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What's cooking in the spa bath?

For those who just can't satisfy their appetite for noodles, a Japanese spa is offering patrons the chance to relax in a tub filled with ramen.

19 Jul 2007

Ramen noodles are a staple of the Japanese diet as much as sushi and tempura. The spa, which specializes in amusement baths that include dips in chocolate, wine and sake, decided the popular dish should be added to the menu.

Because of health regulations, the Yunessan spa in Japan's hot spring town of Hakone does not use edible noodles.

Instead, noodle-shaped spa treatments are placed in bath water that contains elements from pork broth supplied by a nearby noodle shop.

Spa officials say taking a dip in the noodle bath is good for health as ingredients in the broth such as pepper collagen help improve the bather's metabolism and cleanse the skin.

"Lately, people are very concerned about having beautiful skin and they know the effect of collagen, which is contained in our pork-based broth," said noodle shop owner Ichiro Furuya, who has helped the spa in creating this bath.

"At this bath, everybody can have fun and take advantage of the healthy elements of ramen noodles."

The Japanese spa resort has offered dozens of other baths, including at one point a curry dip. A ticket that allows access to all baths costs about 3 500 yen, although not all were impressed.

"Actually, I like eating noodles better than bathing in them," said five-year-old Madoka Kenmochi, after taking a dip in the brown-coloured hot water.

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