World Sauna Jouney | 世界サウナ旅 by METOS | Saunas in which ingenuity can be seen Helsinki, the city where creativity warms people
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Sho Yoshinaga report
A trip to experience the now of Finnish sauna culture

Saunas in which ingenuity can be seen

Helsinki, the city where creativity warms people

@ Helsinki

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Moi! I´m Sho Yoshinaga.
This is my two-part report on the state of Finnish sauna from fall 2017. In this second part I am going to give you a whirlwind introduction on some design saunas which I found in and around Helsinki.

湖上から見るユヴァスキュラの街。

The center of Scandinavian creativity – Helsinki and sauna

Helsinki. Overflowing with modern design, the bustling yet calming capital of Finland. This is the Southernmost part of the country but still much further North (60 ° N) than the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The creative people who can survive in such harsh conditions are also displaying sense for design, and the result elegantly warms one´s heart and body – and naturally, this creativity is also utilized in the context of sauna! Now I would like to introduce you few design-wise interesting saunas from my short visit to Helsinki.

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湖畔に時折見られるサウナ小屋。個人所有のものから公共のものまで様々。

Rantapuisto, an outer city hotel to enjoy sauna, the light, and the ocean

First, let me introduce you Hotel Rantapuisto. The hotel resides in the outer city, roughly 20- minute car ride away from the city center. It is a resort hotel surrounded by forests and the ocean and although it´s used mainly for corporate training, many people visit here from Helsinki to enjoy the leisure activities. Charms like clean and warm interior, sophisticated accessories, calming nature opening right outside the hotel windows, hiking and canoe tours etc. offer a full
recreational set but hotel saunas are also one appealing point. Even the position of the windows of sauna rooms have been set in a way to capture the light of the setting sun reflecting from the nearby sea. It is a luxury filled with emotion to see how the surface of the ocean reflects a beautiful dance of light to the wall of the sauna room! Furthermore, one can enjoy the cooldown by swimming in the sea after sauna (which in this area seems to be mixed half with fresh water.) The Finns have always been clever how to utilize light, and I felt these saunas to be reflecting the Finnish spirit to gently capture the grace of nature yet enjoy oneself at the same time.

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中央スオミでは、運が良いと湖面に反射した逆さオーロラが見られることも。

Attack! Vartiovene 55, a patrol boat that excites even the grown-ups

The one I visited next was, unbelievably, a sauna built inside of a patrol boat (!?) A surprising and exciting combination indeed!

When I inquired the staff (or should I say: sailor?) how this sauna came to be, he told me that this is an old patrol boat that was formally used in the Finnish army, but when it was put off service, the owner bought it and remodeled it. (Even the name of the sauna, Vartiovene, means patrol boat in Finnish).
Onboard, there´s an electric sauna equipped with IKI heater. Besides that, the ship has a meeting room with projector, and this place seems to be rented often by businesses as a venue for business entertainment and events. Finland is indeed said to be the country of sauna diplomacy but this! I reckon to be a marvelous display of sense of playfulness unimaginable to the Japanese. This sauna seems to be occasionally rented by e.g. wealthy tourists and F1 racers. I highly recommend this venue for those who are interested in enjoying a luxurious sauna experience.

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The hippie sauna

And last, I´d like to introduce you “The hippie sauna”, which I came to know through a Finnish acquaintance. “The hippie sauna” is not the official name of the venue, but one can call it that and get the message across. This sauna came to be unnoticed on reclaimed land inside Helsinki city (the builder is unknown) and the sauna users seem to be local workers and people who have a taste for unique atmosphere and those who are into hippie culture. This sauna has no specified caretaker, everyone and anyone can use the place freely, and it is kept in free use by occasional repairs. My visit here was a moment when I could clearly see that all Finnish people consider sauna bathing to be fun, and that many Finns engage in this pleasure actively.

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The power to create life´s pleasures

Each sauna I visited this time in Helsinki gave me the impression of a city of excellent design and overflowing creativity. For example, utilizing the natural light at the saunas of hotel Rantapuisto, a hotel displaying the Scandinavian style. There was also Vartiovene 55, a former patrol boat put into peaceful and exciting new use. And of course, the commonly shared hippie sauna, build by someone, upheld by whoever. I respect the Finnish way of life for how it displays a vigor towards creativity, and the powerful Finnish design. Yet I also believe that the same spirit flows in the blood of us the Japanese. Take for example the round windows facing Japanese gardens and rotemburo open air baths designed so that the water level seems to be connecting with the sea. In Japan, one can catch a sight of many similar kinds of creations to heal (or stimulate?) oneself through loving the nature.


How could we give birth to such creations in the world of bathing? This trip to Helsinki was something that made me cognize our company´s given task anew.

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Profile: Show Yoshinaga

 

Born in Fukuoka prefecture. Member of the board of Metos Inc. Full name: Shoichirou Yoshinaga.

Studied the importance of coexistence of man and nature as a boy scout in his youth. Worked as a mechanic in the air force of the Japanese Self-defense Forces, had often sauna together with his colleagues, which gave impetus for understanding the charm of sauna. After the air force, worked in apparel industry and interior lighting industry, came to work for Metos Inc. With the imagination and vigor gathered from various fields and using the vast amount of know-how of former Nakayama-Sangyou (Metos Inc. previous name), his goal is to activate the Japanese bathing culture. In order to throw some löyly into Japanese saunas, he has spread to Japan previously unknown sauna heaters, such as Iki-sauna and Sauna-isness (heaters which are löyly-durable), outdoors sauna experience enabling tent sauna etc. In the near future,

he is going to research and advocate new ways to enjoy sauna which combine sauna and entertainment, such as his project “Löyly Heatwave Forces”, sauna yoga and much more.

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Hotel Rantapuisto

 

<address> Furuborginkatu 3, 00980 Helsinki, Finland

<tell>+358 (0)9 319 1110

<access>20 min from Helsinki by car

<URL> https://www.rantapuisto.fi

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Vartiovene 55

 

<address> Jollaksentie 27 A 00850 Helsinki, Finland

<tel>+358 (0)44 283 1688

<access>15 min from Helsinki central by car

<URL> http://www.vartiovene55.fi/

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Hippie Sauna

 

a place in Helsinki