[Feature] Kougenyu! Recovery hot spring facility
The Zao Bodaira Athlete Village in Kaminoyama City is a venue where many athletes train.
This is where Kogenyu, Japan’s first recovery hot spring facility for athletes, opened.
This time, we investigated the facility and its charm in the hall!
In July 2020, Kogenyu opened as Japan’s first recovery hot spring facility with the aim of helping the recovery of the mind and body of athletes.
Located on the premises of Zao Bodaira Athlete Village in Kaminoyama City, Yamagata Prefecture, where athletes train, there is a hot spring that uses the source pumped from 1,000 meters underground, a wet sauna where you can enjoy the authentic Finnish sauna, and a running water facility. Full-fledged care facilities such as a swimming pool and the latest oxygen capsules are also available.
There are also ski resorts and campgrounds in the surrounding area, so not only athletes but also the general public can use it easily (^-^)
This time, we interviewed the sub-manager, Mr. Kiryu.
He was also an athlete who participated in competitions as an alpine skier.
Mr. Kiryu says, “‘Kogenyu’ is still developing!”
It was impressive to see him happily talking about his plans and ideas for future challenges (^-^)
② Map of the facility
The building is a two-story wooden structure, with a hot spring, pool, and studio on the first floor, and a multi-purpose room on the second floor.
2. Visit of Kogenyu
This time we visited in early February, right in the middle of the winter season!
I wanted to see the stylish wooden appearance of the facility, but it was a blizzard that day.
I aimed for the moment when it weakened for a moment, but it became a little difficult to understand the photo with the snowfall (^ ^;)
So, I borrowed a photo of the summer season from the official website!
Here it is!
*Borrowed from the official website
The contrast between the wooden appearance and the blue sky and greenery is very vivid (^-^)
I wanted to take a winter version of this photo, but it seems that the timing was a bit difficult at Zao in winter… (^^;)
① Purchase a ticket at the entrance
Now, let’s take a step back and introduce the inside of the Facility!
Let’s start with the entrance!
The scent of wood that spreads at the moment of entering felt very comfortable (^-^)
At this point you can already feel the healing effect.
Remove your shoes, measure your temperature and disinfect your hands at the entrance.
Since the use is a ticket system, please purchase a ticket at the vending machine.
There are several types of tickets, so if you are worried about purchasing, feel free to ask the receptionist (^-^)
② Hot spring
First of all, I was guided to the hot spring bath, which is the pride of Kogenyu.
The natural hot spring takes source 1,000 meters below the ground, and is unique as it is rich in two different water quality of sodium, a bicarbonate spring and a sulfate spring.
Actually, these two water qualities are two of three that are generally said to be the three major hot springs for beautiful skin!
The bicarbonate spring has a cleansing effect that softens dead skin cells and smoothes the skin, while the sulfate spring helps heal wounds and promote collagen production.
Water qualities that are nice for those conscious about their skin!
Here is the dressing space.
The photo is of the Women’s bath, but the Men’s bath is also symmetrical across the wall.
It is well cleaned and comfortable to use.
This is the state of the bath area taken from the entrance.
The two water qualities of bicarbonate spring and sulfate spring are excellently compatible!
The bicarbonate spring is also known as a refreshing hot spring, and as it removes dead skin cells, some people may find their skin a little dry after bathing.
The other sulfate spring compensates for this shortcoming.
The hot spring ingredients adhere to the skin, keeping the skin moist even after bathing and keeping the skin from getting cold after bathing.
By the way, the water qualities of the nearby Zao Onsen and Kaminoyama Onsen hot springs are also different, so it is recommended to visit each of them (^-^)
The bath area has a high ceiling and is well lit!
It was a very comfortable feeling of freedom (^-^)
Simple construction with no unnecessary things in a good way —
You can keep your mind steady and relax calmly without getting excited by the luxury and glamor of the facilities like sightseeing facilities.
One of the charms of Kogenyu is the wet sauna in the bath area where you can taste an authentic Finnish löyly.
Löyly describes steam that is produced when adding water to the hot sauna rocks in the Finnish language.
Here, visitors can adjust the temperature and humidity by pouring water on the sauna stones to generate steam.
The facility where you can try this is rare even in the prefecture.
I was able to actually experience it!
It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but when you pour water over the stove, hot air and steam spreads in the room along with a sizzling sound. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this sounds delicious!)
I also asked about the efficacy of the wet sauna (^-^)
・Since the humidity is higher than in a typical dry sauna, negative ion effects can be expected.
・Since the sensible temperature is higher, sweating is encouraged with less stress.
・The blood flow of the whole body is improved and the autonomic nerves are activated to relieve stress.
・The functions of sweat glands and sebaceous glands become active, producing good-quality sweat and improving the gloss of the skin.
Of course, the dry or wet method depends on your preference, but the wet method is more effective for body recovery.
Next, I was guided to the pool area in the northwest wing of the facility.
*Because it was under preparation, the photo of the pool is taken from the official website.
The first thing that caught my eye was this circular ice bath.
It seems that circular ones are rare, and the water depth is set to 1.1 meters and the water temperature is set to around 16 degrees Celsius.
Microbubbles are sprayed from the Jacuzzi (water depth 45 cm, water temperature around 39°C) in the center, and when combined with the ice bath, this becomes an efficient alternating bath method (a method of alternating between hot and cold water baths).
There is also a pool with a running water function in the back.
The water temperature is maintained at around 27°C, enabling training using a running water device and low-impact rehabilitation using an underwater bike.
Kiryu’s recommendation is floating.
* Floating tubes are available.
Relax your whole body and just float on the water, and you can rest the muscles that you use unconsciously called “anti-gravity muscles”.
It seems that complete relaxation can provide a highly relaxing effect both physically and mentally.
Somehow, just listening to it made me feel good (≧-≦)
In the relaxation room at the entrance of the pool, you can place a massage table in addition to changing rooms when using the pool.
If a trainer accompanies a team or group, you can do icing and stretching after exercise in one stop.
By the way, this pool facility is basically reserved for one group only!
If you want to use it alone, you can rent it just for you too!
*There is a time limit
This was also born out of the commitment to recovery from the facility.
From Kiryu-san’s talk and the facility’s facilities and services, I was able to feel the spirit of putting users first (^-^)
A studio that can be used for self-care after training.
It can be used by both individuals and groups for general use, and can be used for various purposes such as yoga, pilates, aerial yoga using beams, and trunk training.
There is also a large mirror in front of the studio that can be used for dance lessons.
You can stretch while carefully checking your body’s condition and movement.
Recently, there seems to be a trend to include dance in training, etc., in high school athletic groups, and it is recommended for morning dance as a warm-up exercise.
There is also a wide variety of training goods such as yoga mats and balance balls.
*Rentals are for studio users only.
④ Multi-purpose room
The multi-purpose room is divided into three areas, A, B, and C.
Here are the A and B rooms.
Currently, the partition between the two rooms has been removed and it is mainly used as a rest room.
It can also be used as a presentation, conference, or meeting room using a projector.
Unfortunately, it was snowing that day, so I couldn’t see anything from the window, but on a sunny day, you can see the rich nature of Bodaira (^-^)
C room can be used mainly as a nap room.
Among them, this state-of-the-art oxygen capsule is the most eye-catching.
It’s the one used by first-class athletes and climbers on TV.
It was my first time to see the real thing, but it was quite impressive.
This is the latest model that can pressurize up to 1.5 atm.
I quietly inquired about the price, but kogenyu has never compromised on service and quality!
When I heard the price, I thought my eyes would pop out (laughs).
There are two courses, 30 minutes and 60 minutes, but 60 minutes is recommended if you include the time for pressurization and decompression.
By using an oxygen capsule after promoting blood circulation in hot springs, etc., the dissolved oxygen in the blood is increased, and oxygen and nutrients are delivered to every corner of the capillaries, which is difficult with hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen in the blood) alone.
According to Mr. Kiryu, you can feel the difference in the condition of your body before and after using it (^-^)
※In effect there are individual differences
⑤ Shared space
Common space of the lobby unified with wood grain and black.
You can feel the time passing slowly.
After taking a bath, relax on this sofa while looking at the scenery of Bodaira highlands.
Just imagining it makes me feel happy (≧-≦)
At the reception in the lobby, protein and nutritional supplements, which are indispensable for athletes, are also sold.
It’s difficult to buy on the mountain, so I’m grateful for this (^-^)
This is a protein server in the vending machine area.
We have incorporated the opinions of athletes who use the facility and have a wide range of types.
It’s a rare one, there’s only one in the prefecture, and it seems to be popular with athletes (^-^)
3. Kogenyu admission
*The following is the usage fee at the time of interview.
Please check the official website for the latest information.
|Hot spring & sauna||1 time||11 times|
|Adult||800 yen||8,000 yen|
|Junior high and high school student||600 yen||6,000 yen|
|Elementary school student||400 yen||4,000 yen|
|45 minutes: 850 yen/person||45 minutes: 1,000 yen|
|Studio||60 minutes: 300 yen/person||60 minutes: 400 yen|
|Oxygen capsule||–||30 minutes: 2,000 yen
60 minutes: 3,500 yen
*Please see the official website for other fees includind massages, protein bars, rooms to rent, etc.
*Rates as of February 2021
4. Message to everyone
Mr. Kiryu, who showed us around the facility this time, has sent a message to everyone who sees VISIT YAMAGATA (^-^)
“Since opening, we have taken all possible measures to prevent infectious diseases.
We are very grateful to all users for their cooperation in various situations.
At this facility, all the staff are working to ensure that you can use it safely and with peace of mind under the purpose of “recovery of mind and body”.
In the future, we plan to actively challenge new initiatives so that everyone can be satisfied!
I would appreciate it if you could help me recover the richness of your mind and body.
We’ll be expecting you! ”
5. Basic information
(Final reception 18:00 during the winter season)
* Open if it is a holiday
* Opening hours and days may be different due to COVID-19. Please inquire directly with the facility before visiting.