Okinawa Hai


This week we have a question from a reader about the Chu-La spa:

I was wondering if anyone had any info on the Chu-La spa.  I think it is a bath house?  I wanted to try it out but I was curious about what they had there, the price, etc. Before we PCS’ed here in October we were on mainland Japan for 4 years.  I got the chance to go to a Japanese bath house (I called it the “naked baths”).  It wasn’t a natural “hot spring” but just a lot of relaxing and soaking in different baths….while totally naked. After the
initial nakedness shock wore off it was really enjoyable and very relaxing!  I haven’t heard of anything here…or anything spa-like?  Any one know of anything remotely relaxing and spa-esque I would greatly appreciate it!

Chula-U is a fun and relaxing place to go as families, couples and friends!!!  There are a lot of spas all over Okinawa and Chula-U is just a one of them, so I will mention some of them that I know later in this blog.

I’m sure people will have helpful comments about this place or other places, so make sure to come back and read the comments as well.

Chula-U is to me a casual resort swimming pool spa.  You wear swim suit to the outside pool, so no nakedness except for the bath areas which are separated from outside with the wall and women can only go into the women’s bath.  It’s no Club Med with Europeans.  Sorry, boys.  I’ve never checked, but I’m sure there is a bath area for men as well.  It is located right next to the Beach Tower Hotel in the American village.

As you walk into Chula-U, you see this very nice lobby with high ceiling which sort of reminds me of the public bath that I used to go with my grand-parents when I was little.  You put your shoes in a cupboard to your left and pay the fee at the reception.  You receive a towel and a key to your locker and then you proceed to the changing room.

If you are a virgin to a Japanese public bath, please don’t flip if you see naked people walking in front of you.  Yeah, it might be a little bit awkward at first, but no big deal.  I think.

Chula-U’s swimming pools have natural spring water that has good health effects such as regaining energy.  Each pool has water with different temperatures.  I remember that one swimming pool has water like a regular swimming pool and it would be a bit too cold for winter.  There is a very nice jacuzzi if you walk up the stairs from the swimming pool.  The sun set would be gorgeous and I imagine that it would be very romantic.  Don’t get too excited about this one, because it won’t as there will be kids splashing water and people coming in and out of the jacuzzi.  It’s popular.  I took my sister to Chula-U when she was in town and we went to the jacuzzi.  There were a couple, a family and us.  The family left and it felt like we should’ve left, too, but it felt so good that we stayed.  Just a little more.  It was a bit…. awkward, so we left.

What I love about this place is that after I relax sitting in hot spring, I can take a bath.  I know that it’s weird  to get naked and use a public bath/shower with no partition, but it feels wonderful to shower afterwards.

The very first time I went to the Chula-U, I was pregnant, but I didn’t know yet.  I went there with two pregnant friends and one of them told me later of the risks for pregnant women to be in hot water.  I called the Chula-U to ask about this, and as you can imagine, they did not say that it was safe.  I researched a lot online about this and I was relieved to find out that it would be fine for a pregnant woman to be in warm water as long as she was not feeling uncomfortable.  Then I recalled that when I was pregnant with my first child, I took a hot bath every single day after 33rd week till the birth.  My child is fine.

The second time I went to the Chula-U was with my sister and I was 5-month pregnant with my second child.  I was worried that I would be stopped to go in since it was quite obvious that I was pregnant, but I wasn’t.  If you look like you’re going to pop, you might be stopped.  I was careful not to get too warm.  I felt good afterward and loved it.  Now the baby is 4 months old and she’s fine.  If you think that you would worry, don’t go to be on the safe side.  I am from Japan and I know that Japanese pregnant women take a bath during their pregnancy for hundreds of years and I’ve never heard of any birth defect due to that, so I felt comfortable going during my pregnancy, but that’s just me.

Terme Villa Chula-U

Hours: 10:00~22:00 (No entry after 21:00)

Fee: 1,200 yen per adult and 800 yen for children. Toddler price is still 300 yen. If you want to use a towel there is an additional charge, but you are permitted to bring and use your own if you don’t want to pay.

The prices include body soap, shampoo, conditioner, q-tips, razors, tooth brushes, lotion, hair brush, and face wash.

Phone: 098-926-2611



Address: 2 Chome Mihama, Chatan, Nakagami District, Okinawa

GPS Coordinates: 26.3166777, 127.75924529

From Lester’s main gate, drive straight all the way to the end of the street and the Chula-U will be at the end on the left side.  Plenty of parking space is available.  Your right will be the Beach Tower Hotel.

Other Spas

Kanna Thalasso
Kanna Thalasso is located in Ginoza.  It is located not so far from Camp Hansen.  I have never been there myself, but I’ve taken our house guests there and they liked it.  There are different pools with the ocean water and the thalasso therapy is believed to cure some illnesses.  For more detailed explanation about thalasso therapy, here’s the Wikipedia definition.

If you have been to Kanna Thalasso, please post your comments about this place!

Ganbanyoku – Hot stone bath
This is quite relaxing.  Some people might not like it, but I thought that it was fun.
If you would like to learn more about ganbanyoku, click here for the explanation and click here for pictures.  I didn’t realize that ganbanyoku is only for women…  I’m sorry about that, guys.  I wonder if there are places where men can go as well.

I’ve only been to ganbanyoku place called Ishino Fushigi in Okinawa City.

Directions to Ishino Fushigi
From Kadena Gate 2, turn LEFT at the first stop light and get onto 85 (some people know this road as 23).  Go all the way to the junction under a pedestrian’s overpass to turn onto 85 (85 is a loop).  If you pass this, you will end up at the Gate 3.  Cross the junction with Route 329.  You’ll also pass Coop on your right and soon after that, you will find the blue ganbanyoku building “Ishono Fushigi” on your right.  I think that it is on the first floor of an apartment building.  Parking is behind the building and it’s a bit tricky to find it.


  1. I took my children this afternoon. Just FYI, the price is now 1,200 yen per adult and 800 yen for children. Toddler price is still 300 yen. If you want to use a towel there is an additional charge, but you are permitted to bring and use your own if you don’t want to pay.

  2. Hours: 10:00~22:00 (No entry after 21:00)

    Fee (From the left) Adult Child Toddler (1-3 Y) Senior citizen
    Weekday(10:00~18:00) ¥1,000 ¥700 ¥300 ¥1,000
    Weekday(18:00~22:00) ¥1,300 ¥700 ¥300 ¥1,000
    Sat. Sun. & Holidays (10:00~22:00) ¥1,300 ¥700 ¥300 ¥1,000

    The prices include body soap, shampoo, conditioner, q-tips, razors, tooth brushes, lotion, hair brush, and face wash.

    Phone: 098-926-2611

    From Lester’s main gate, drive straight all the way to the end of the street and the Chula-U will be at the end on the left side. Plenty of parking space is available. Your right will be the Beach Tower Hotel.

  3. Hi!
    We are from Hong Kong. My husband and I are spending our Christmas holidays in Okinawa. Your write up about Chula-u and Kanna-Thalasso is very helpful. We will definitely visit them.
    Maybe this time I can convince my husband to try “Dr. Fish” which he wouldn’t dare when we were in Koh Samui earlier this year.
    Thank you soooo much!
    We are looking forward to a great time there.

  4. I wanted to say my first visit to Chulu-u bath was really nice we stayed outside in the heated pool it was very clean and very warm even though the weather wasnt all that great
    We were not too sure about having our feet being surrounded by doctor fish but then we tried it and it tickled alot but then you get used to it
    I googled doctor fish online and found out that they can be helpful to various Skin Disorders, including Eczema, Psoriasis and Dermatitis its pretty amazing to know.

  5. I’ve been to Kanna Thalasso twice and really enjoy it. The cost for the use of the basic facilities is 2,500 Yen per person. You must wear a swim cap at this spa and they also have signs posted that people with tattoos are prohibited from using the facilities. I think if you have them covered up you are fine though. It’s a bit more pricey than Chula-U, but well worth it if you make a day of it which can be very easy to do if you make it a “girl’s outing”. If you make an appointment for any additional spa treatments you can receive half off the price for the basic spa facilities for that day. I highly reccomend checking the place out.

  6. Chula-U is one of me and hubby’s favorite places to spend the day. We love that it’s SO CHEAP and you can stay as long as you want. We often will go on a Saturday morning and spend several hours in the pools, then go nap in the tatami room before hopping back in for one last dip and then a bath. They also have an outside entrance to Sunset Beach, which is nice if we feel like swimming in the ocean for a bit. They will hold your locker key for 45 minutes if you want to leave and get some food.

    It CAN be romantic, if you go after about 7. It’s much quieter and more peaceful at that time, and fewer kids around. It’s also more private in the winter, especially in the evenings.

    Love love LOVE Chula-U.

  7. Hi Heidi,
    We bring our 5 month old all the time. he hasn’t been in the big pool yet, but loves the warm pools. I just make sure that he has on a swimrz diaper on as well as a bathing suit or onesie before getting into the water. hope you guys have a great time! Chula-U’s one of our favorite family spots.

  8. Chula U is definitely one of our favorite spots to visit with the kids. They really enjoy the “middle” pool that’s not too deep for them and think it’s neat to listen to the music that’s playing from underwater speakers. We often get $2 off each ticket by their ad in Okinawa Living and it’s also nice that they do the Dr. Fish treatment now for free. Thanks for posting, Kaho!

  9. So I just totally panicked realizing that it’s already 2pm there (only Thursday at 10pm here in Cali) and raced to the computer to put up the post that Julia sent me about a cool place and here is this lovely info from Kaho about a place I have totally wondered about myself! YIPEE! And Kelly, I didn’t know they had those fish — I’ve been wanting to try that myself!

    Thanks, Kaho — will save Julia’s post til next week!! (And will post something on the Space-A thread asap.)

  10. I have only been to the Chula-U spa, but I thought it was real nice. We went for the fish that eat the dead skin off your feet. 🙂 That was something I wanted to experience before we left. It tickled a little, but I thought it was neat. Two things I remember about the spa was that you had to pay for a towel and the outside pool was heated during the winter. The outside pool is really pretty.

    Also, you can buy a pass on base cheaper than at the actual spa. I met a couple while I was there that spent the day there for their anniversary and they said they bought the tickets at the travel place on Foster and it was cheaper. The lady said the body massage was great and I am pretty sure the price was really cheap. I don’t remember how much, but I know it was much cheaper than in the states.