If you’ve ever wanted to experience Japan without taking a flight to the Asian country, Joya Onsen is your answer. This newly opened establishment offers an immersive experience into Japanese culture and cuisine through the timeless tradition of the onsen (hot spring) experience.
Located a short walk away from Joo Koon MRT station, this onsen’s remote location adds to the experience, where one is encouraged to enjoy the silence and sip on a cup of Japanese tea.
During Native’s first peek into this new onsen destination in Singapore, we were surprisingly taken aback by the sheer amount of attention to detail. It felt as if we were stepping into an actual onsen in Japan, with tatami flooring and staff wearing traditional Japanese attire. The onsen’s in-house cafe is the first thing that greets visitors when they arrive at the onsen, revealing an intricately designed food-and-drink spot.
The onsen itself is designed to resemble a traditional Japanese bathhouse, with architecture reminiscent of those found in Japan. Divided into two sections – the public onsen and the private onsen – visitors can choose which one they prefer to visit.
The public onsen (segregated by gender) features a shared onsen space, complete with an ice bath and a sauna (do note that due to the current pandemic restrictions, the ice bath and sauna are unavailable).
A large shidare-yanagi tree towers over the onsen, giving the baths an almost ethereal look, coupled with traditional Japanese decorations such as torō lantern structures and pebbled terrain adorning the onsen’s perimeter.
For a more intimate experience, the private onsen entitles you to a private onsen bath accentuated by a mini waterfall and a sauna. Take a dip in the invigorating hot spring waters and soak your stresses away with a companion during the hour-and-a-half session.
The private onsen is currently limited to two people per booking, and subject to change with the current pandemic restrictions. Even if only a single person was allowed, we wouldn’t complain because that’s how relaxing the experience was – there is just no time to feel lonely here when you’re busy resting and rejuvenating.
Making Japanese culture accessible is one of Joya Onsen’s main draws, as friendly staff will explain onsen bath etiquette to visitors and tell them more about the cultural significance of the onsen.
Snap a picture for the ‘gram at the Insta-worthy Japanese garden setup, where visitors can walk through an artificial tree grove lined with a stone path, which opens into an area featuring an intricately designed torō lantern. To fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture, guests will be able to pick a Japanese traditional outfit ( a yukata or jinbei) to wear throughout their experience, except in the onsen. Don’t be intimidated by the many layers of the yukata or jinbei, as the friendly onsen staff will guide you through the process.
After your onsen experience, and while you’re still donning a jinbei or yukata, head out to the onsen’s cafe where you can enjoy a cup of refreshing tea. Joya Onsen’s in-house food-and-drink spot serves up Japanese treats such as ramen, sushi, mochi, and other flavourful desserts at an affordable price.
Intentionally designed to replicate a Japanese bathhouse dining area, the low chairs, tables, and wooden walls will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time – or just across the South China Sea to an actual onsen in Japan.
Joya Onsen might be the newest onsen to open in Singapore, but its dedication to bringing the Japanese cultural experience to the average Singaporean truly sets it apart from its counterparts. We’re excited to see what Joya Onsen has in store down the road, and if you’ve got a free afternoon, there’s no better place to spend it than in this tranquil oasis.
Address: 511 Upper Jurong Road, S638366
Opening Hours: Monday from 11am–11.30pm, and Tuesday–Sunday from 11am–11pm
Contact: 8847 2081
This article is in partnership with Joya Onsen.