Yesterday was November 11th, a date the shape of which when written in full (11 11) calls to mind many long and thin objects. As a result, it was most famously claimed by snack brand Glico as pokkī no hi ポッキーの日 "Pocky day" and by Tokyo's Sumida Aquarium as chin anago no hi チンアナゴの日 "spotted garden eel day."

However, the successions of 1s lined up in an orderly manner also evokes "putting things into order," thus the date was also claimed by sauna lifestyle fashion brand TTNE Pro Saunner as totonoe no hi 整えの日, totonoe being a term used among sauna enthusiasts to describe a state of mental and physical wellness (putting "order" into your body and mind) which comes from the ideal sauna experience.


Saunachelin 2020

In 2018, probably inspired by the name of a certain French restaurant guide, TTNE Co., Ltd. established its own ranking system dubbed Saunachelin, with a panel of pro "saunners" (sauna lifestyle experts) determining the best bath and sauna facilities in the land, the results of which they publish every year on November 11th.

So, without further ado, here are the best sauna facilities in Japan according to Saunachelin 2020:

Ranking

  • 1. Rakan no Yu, Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel (Takeo, Saga Pref.) | 御船山楽園ホテル らかんの湯 (佐賀/武雄)
  • 2. Karumaru Ikebukuro (Toshima Ward, Tokyo) | かるまる池袋 (東京/豊島区)
  • 3. Wellbe Fukuoka (Hakata, Fukuoka Pref.) | ウェルビー福岡 (福岡/博多)
  • 4. Yurax (Kumamomoto, Kumamoto Pref.) | 湯らっくす (熊本/熊本)
  • 5. Sky Spa Yokohama (Yokohama, Kanagawa Pref.) | スカイスパ Yokohama(神奈川/横浜)
  • 6. Koganeyu (Sumida Ward, Tokyo) | 黄金湯(東京/墨田区)
  • 7. Ochiairo (Izu, Shizuoka) | おちあいろう (静岡/伊豆)
  • 8. 8HOTEL CHIGASAKI (Chigasaki, Kanagawa Pref.) | 8HOTEL CHIGASAKI (神奈川/茅ヶ崎)
  • 9. Hokkaido Hotel (Obihiro, Hokkaido Pref.) | 北海道ホテル(北海道/帯広)
  • 10. ume, sauna (Yamazoe Village, Nara Pref.) | ume,sauna (奈良/山添村)
  • 11. HOTEL & SPA Park OGOSE (Irima, Saitama Pref.) | HOTEL & SPA Park OGOSE (埼玉/入間)
  • 7, 8 and 9 are owned by TTNE Co., Ltd.

For the second year in a row, the top position went to Rakan no Yu in Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel 御船山楽園ホテル らかんの湯, located in Takeo, Saga Prefecture. This year, Rakan no Yu has completely renovated their women's bath facilities, implementing a new design in the sauna room which makes ample use of natural light, a cold water bath using water from nearby Takeo Onsen, a new airbath space and a coffee lounge. It's a breath of fresh air in the Japanese sauna market.

In addition, Yurax 湯らっくす in Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture and Sky Spa Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture were recognized for the third time in a row since Saunachelin 2018, earning them a place in the "Sauna Hall of Fame," newly established this year by TTNE Co., Ltd.

Another noteworthy entry is Koganeyu 黄金湯 in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, the first time for a public bath facility to be recognized in Saunachelin. Koganeyu has undergone a large-scale renovation due to aging, and their efforts have paid off. Their new Finnish Löyly saunas (both automatic and self-operated) are drawing in a younger generation of customers.


1. Rakan no Yu, Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel (Takeo, Saga Pref.)

2. Karumaru Ikebukuro (Toshima Ward, Tokyo)

3. Wellbe Fukuoka (Hakata, Fukuoka Pref.)

4. Yurax (Kumamomoto, Kumamoto Pref.)

5. Sky Spa Yokohama (Yokohama, Kanagawa Pref.)

6. Koganeyu (Sumida Ward, Tokyo)


Saunner of the Year 2020

In addition to Saunachelin, TTNE Co., Ltd. launched a "Saunner of the Year" award in 2018 which recognizes 11 people who not only sweat in the sauna, but also sweat in their efforts to promote the sauna lifestyle and contribute in various ways to raising awareness on the benefits and appeal of saunas.

This year, Shingo Fujimori, the comic foil to straight man Atsuhiko Nakata in the comic duo Oriental Radio, has won the award for the first time. Through his regular TV show 『オリエンタルラジオ藤森慎吾の「サウナ学」』 ("Oriental Radio Shingo Fujimori's Sauna Studies") and other TV and YouTube appearances, he continues to convey the charms of saunas to a broad range of people.

JAL's サ旅 Sa Tabi was also recognized this year. Sa is the first syllable in the Japanese word for sauna, and tabi meaning travel. Sa Tabi introduces attractive sauna facilities and proposes travel plans for saunas all over the country.

Other awardees include sauna-loving gravure model Miyako Sono 園都 ...

...J-pop band DISH//, whose single and music video "Sauna Song" came out in March 2020...

and seven other entries. Here is the complete list:

Saunner of the Year 2020

  • Shingo Fujimori (TV talent) | 藤森慎吾(タレント)
  • Miyako Sono (gravure idol) | 園都(グラビアアイドル)
  • Misato Shimizu (actress) | 清水みさと(女優)
  • Kengo Tokusashi (composer) | とくさしけんご(作曲家)
  • DISH// "SAUNA SONG" (song)
  • Noda Klaxonbebe (sauna builder) | 野田クラクションべべー(サウナビルダー)
  • Netsuko Gotoh (aufgießer) | 五塔熱子(アウフギーサー)
  • サウナを愛でたい Sauna wo medetai (We love saunas) (TV show)
  • &sauna (TV show)
  • Saunology (blog)
  • JAL Sa Tabi (corporate project) | JAL「サ旅」(企業企画)

For all the details, visit Saunachelin.com


So, who will make the list in 2021? Seeing what a great job they did at promoting Japanese public baths in their latest video, we think the guys at muscular performance group ALL OUT have a chance.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.