Pooch and I made full use of the swimming pool which was heated by the hot springs and very warm. I then headed off to the women's public bath. Fortunately there was a bell hop changing the towels who was able to talk me through the process as I was the only non-Japanese there. Essentially you get undressed and leave your clothes in a basket in the changing room. Then, butt naked, you go into the spa and sit on a little stool while washing yourself thoroughly. There is also a small bucket for sluicing yourself. You can wash your hair too at this point or just put it up. Then once you are very clean you get into the public bath which is very hot and completely clear. If you get too hot you can stand up and perch on the side to cool off, then you get back in. When in the water you sit still and it comes up to about your shoulders. Once suitably relaxed you get out, have another wash and then go back out into the changing area, pick up a towel, and get dressed. I know not everyone is comfy being naked in front of strangers, but having been a life model I've never had a problem with it and everyone is very respectful. Having said that the 10-ish year old girl who was there with her Mum had obviously never seen such pale flesh in the flesh and did gawp a bit until her Mum prodded her! No photos from this bit, obviously, but this is me afterwards - amazingly relaxed and full of love for the world.
We got back to Tokyo on Saturday in time for dinner and both felt like we'd been away much longer than one night. It was such a beautiful place. I am definitely going to be going back when the weather is warmer - as well as the Lalique Museum there are a number of art museums with impressionist and french art collections which I would love to take my time strolling through. Pooch also intends to climb Mount Fuji in the summer (crazy fool) and so we may be able to combine that and my visit with my birthday and another stay in the amazing hotel!