Press Releases

SpaFinder Japan Announces First-Ever Japanese Spa Trends Report


JAPAN (December 03, 2007) − As the point of connection between thousands of spas and millions of spa consumers, SpaFinder has a unique perspective of the spa industry. Each year the company uses this vantage point to provide industry watchers with a "sneak peek" at the big spa stories in the year ahead. This year, SpaFinder takes its trend-tracking to another level by looking at global trends, along with local spa trends in the United Kingdom and Japan.

The company’s Japanese spa trends are reported by SpaFinder Japan, which launched in 2006 as part of SpaFinder’s ongoing global expansion. Since then, SpaFinder Japan has had a chance to get its finger on the pulse of the booming Japanese spa landscape by working with and visiting hundreds of spas across the country. Based on this experience, here’s a look at …

10 Japanese Spa Trends to Watch for in 2008

Medical Spas Gaining Traction – The spa industry in Japan, especially Tokyo, is moving beyond mere pampering to also include a therapeutic element, and Japanese consumers are gaining a strong appreciation for the results. In fact, talks are underway with overseas hospitals and medical spa operators to meet the surging demand for medical spa services in Japan.

Is That a Real Armani Spa? – Something of a “spa war” has started in Japan, which is drawing some surprising names into the industry, including the new Giorgio Armani Spa in Ginza Tokyo. It appears that Armani is looking to add a new dimension to its brand, moving beyond style to evoke a more all-encompassing lifestyle.

Ganbanyoku Is Hotter Than Ever – Gabanyoku, a type of hot stone spa that originated in Thailand, is continuing to gain popularity in Japan as a means of improving circulation, detoxing and relieving stress. Now it’s even expanding overseas, with a new Ganbanyoku spa opening in Malaysia this year.

The Traditional Japanese Onsen Spa, Reinvigorated – Recently, a top Japanese Ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) broke with tradition by introducing spa treatments (facials and massages) in their Onsen spa. (An onsen is a mineral-rich Japanese hot spring.) Female guests with overseas spa-going experience loved the combination. And why not? It’s a wonderful experience to have a relaxing body massage or facial after soaking in a mineral hot bath. This particular inn is also introducing delicate natural and local ingredients to create healthful spa cuisine. A bit of background: Japanese Ryokan used to be popular destinations for group tours enjoying company incentives. During the 1990s, however, corporate travel demands began to shrink, and Ryokan have since been looking to attract a new customer base with new services and features. Spa has proven to be just the ticket – enticing individual and small group tour customers to spend more time and money at their facilities.

Tokyo Spa Rush – This year, the Ritz Carlton and Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo are both debuting new spas. Both will be also be introducing ESPA, marking ESPA’s initial foray into Japan.

Organic Spa Cosmetics – The newly opened spa at the Westin Tokyo and Karuizawa Prince Hotel are offering a full line of organic cosmetics, exemplifying a trend in which Japanese spas are offering more organic options – and, more generally, an organic image – to appeal to customers.

The Pet Spa – The pet industry in Japan is becoming huge, to the point that even spas are beginning to get in on the craze. A Japanese reflexology chain, the Rajar group, has introduced a pet spa, enabling indulgent Japanese pet owners to treat their pets to a day at the spa.

Okinawa, the New Hawaii – Japanese women’s favorite spa resort destination used to be Hawaii. But new studies reveal that vacationers are foregoing the long flight in favor of a local jaunt to Okinawa, with its famed cuisine and excellent diving. With popular women’s magazines touting the many 5-star and boutique hotels with spas that have sprung up in Okinawa, it’s no wonder that the so-called “Hawaii of Japan” is supplanting the actual Hawaii as the spa resort destination of choice.

Spa School Is in Session – Japanese spa therapists are becoming more skilled and better trained with each passing year. Reflecting the maturing/formalization of the Japanese spa industry, a popular spa therapist school is now providing rigorous programs that train students to qualify for international CIBAC and CIDESCO (beauty/aesthetician) certification.

The Rise of the “Tokyo-sexual” Male – For many years, Japanese men have been neglected by the spa and cosmetic industries in Japan, but that’s beginning to change. Isetan department store, probably the trendiest department store in Japan (which is saying something), has recently debuted a very popular male cosmetics area. And one of the top spas in Tokyo recently reported that roughly half of their guests are now male. More generally, many spas are appealing to male clients with men’s specialty menus. It all adds up to more men in spas, more overall spa business, and happier spa concierges (because Japanese men tend to book their next appointment when they leave the spa).

Learn More
To speak with SpaFinder, Inc. President Susie Ellis about SpaFinder’s 2008 spa trends – or to arrange an interview with an expert or a spa that’s on the cutting-edge of these trends – contact Betsy Isroelit at 213.300.0108, betsy@rbicom.com.

Media Contact:

Betsy Isroelit, RBI
(213) 300-0108, betsy@rbicom.com

About SpaFinder, Inc.:

The world’s largest spa marketing and media company, SpaFinder reaches millions of wellness-focused consumers via its global media network, including the award-winning SpaFinder.com, Luxury SpaFinder magazine and the annual Global SpaFinder Directory. SpaFinder Europe and SpaFinder Japan offer regional spa marketing programs, including localized, native-language websites showcasing day spas, salon spas, and onsens. Redeemable at 4,000+ spas worldwide and available at thousands of retail outlets across North America and the United Kingdom, SpaFinder Gift Certificates and Gift Cards represent the world’s largest spa gifting program. Through its investment partnership with SpaBoom, the company also provides an array of technology and online marketing services for spas. Founded in 1986, the privately held company is headquartered in Manhattan.

Media Inquiries

If you're with the media, please contact:

Betsy Isroelit
Betsy.Isroelit@spafinder.com 
(213) 300-0108