Man, woman old or young, anyone can enjoy a good hot spring bath. But if you have a baby you might worry about the baby or if you would be a bother for other guests which would make most mothers of babies reconsider going.
There is however an onsen inn where a family with a baby can bathe without worry.
This time we take a look at Yusakaso the onsen inn that is accommodating for babies in the famous Hakone Yumoto Onsen.
The simple facilities are all for babies
Yusakaso is an inn that opened when the proprietor 2 generations ago found the hot spring 50 years ago. While retaining the good yet old exterior the interior has been remodeled in 2012 and isn’t particularly spectacular but is very neat and tidy while catering to babies.
Although there isn’t a red carpet welcome of some of the more chic inns or hotels, the hospitality of the staff that come to collect your luggage from the separated parking area is a great help to parents who are traveling with a baby.
There isn’t a gift shop or a designer sofa in the lobby either. There is only a lounge that can only be considered a meeting room, a child corner with baby toys, and a table tennis table that is usually found at an onsen inn.
The allure at Yusakaso is that the hospitality and facilities are all catered towards babies.
Although it isn’t bustling the whole place is blanketed by a quietness which is good so not to spook babies.
A room that will put a smile on a babies face
How comforting a room is where you are staying the night is pretty important, here there are only 4 different room types.
The basic room type has a 24~30sqm room which isn’t lavishly decorated but because of its old build is spacious enough for a family of 3 or 4 to comfortably stay.
The upgraded room has a balcony of sorts and is 30sqm and for the large family there is the two room guest room which is 30sqm for one room and 18sqm for the other. If you want to experience just a little bit of flair book the room with an outdoor bath attached which is perfect for those that want to enjoy a bath in complete privacy.
The best thing here is the Baby Guest Plan, which means children under 2 are free, with a diaper set free, a diaper bin, baby chair, and a milk warmer included.
Although when they remodeled the rooms they also beefed up the soundproofing but even if the sounds come through it’s ok.
According to the staff most of the guests here understand that babies cry and will not complain.
With such understanding you almost want to let your baby cry to his or her hearts content.
The baby’s onsen debut with a garden outdoor bath
The most attractive feature here has to be the garden outdoor bath.
The indoor baths are separated into men’s and women’s but the connected outdoor bath is mixed.
The garden although not something unbelievable, is a perfect locations to bathe comfortably with the family under the stars or with the setting sun.
For women who may be a bit shy, the inn provides towels for bathing.
Also, for those women who just don’t want to bathe in a mixed bath but want to bathe outdoors the garden bath is restricted to women only between 8 and 9pm. During which time the men are restricted to bathe only at the indoor bath.
Although a bit cooler than most onsens it is the perfect temperature for babies so there are no worries there. Also, the water type is a alkaline hot spring and doesn’t pose any damage to babies’ skin. (*the effect on babies’ skin is the opinion of Yusakaso but there are no issues with my baby who bathed here)
After bathing joyfully with the baby the parents can enjoy a long bath.
Dinner and breakfast with the baby
There is no luxury restaurant or dining hall here.
Mostly the meals are served in the room so there is no inconvenience of having to head out of the room and you can eat at your own pace.
The meal is a true to Hakone with delicacies of the sea and mountains.
The meal itself isn’t extravagant but is very tasty. For those that like to imbibe in the nectar of the gods they may find the limited selection of beer or sake disappointing but because this is a family trip maybe that’s a good thing.
The inn although they would like to can’t provide baby food as not all babies have the same tastes or allergies and such. On the other hand they do warm milk or baby food for you as well as lend baby dishes or table ware and are very accommodating.
Also, even if you are staying as a large family or in separate rooms the meal is generally served in the room, in some cases they set up a separate room just so that the whole family can be together with the baby.
With the thoughtful and tasty food, smiles on the family’s faces enjoy a memorable moment.
Special hospitality for the baby and mom
The hidden hospitality is the thoughtfulness to the mom and baby.
For families with a baby the facilities and service are well thought out, but young moms may be apprehensive about bathing coed or with other guests of the inn.
For those clients there is the Family Bath.
Regardless if you have a baby or not each room gets 30 minutes of bathing time in a tub that can comfortably fit 4 adults, and in the summer they open the large window making it a half-outdoor bath that can be used for free.
You can even choose when you want to use this allowing you to schedule it around the baby’s pace. Another thing is that the outdoor bath and family bath all have changing stations where you only need the bare essentials.
If you are apprehensive about bathing outdoors or if you want to take a leisurely bath, first use this to have your baby enjoy its first onsen, and after it’s asleep then head out to the outdoor bath for a long soak.
With such a sweet setup for moms and babies enjoy some quality family time in this onsen.
The best thing about traveling or onsens is that you can experience things you can’t experience normally. But for babies no matter where you go the atmosphere has to be relatively the same.
There is an onsen style here that answers such dilemmas.
You can enjoy something different while maintaining that normalcy of being with the family.
The service and facilities at Yusakaso fulfill that as their form of hospitality.
Make a fantastic memory with your baby’s first onsen trip.
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