I finally made another visit to a ganbanyoku (hot stone spa) last month when Other Whitie came back for a visit (we always seem to end up doing weird stuff together such as getting naked and scrubbed or lying on hot stones and sweating). Instead of the place I went before, which was in Yokohama, we tried 暖 (Dan) in Ginza, just a short walk from the station and right behind the Kabuki-za. For first-time visitors (ladies only, sorry gentlemen) there is no membership fee and it's only 2000 yen for a 90-minute sweat fest.
The changing rooms are nice and clean and the hot stone room itself was pretty nice. One advantage it has over the Yokohama spa is the basket of smooth stones at each station that you can place on yourself (e.g., down your spine) to target certain areas to heat up. The Yokohama spa allows you to use stones for an extra fee but at Dan they are included. The only thing I wasn't so hot (ha) on was that the room wasn't scented. The Yokohama spa used scented water to clean each station after use, which gave the room a nice cleansing spa smell but at Dan there is no smell, just oppressive heat, and for me, it wasn't as refreshing as it could have been in that way.
The set-up is basically the same as that in Yokohama with a shower to use after if you so choose. This time I decided to go with their suggestion of not showering afterward (nasty I know but apparently it is clean sweat and good for your skin) and I was only planning to study that afternoon so it didn't seem like the worst idea. And you know what? It wasn't, but despite my glowing skin I felt kind of like, well, like I hadn't showered after sweating in a very hot room. Big revelation I know. In any case, I've said it once and I'll say it again, GO to one of these hot stone spas if you get a chance, they are the perfect place to take a break from the mean streets of Tokyo and to truly feel refreshed and all cleansed (with the shower afterward of course). If you're a guy, there are several places in Tokyo that are like more upscale sento you can go to if you want to get away for an hour or two, which I'm sure are present in other cities too.