Bowenfels, on the western outskirts of Lithgow, in New South Wales, is the home to the Japanese Bath House, which also has been referred as the Blue Mountains Sparadise. Offering panoramic and dramatic views of Lake Lyell and beautiful landscaping, the Bath House provides an authentic onsen experience in an unlikely setting.
You may be wondering what an onsen is all about? Onsen means “hot springs,” but the word means so much more than that—an onsen is a tradition, cleansing and purification, a ritual, and an experience. At Japanese Bath House, the goal is an “endeavor to promote Ikigai (生き甲斐),” which means “finding happiness through the pursuit of your reason for being.”
“Onsen” – Natural Hot Springs
The Japanese Bath House has multiple indoor and outdoor bathing areas and the option for single hot tubs under pergolas. The therapeutic mineral-enriched water that flows here comes from springs 300 meters (984 feet) below the earth’s surface and is heated by a volcanic hot rock system.
A tour of the area reveals a large outdoor 40°C (104ºF) hot spring pool, surrounded by a reflexology footpath, a Japanese stone garden, and a gazebo, all to promote feelings of serenity and create moments for reflection. The heated indoor pools are a bit cooler at 38ºC (100.7ºF). There is a cold plunge pool for a refreshing break from the heat, meditative lounges, and a herbal steam room.
As is the tradition in Japanese ritual bathing, there are guidelines for your comfort and the comfort of those around you; read about the common rules for bathing and the history of Japanese onset.
Other Amenities at the Bath House
There are private buros (baths) with stunning views of the natural beauty of the area and the lake; you can choose a standard buro experience or from several packages that offer massage and other lovely indulgences.
You can explore other treatment options from an Aromatherapy Facial Sessions to an Asian Blend Massage; all packages include a 3-hour public bath session along with a host of other treats.
There is a Tea Room with an extensive tea selection, light snacks, and meals that complement your onsen experience. The Bath House also offers on-site lodging for those wishing to extend their stay in this oasis of comfort.
From South Bowenfels on A32 or the Great Western Highway, head southwest to Magpie Hollow Road, turn right and drive for 2 km (1.25 miles), take a slight right onto Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive, and continue for 2.6 km (1.50 miles) take a sharp left, and the Japanese Bath House will be on the right.
Address: 259 Sir Thomas Mitchell Dr, South Bowenfels, NSW 2790, Australia
Phone: 61 2 6352 3122
Season: Open year-round