• Shona McCarthy

Bathe Like a Samurai: Fuboukaku, Miyagi Prefecture

Updated: Mar 16

In many places, lockdowns are still a problem. So I still don't recommend going out anymore than you must. But when Covid-19 ceases to be a problem, you may wish to consider visiting Fuboukaku, one of the most famous Onsen of Japan. There are many, many onsen in Japan. But what is it that makes Fuboukaku so special? Well, besides the consistent history of good reviews it has behind it, the beautiful architecture and the amazing food, it was once frequented by one of the most famous Samurai warlords of Japanese history; Masamune Date. Ordinarily this wouldn't be so exciting to a woman such as myself. But Masamune Date was reimagined as one of the lead characters in Ikemen Sengoku; a romance based phone game that is very popular. He's one of the more popular love interests in the game. So, many women who have played that game might find the idea of being somewhere where the real Date had been a little thrilling. Here is an online interview of Masamune Date as a Vtuber that I found particularly enjoyable. They managed to get the same seiyu who played Date in the game to be in the video! (They also got the seiyu of one of the other love interests in the game, but I didn't get so excited about him.)

But as I look at the gables and walls of the onsen I find myself thinking that it would be a romantic location for anyone to spend time in. The sense of history and beauty seems to emanate silently from the walls, seeping out like a siren calling from a history forgotten. With or without the history behind it, Fuboukaku would be delightful to visit.

Photos of the interior reveal that the insides have been carefully maintained, retaining that sense of high art, culture and historicity. I was unable to learn whether or not Masamune Date or any of his relatives had ever worn that suit of samurai armour. But it's enjoyable to know that a visit might include being able to get a closer look at the details of the suit.

As I mentioned, the food, too, is absolutely beautiful. It is in a traditional style called kaiseki ryori, which is Japan's highest form of traditional cuisine. It is served in your room, and the reviews say that all of it is absolutely resplendent.

The communal bath itself seems delightfully understated compared to the rest of the building. The steam in these images reveals the heat of the water, which has been made naturally hot due to the volcanic nature of Japan's geography.

The reviews reveal that one can also go for a tour around the more historic parts of the grounds, with some buildings being older than others, and some guest rooms being remodelled out of old store rooms. It seems that Fuboukaku is beautiful all year round, so any time would be a good time to visit. Going off-season would likely mean the saving of some money.

(Images in this post were borrowed from

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