles or rice.

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