Mother-Daughter Day Out: Pampering and Connecting at the Enoshima Island Spa
A spa day on lovely Enoshima Island is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with the teen queen in your life!
Finding the right time and occasion to share an activity gets harder as our kids get older, but summer vacation brings the chance to kick back a little. The Enoshima Island Spa is an ideal day trip destination from Tokyo, offering some summer fun and pampering, and it provided the perfect opportunity to reconnect with my teenager during our mother-daughter outing.
Rin is the youngest of my three kids and a high school senior. It doesn’t seem so long ago that she was tugging at my hand, begging “Mama, dakko! Pick me up, Mummy!” The years have gone fast and now it is more likely that I’m the one begging for more communication than just the occasional eye roll (when she can tear herself away from her cell phone, that is). I’m always working, she’s busy with her studies and a full schedule of extra-curricular activities, and the days just keep slipping by. Before I know it, this one will be off to university.
It happened that Rin’s friend, Kimberley from New Zealand, was staying with us during her first trip to Japan. Enoshima is a great place to take visitors and when I suggested a spa day, the girls jumped at the offer. After all, who doesn’t enjoy some pampering?
A Seaside Spa with Something for Everyone
It takes just over an hour by train from downtown Tokyo to reach Enoshima, and the Enoshima Island Spa (Enospa) is a leisurely 15-minute stroll from Katase-Enoshima Station. Set just above the ocean, the spa offers absolutely stunning views, most notably Mt. Fuji in full display on clear days. Along with treatments at the Beng Teng Spa and Yumemi Shiatsu Salon, guests can soak in their choice of 15 different rejuvenating pools. These include Japanese-style onsen hot springs (separate for men and women) and heated spa pools (co-ed, swimsuits required). The on-site restaurant, Island Grill, is the perfect place to complete your experience with a delicious meal.
We changed into our comfortable complimentary robes and stowed our belongings in a locker. In order to maintain a relaxing atmosphere and respect the privacy of all guests, the Enoshima Island Spa is device-free. This is a real bonus for an outing with teens who are usually glued to their cellphones (and if I’m honest, I’m almost as bad as my daughter). It made a refreshing change to look at each other, and not at a screen!
The Pampering Begins
We began our day at the Beng Teng Spa. We each received the one-hour signature treatment, which includes hot stones and your choice of aromatherapy oils. As this was the girls’ first time getting a massage, they were both excited and a little apprehensive, but the attentive and reassuring therapists soon put them at ease. Language was no barrier for our Kiwi guest Kimberley, as there are bilingual staff on hand and her therapist could communicate in fluent English. After a welcome drink and individual consultations, we selected our oil for the massage. I chose “Land”, which infuses the natural fragrances of fresh ylang-ylang, rosewood, frankincense, and jasmine to promote relaxation of the mind and help relieve stress. The girls, on the other hand, both went for “Dragon”, which has a bright citrus aroma and an energetic vibe perfectly suited to teenagers.
Upon hearing the fact that I spend a large portion of my day hunched over a computer, my therapist, Kaoru, worked her magic on my stiff shoulders. She told me that the hot stones included in the treatment have special significance—they had been blessed at the nearby Enoshima Shrine to bring good luck, health, beauty, and long life.
The Beng Teng Spa accepts clients from the age of 16 and Kaoru agreed it was a great idea to bring a teen daughter along. “It’s certainly not too early to start thinking about your body, and the importance of self-care, and I think it’s a good way to start a conversation with daughters,” she pointed out.
The girls were delighted with their treatments. “My therapist was amazing! She was really attentive and aware of my problem areas, and very discreet,” declared Rin. “Definitely, and it was so great that I could speak in English with my therapist,” Kimberley added.
Lunch with an Ocean View
All that pampering can make a person hungry, so clad in our robes, we headed to the Island Grill. Their specialty is seafood, but they can cater to vegetarians with advance notice. Rin chose the lunch special, which includes your choice of fresh fish prepared to order and the extensive salad buffet, while Kimberley went for the garlic shrimp. I decided that the salad buffet would suit me perfectly. Rin’s fish was grilled to perfection, while Kimberley declared the shrimp to be “Awesome!” The colorful salad buffet features a beautiful range of fresh salads and vegetables, accompanied by soup, bread, and fresh seasonal fruit. We were seated by the window, which afforded panoramic sea views of the Enoshima area. You really couldn’t ask for a lovelier dining spot!
After satisfied sighs of “I’m full!” from the girls, I announced I was going to have some dessert. They suddenly weren’t so full after all, and we ended up splitting the cheesecake and banana caramel tart between us. I taught Kimberly my favorite Japanese expression: “Amai mono wa betsu bara!” (I can always make room for dessert!)
Washing Our Cares Away
After a suitable interlude, we headed off to explore the rest of the complex. First stop was the pool; I hadn’t been in a pool with my teen queen in quite a while. The Enoshima Spa lets you experience the best of both Japanese and Western-style bathing. The beautifully-appointed onsen pool area gives you an opportunity to enjoy traditional Japanese bathing culture, complete with gorgeous ocean views, while the mixed pools each have something unique and special about them. The stunning Open-Air Spring Pool definitely has the “wow” factor to impress teens, and if you visit during the evening, you don’t want to miss the dreamy Water Pearl Show (offered twice each evening at the Sunlight Spring Pool). If you happen to forget your bathing suit, no problem! Rental suits are also available.
It was hard to choose our favorite, but we all particularly enjoyed the “Cave Area”, which uses innovative design and lighting to add an element of surprise as you move from pool to pool and includes the Waterfall Spring Pool, where you can lay back under a canopy of stars.
There is definitely something to be said for sitting side by side, letting the soothing effect of the warm water wash away your cares—and perhaps some of the distance that invariably sets in as kids grow up. Lingering in the warm Cave Spring Pool, which looks out over the ocean, Rin moved in closer and rested her head on my shoulder as she sighed in contentment. This kid might have overtaken me in height, but she’s still my baby at heart.
“Special Night Pool” Summer Campaign
The Enospa’s outside pool area will be beautifully lit up for summer weekends during the ‘Special Night Pool’ illuminations. Moreover, for the first time ever, the ‘no digital devices’ policy is lifted so that guests can take and share photos of their experience. Available on weekends and national holidays until September 30. See the website for more details.
Enoshima Island Spa (Enospa)
Address: 2-1-6 Enoshima, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa
Access: 15 min. walk from Katase-Enoshima Station; 20 min. walk from Enoshima Station
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during Regular and Summer Season (March to November), 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during Winter Season (December to February), Night Spa from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Regular Season) and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Winter Season)
Admission: High Season Full Day Entrance ¥3,660 (Adult), ¥1,782 (Child, excludes Sundays); Regular Full Day Entrance ¥3,120 (Adult), ¥1,512 (Child); Evening Entrance ¥1,932 (Adult), ¥1,296 (Child). See website for full details including discounted pricing, information on the Beng Ten Spa, Yumemi Shiatsu Massage, and Island Grill Restaurant.
Note: All guests are asked to respect the strict ‘no tattoo’ policy. Elementary-school age children are welcome, with the exception of Sunday. Due to safety precautions, babies and preschoolers are not admitted.