HAKONE, Japan (AFP) - The Japanese love their noodles so much that some of them are literally ready to dive in to their bowl of ramen.
A Japanese spa on Saturday opened special baths meant to resemble ramen, complete with bath salt shaped like the dangling delicacy, a giant pair of chopsticks overhead and water the aroma of pepper.
"The aroma of pepper is said to have the effects of refreshing your mind, warming your burned-out heart and inflaming your passion," explained a statement by spa complexKowakien Yunessun in Hakone, one of Japan's most popular resorts.
Ramen lovers in bathing suits turned into ingredients in the broth, jumping into the three tubs shaped like ramen bowls underneath noodle decorations hanging over their heads.
"Customers may have been puzzled first, but I think they enjoyed it ... because the hot water smells good, like pepper," said Yusuke Sato, a spa employee who poured in the noodle-looking salt.
Hakone Kowakien Yunessun has offered a variety of creative baths including some filled with wine and coffee. Last year it came up with one resembling curry.
"I want to think of more ideas that surprise people," Sato said.