Hot Steam, Hot Baths, Hot Men

Evan Kaminsky
Authored by
Evan Kaminsky

March 29, 2011
5:23 p.m.


After a very long few months dealing with Holidays, work, travel, socializing and the gym, I finally had the time to do one of my favorite activities (Not my first favorite…that I can fit in!). I treated myself to a day of relaxation, rejuvination and well being.

Last Thursday, I woke up feeling very sore and worn out from my busy schedule. I decided to treat myself to a day at Kabuki Hot Springs in San Francisco. For those who don’t know, Kabuki operates In the great tradition of Japanese public baths, Kabuki Springs & Spa is a peaceful sanctuary devoted to nurturing harmony and relaxation through the healing powers of water and therapeutic touch. Located in San Francisco’s vibrant Japantown, Kabuki Springs & Spa features a traditional Japanese-style communal bath and offers an extensive menu of wellness-focused spa services in a warm, inviting Pan-Asian setting.

Although I really would have loved to get a massage while I was there, it really wasn’t in my budget. It costs $22 during the week for the communal baths, but if you have a spa treatment first, the use of the baths is only $15. Even without having a spa treatment, the experience is wonderful.

Kabuki Springs & Spa is San Francisco’s only Japanese style spa to offer communal bathing facilities. Drawing elements from the tradition of Japanese public baths, this beautifully designed space transports guests away to a tranquil retreat. Kabuki’s bathing facilities include individual bathing areas with traditional Japanese seated baths and standing Western-style showers, a hot pool, and a cold plunge. Additionally, there is a sauna, and steam room. You are also welcome to enjoy the complimentary soothing bath products and body polishing sea salts.

The communal baths are open to women only on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and are open to men only on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays are co-ed; bathing suits are required. A valid photo I.D. is required to use the baths.

My experience went something like this:

I entered Kabuki’s front door  and was greated with a whisper at the tranquil reception desk. I paid my entrance fee and left my I.D. as a deposit for my locker key. Next, I was walked by a staff member to the locker room and lounge. To the left was a seating area where patrons sit while waiting for their spa service appointment to begin. To the right were the lockers and towels. After finding my locker, I undressed, stored my valuables in the safe inside the locker, locked up, wrapped the towel around my waist and was on my way. On the way to the communal baths is a room set up with sinks, facial cleansers, lotions, combs and q-tips. There is a small bathroom adjacent. From this room you enter into the baths.

My first stop was the shower. The showers are set up with a natural citrus bath gel and Green Tea and Lemongrass shampoo and conditioner. It was a very refreshing, smelled wonderful and felt even better. My next stop was to the hot pool. It is a shallow pool with hot mineral spring water that soothes and relaxes the muscles. At one point I got out of the bath to get a drink of water. They have a table set up with ice, cups of salt, cold towels and three types of water, 1 regular, 1 with mint and one with cucumber. Cucumber water is my favorite. I grabbed my water and went back to the bath to soak away my troubles. From that vantage point I could see the entire room and there was lots to look at. Kabuki is definately not a place for sex, but since everyone is naked you at least have something nice to look at.

Once I felt I’d soaked sufficiently, I went back to the table and grabbed a cup of salt and a cold towel and headed into the steam room. The cold towel is there to help keep you from overheating, but the salt is the yummy part. While sitting in the steam, your pores open up allowing toxins to leave the body. The use of salt does two different things. First, the salt helps to draw out those impurities. Second, it works as a great exfolliator. I took small amounts of salt into my hands and began to rub it on my feet and legs. I slowly worked my way up to my torso and arms. If you are lucky, somone will offer to rub the salt on your back for you, if not, it can be awkward doing it yourself, but it is possible. Although the salt sounds messy, it actually dissolves in the steam, leaving very little residue.

When the steam got to be too much for me, I decided to take a rest. I grabbed a cup of green tea and proceeded over to a slatted bench to lay down. Oddly enough, the hard Teak wood is very comfortable. I don’t know how long I laid there, but I did sleep for a while. When I woke up, I did another round, hot pool, steam room etc, but this time, after leaving the steam room I decided to challenge myself and dunk in the cold plunge. Damn that was cold, but felt good after all of that heat.

To end my day, I grabbed another cup of salt and headed over to the sit baths. At the sit baths there is a handheld shower, a metal bowl and a wooden stool. I sat down on the stool and then mixed some salt with the shower gel to exfolliate one more time. I filled the bowl with warm water and then dumped it over my head to rinse off. Next I shampooed and conditioned my hair and cleansed my body and finished off by rinsing with the hand held shower. I was very relaxed at this point so I made my way back into the first room with the sinks.

I used their face cleanser to wash my face then used their toner. I then hydrated my body and face with their delicious Cucumber Body Lotion. I combed my hair and went back to my locker to get dressed.

My experience that day really made a difference in the rest of my week. I felt calm, relaxed and collected with a sense of peace. I hope to go again next week!

Kabuki Springs and Spa is located at 1750 Geary Blvd. (@Fillmore) in San Francisco
415.922.6005 FAX.
Open daily 10am – 9:45pm

Open daily 10am-6pm
Press #2

You can also visit their website at


Treat yourself to peace of mind and body. You’ll love it!




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