Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Girls Weekend in KagaOnsen Pt4: My hilarious "Doctor Fish" experience!

The Japanese creations and innovations never cease to astound me and here's a belter for you. I just couldn't believe my eyes.

In the ryokan where we were staying for the weekend there was a blow up pond full of little grey fish. Ahh for the kids, I initially thought, maybe a "catch a fish and win a prize" type game? But no, I failed to read the sign above the pond "ドクターフィッシュ" which literally reads "Doketa-Fishu" or "Dr Fish" to you and me! These fish are, in this sense, doctors who give your feet a good ol' pedicure treatment. You pay to sit on the edge of the pond, dangle your feet in and have scores of fish nibble off the dead skin on your feet! Yep, throw away that old pumice stone, these hungry little nippers will polish off that dead skin in minutes leaving you with baby smooth feet (well in theory).

Yoko having her Dr Fish experience!

The fish aren't exactly phirana size nor do they remotely look like the vicious cousins. They're tiny but still they're ALIVE!! I'm all into holistic medicine but this takes the biscuit.

Anyway this is Yoko having her Dr Fish foot cleaning experience. She did tell me it didn't hurt, just tickles but every time I so much as submerged a toe the little buggers would come up in their hundreds all chewing at the bit to get some of my foot, AGGGGGGHHHHHH!

We paid ¥500 (about £3.50) for a 10 minute session with Dr Fish. I couldn't even bear it for 30 seconds but was such an hilarious experience it was worth the money.

NB!! After writing this post I found out that Dr Fish actually originated in EUROPE! (Turkey) God and there was me thinking this was a crazy Japanese invention. Doing a bit of web research it seems that the fish (known as Garra Rufa) are used to consume the skin of patients with psoriasis and eczema, leaving the healthy skin to grow.


  1. Oh my god, where was that ryokan? I've totally wanted to try out doctor fish! I went to the Nakajima Aquarium and they had a tank of little doctor fish that would nibble at your hand. It was so ticklish.

  2. Hey Tammy, sashi buri ne?! Hope you're well.

    Yep the ryokan was about 10 min drive from KagaOnsen station, theres a free bus that will take you from the station. I've lost the leaflet otherwise I'd give you the address. I'll check with Yoko.

    PS There's also a Dr Fish at SpaWorld in Osaka