My Experience at the Turkish Bath in San Francisco


First, a quote:

Grit is: doing the mundane, repeatedly, day after day, until you find success…Unknown.

As everyone knows, I’ve had a busy month or so.  Back on April 4th, we packed our bags, our cars, our fish, and the last of our items, and left the best state in the nation, Arizona, hands down- for Seattle, WA.  Read about our last week or so in Arizona here.  We ventured due west from Phoenix, fought our way thru LA, stayed with some family in Westlake Village, continued on north, had a great night in San Fran (along with a stop at the baths, and a surprise visit from a best friend, who, coincidentally was in town.  We continued our way north, stopped over in Medford, and, finally, arrived in Seattle.

I’ll write more about the road trip later, but you can brush up on the backstory here.

Anyhow- if you’ve read our material for a bit, you are well aware of my fascination, my need really, for the steam room.  I knew we would be passing thru San Francisco, and I knew they have their fair share of steam rooms and bath house facilities, and, all joking aside, I was very excited to give it a try.

Some context: We decided to stay downtown, it was a rather gritty section of town, west of City Hall, not yet in the Tenderloin District, but kind of, and on the border of Japan Town and Koreatown (if memory serves correct).  Definitely gritty, but I felt safe.  Bums on the street, expensive overnight parking, scalding hot shower- not cold, but hot, and overall, it was what we needed.  The hotel, which I already forgot the name of, was a C+ lets say.

Onto the Turkish Baths.  I sold the experience to Brooke this way: I arranged an hourlong neo natal massage- because who doesn’t like getting massages, and, exponentially compound that statement when you are pregnant, and during her massage, I would hit the bath house.

Now- the place we went to was:

Kabuki Springs & Spa

Japantown, Lower Pacific Heights

1750 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94115

Phone number(415) 922-6000

And it was totally awesome.  Japanese vibe when you walk in.  Welcoming, calm, organized, clear.  We were welcomed, Brooke was ushered off to her area, and I hit the men’s locker room.

Come to find out, being in a major city where “bathing” (you gotta get the terminology down) is quite common- they alternate “Men’s Days” with “Women’s Days”- meaning of course- Monday is for guys, Tues is women, and so on.

The locker room was extremely clean, towels, flip flops, and locker keys are provided, as is tea, water, hot rocks, lemons, etc.

Not really knowing the protocol, I wore gym shorts.  Every other man was naked.

At first, being early in the day, on a week day, it was vacant.  Just me and one other guy.

Entering the facility, there were showers on the right, private showers straight ahead, steam room on the far left, sauna towards the back, and the hot and cold tubs in the middle.  Chairs to rest and lie down on throughout as well.

I gave myself about an hour.

First, I showered.

Then, went to the sauna.  I sat here and tried to relax, but it was not as hot as I was used to.  Spent five or ten mins here, then jumped in the hot tub.

Then to my bread and butter- the steam room.  Here, instant relaxation.  The steam is on continuously.  No letup.  So much so that you have to leave, frequently.  Hydrate, cool down, and back at it.

Although I had put some research into it, I was unsure of what sequence I should do.

Hot tub, sauna, steam, shower?

Hot tub, sauna, shower, steam?


What I settled on was hanging out in the steam room- really doing as much as I could handle- followed by an instant, total immersion plunge in the cold tub- and let me tell you- that thing was cold.  COLD.  I’d be surprised if I lasted 10 seconds.  Then, I got right in the hot tub.

Repeated that twice.  Three times.  Folks- that gets your skin tingly.  Like pin needles are pricking your skin, in a good way.  The juxtaposition of hot vs. cold, coupled with the mental engagement and fortitude that is required- its not comfortable, but then it becomes really comfortable.

Kind of like taking a long, enjoyable, hot shower- and then at the very end turning the water all the way to ice cold, and staying under for as long as you can handle.

Overall- an amazing experience.  And it was only something like $20 for unlimited use.  I could have stayed all day I suppose.

Do yourself a favor- check out a Turkish Bath experience.  I have to imagine they are available in most major metro cities.

Major relaxation, and a major reset to your body.  Also- health benefits as well.

Here is the exact one I went to in San Fran:

Kabuki Springs



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