There’s a reason why the words ‘spa’ and ‘kids’ are rarely seen in the same sentence; spas are places where you go to relax – and to escape the kids!
Sweden, however, has a far more progressive attitude to children and families than many countries so it’s no surprise that Stockholm is also home to a family-friendly spa.
Yasuragi Kids is a Japanese-inspired spa that welcomes children during the summer months and, as I discovered, is absolute heaven.
Post by Victoria. Updated for 2020.
Yasuragi, meaning ‘inner peace and harmony’ is a Stockholm spa and hotel that aims to provide guests with a complete holistic experience. However, you don’t have to stay overnight at Yasuragi to enjoy the serene services. There are a number of day packages on offer too.
The spa describes itself as a “sanctuary for the inner self” and is known primarily for its relaxing Japanese baths, designed to soothe the body and clear the mind. It’s located on a hilltop overlooking Stockholm’s beautiful archipelago. But despite being only 20 minutes from the city centre, the pine forest and zen-like architecture makes you feel like you are far, far away from modern day life.
For 10 months of the year, Yasuragi is open to visitors aged 16 years and over. However, during the summer months Yasuragi opens its doors to children of all ages. This period is known as Yasuragi Kids.
[author] [author_info]Take a look at our Stockholm with kids post for more ideas on things to do in the Swedish capital. [/author_info] [/author]
What is Yasuragi Kids?
Yasuragi Kids was developed to offer families the opportunity to spend quality time together in relaxing and peaceful environment. Yasuragi Kids is not glorified kids’ club where you can leave your kids while you go off for a massage. Nor is it one of those Barbie-style makeover spas for kids – thankfully!
Instead, Yasuragi Kids is a place where you can spend some time simply being with your children. A place that aims to help children slow down and reconnect with themselves and to help families unwind together.
There are no childcare facilities and parents are responsible for their children at all times. Parents are also expected to participate in activities together.
Upon arrival, all guests over two-years-old are given their very own yukata, a cotton robe, to wear throughout their stay; to the Japanese baths, during activities and also at mealtimes. The yukata is decorated with Japanese symbols meaning ‘good luck and happiness’ and ‘true joy’ and is yours to keep and take home at the end of your stay.
Guests over 13 years are also given swimwear (a black swimming suit for woman and shorts for men) and slippers. Kids under 13 are required to bring their own swimming kit and slippers or flip flops.
The Japanese baths
Most families visit Yasaragi Kids to experience the Japanese baths. These include a number of hot springs (both indoors and outside under the pine trees), saunas*, a 25m long indoor pool, a tearoom, quiet zones and ablution rooms.
Before getting started, adults and children are taught a traditional cleansing ritual to ‘wash their worries away’. This involves sitting on a little wooden stool in the ablution areas and pouring warm water over yourself with slow and repeated movements.
Spa activities for kids
In addition to the Japanese Baths, Yasuragi Kids offers an extensive range of activities from quiet mediations and sound therapy to fish pedicures, mindful colouring-in and sushi lessons. Activities include:
- Sushi School: Kids are taught to make a maki-roll which they can share with their family at the end of the class
- Yoga for the entire family.
- Journey of sound: In this deeply relaxing mediation the instructor takes participants on a ‘journey into the world of imagination’ with a series of Tibetan singing bowls.
- Play corner: Aimed at young children, this area is filled with toys inspired by Yasuragi. Kids can draw or look at colourful books. There are mindful colouring-in worksheets and an activity where kids can make Japanese dolls from toilet rolls!
- Japanese arts & crafts: Slightly older children can learn to make a Japanese dragon, fold their own origami crane or try to draw a manga comic figure. For every crane made and hung on the wall, Yasuragi makes a donation to UNICEF.
- Trail of senses: This outdoor walking trail aims to help children be present by simply enjoying the moment.
- Sumo wrestling: Participants learn something of the origins of sumo and the sports status in Japan – as well as being given the opportunity to tackle their mum or dad.
- Qi Gong: Families are taught the gentle art of Qi Gong using a soft scent ball. The ball makes it easier to find the right moves as well as allowing you to be aware of your body and its movements.
Note: With the exception of the sushi class where parents watch from the the sidelines, parents are expected to participate in all of these activities.
Yasuragi treatments for kids
There is also a spa menu for kids aged 8-12 years, which includes:
- Shiatsu – soft pressure massage (children wear their yukata)
- Wellness Air Massage
- Head harmony – scalp massage
- Face harmony – facial. Gentle cleansing with massage
- Fish spa – fish pedicure. Garra Rufa fish remove dead skin particles.
- Treatments are approx 25 minutes and parents can be present.
- Children over 13 years old can use the adult spa menu. Treatments for adults include massages, facials and infrared heat therapy. Spa treatments are tailored for pregnant woman (after 12 weeks)
As you might expect from a place so focused on wellbeing, Japanese food features strongly at Yasuragi’s four restaurants (two of which are open during the summer months). They include:
- Tokyo Lounge Bar: Home to Sweden’s largest selection of sake. Yes, sake is also good for wellbeing!
- Tokyo Restaurant: This restaurant, overlooking the archipelago, offers a fusion of Japanese and Swedish cuisine.
- Kyarabi: A spa lounge serving raw food.
- Teppanyaki: chefs prepare dinner on a flat iron griddle in front of you. In the summer months they serve a dinner buffet here.
For kids, the lunch buffet includes sushi, spaghetti with meatballs and fish or meat from the grill. For dinner, there is a large buffet, for both adults and children. This includes sushi, gyoza, noodles, okonomiyaki, fish and various meats cooked on the griddles in Teppanyaki. Tea and a fruit buffet is available throughout the day in the spa lounge.
You can either visit Yasuragi Kids as part of a day package, or as an overnight stay at the hotel. There are 191 Japanese-inspired rooms in total, spread across seven categories. Rooms can accommodate up to five or six people, which works well for larger families, and interconnecting rooms are also available.
Getting to Yasuragi
Yasuragi Kids is located about 19km from Stockholm Central Station and can be reached by bus (35 mins + 10 minute walk), boat (30 minutes + 10 minute walk) or car (20 minutes).
What to bring
- Swimming nappies/diapers (although you can also buy these in the Yasuragi shop)
- Personal toiletries such as face cream, comb/hairbrush and deodorant
- Swimwear & slippers (or flip flops) for children under 13 years.
- Yasuragi provides: Swimwear & slippers (for 13 years and over), yukata robe, towels, conditioner, soap.
When is Yasuragi Kids open?
Yasuragi Kids operates during the summer months (approx. last week of June to first week August. See website for exact dates).
For more information on Yasuragi and Yasuragi kids, take a look at their website.