a day at kabuki springs
You guys. This post is incredibly difficult to write. I know this blog is all about illuminating the underground and letting you know about places you would otherwise never hear about. However, sometimes there are things and places that I want to keep to myself because they are just that amazing and I don’t want to share them with anyone else.
Kabuki Springs is one of those places.
I’m actually surprised that more people don’t know about this place. Kabuki Springs is the only Japanese inspired communal bathhouse, or Sento, in San Francisco. Kabuki Springs doubles as a full scale spa where you can indulge in facials, massages, and body treatments. Or you can do what the savvy person seeking pampering does and pay the low $22 fee to access the communal facilities. Amenities include a warm soaking pool, cold pool, steam room, sauna, and showers. And the best part? The $22 entrance fee affords you unlimited time in the baths. That’s right. You can soak, steam, and relax as long as you want (or at least as long as you can stand it).
I admit, I’m a regular. So yesterday when my housemate Nadya (who is one of the incredibly talented founders behind Coilhouse, shoutout!) texted me asking if I wanted to go to a spa for some relaxation, I immediately knew that I had to introduce her to the serenity of Kabuki.
It was perfect that we just happened to both want to unwind on a Wednesday, since that was one of three days (the others are Fridays and Sundays) set aside for women to have free reign over the communal baths. So we hopped into a cab and jetted from our SoMa homestead to Japantown.
It can be incredibly difficult to find Kabuki Springs unless you are accompanied by someone who has been there before. Occasionally there is a sandwich sign outside with their logo on it. Usually though, the nondescript entrance blends into the rest of the unremarkable and stark concrete construction of the Japantown Center. I would give you the exact address and tips on finding the entrance, but I still don’t really want people to find this place, remember? Besides, it’s part of the fun.
The setup is pretty simple. From 10am to 10pm anyone is welcome to use the communal baths after paying the $22 and leaving a photo ID as collateral. If the baths are at capacity, you can always skip over to any one of the restaurants in the Japan Center and grab a bite to eat while you wait for a spot to open up. The best times to go are in the middle of the day, and the baths tend to be busiest around 5:30pm -7pm (because a post-workday soak sounds pretty perfect to all the professional types toiling away in Embarcadero high rises). The communal baths are open exclusively to men on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while it is women exclusive on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tuesdays are a coed day, but bathing suits are required.
Use this information wisely. Because if I show up on another random Wednesday night and have to wait because all y’all read this post and jumped on the Kabuki bandwagon, I will be pissed. I’ll also totally figure out how to fashion a weapon out of the complimentary salt scrub and lemon wedges they provide. You’ve been warned.