We Buried Ourselves in Hot Sand | Japanese Beauty Rituals

Ibusuki Sand Baths 指宿砂むし

If someone told me that I should voluntarily have myself buried in hot sand, I would laugh at them and quickly decline.

It goes to show a bit of context goes a long way and so did we. We travelled to Japan and took time exploring Kyushu. While there we visited the town of Ibusuki, which is known for its Hot Sand Baths. In Japanese this is called suna-mushi.

In this case, they are mostly part of a spa experience. What makes this special is the quality and temperature of the sand. The sand is heated through geothermal energy and is typically darker due to its vicinity to volcanoes and volcanic ash. This dark sand is loaded with minerals.

  • Benefits

    • As a beauty treatment, suna-mushi has moisturizing and anti-aging benefits due to the high nutrient content of the sand, particularly from calcium and metasilicic acid. 

    • The steam from the sand helps to improve blood circulation and cardiac output, which basically means it helps to improve your heart health. All you need to do is relax and inhale!

    • Heat from the sand encourages your body to sweat, helping you to rid you body of toxins. 

  • Yukata - why to wear this and what to wear under it?

    • Is a more casual form of a kimono, typically made of a thinner cotton fabric and worn in the summer. They are often available in hotels, spas, onsen, and ryokans. 

    • When you visit the spa they recommend that you only wear the yukata and nothing else for the sand bath. This might work for men, but for women I definitely recommend wearing thin underwear and if you have a fuller bust a very thin, wireless bralette. (view the video and you see why!)

  • How long to stay in the sand?

    • You can stay in the sand as long as you want, but they recommend 10 minutes to start. We stayed longer because it felt amazing, almost like a warm hug. If you ever stay to feel dizzy or too hot, you should get out of the sand.

  • Onsen - hot spring pools

    • After you rinse the sand from your body in freshwater showers you then enter an Onsen where you can soak as long as you want in geothermal-heated hot spring pools.


Check out our video where we chronicled our first sand bath.

This experience had me questioning how this form of relaxation became such a huge aspect of Asian culture, but is much less accessible in America? Comment below and let us know if this form of self-care is popular where you are from?!?!