Skip to content

Weirdest. Beauty. Treatment. Ever.


Wait, eww, what are those fish doing?

They’re, uh, giving me a pedicure.

What? A pedicure? Haha, yeah, right, they’re fluttering around beautifying your feet? With their little fishie nail files?

They do it with their mouths.

What?! They’re biting you? What are they, baby sharks? You stuck your feet in a pool of sharks?

Not sharks, “therapy fish.” They zoom in and nibble off the dead skin with their little fish lips.

No. No, no, no, no, no. That’s disgusting. I want to un-hear that. Did it hurt?

No, it tickled.


Actually, I have to admit, it was a little more squicky than tickling. In fact, I sort of screamed when I first put my feet in the water and they all started swarming around. For the whole time I had to try pretty hard not to think of the word “squirming.” Or, uh, “worms.”

How long was “the whole time”?

Fifteen minutes.

Did it work?

When I got out, all the parts that were underwater were noticeably smoother! You should try it.

That’s what you always say, and look where it got me. Remember the snail slime face mask?

I rest my case.

Family therapy. Check out the mom’s reaction!

If you’d like to visit the Oedo Onsen the next time you’re in Tokyo, directions & a map are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d HadThe fish therapy hut is outside in the courtyard by the foot bath stream. Fifteen minutes costs ¥1575 for adults, ¥1050 for children.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more



Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

9 thoughts on “Weirdest. Beauty. Treatment. Ever. Leave a comment

  1. There was a big splash (no pun intended) about this on Portland tv — always the closing-feature/human interest spot, of course — about a year ago. Apparently someone did open a fish-pedicure salon, but it closed after not too long because of health dept. concerns about cleaning the, um, tank? spa? whatever, between clients.

    I actually love it when Sophie (la dogessa) or one of the kitties decides to do a job on my toes. Now, if one of those Tokyo cat cafes would offer a similar service…

  2. this treatment has actually been around for dang near a decade, although it’s a fairly well kept secret in the US. I recall reading about it as far back as 2006!
    And if I ever get to Japan, I’ll have your treatment for you 😉

    • Yeah, apparently you have to be really careful about rearing the fish yourself in a disease-free environment, or people can get bacterial infections and such. And they did ask before we went in if we had any cuts or scrapes, because you’re not allowed in if you have any.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s