Why I Love Fish Pedicures

My first ever pedicure was a fish pedicure in June 2009, in South Korea. Pedicures aren’t my thing, but when I saw affordable pricing for feeding fish -I wanted in. Know two things. 1) I went to the salon with two men 2) I have eczema on my left foot. When we three dipped our tired feet into the fish pond the fish LOVED me. The guys laughed of course. I can’t find a website to link, but a photo from another blogger looks like I was at Escape in Songtan (we walked there from Osan AB, so it’s in the right part of town).

According to the CDC fish pedicures are illegal in 10 states. Sadly I cannot find that list of which states because I want to know where I can pay to feed fish in America (if you find a list, please email me! tracey@ladyjupiter.com).

Why I love fish pedicures, also my observances of Korean versus Japanese Dr. Fish spas. #fishpedicure #drfish #militarywifelife

After my first pedicure, I wasn’t in love with the procedure. I don’t hate fish or feet, I just have no opinion. Feet enable walking, and where I go is significantly more interesting than the feet.

  • I love fish pedicures because they are silly. I know that they’re common in Asia, but in the USA they are novelty, a pleasant novelty. The fish feed on my flesh, and my feet are softer. Win win.

In June 2017 I was in Tokyo, strolling Shinjuku on my 33rd birthday, when I saw a sign in Osso (新宿店) for Dr. Fish. I knew what I was doing for the next 20 minutes.

Japanese versus Korean Dr. Fish salons are as different as the cultures.
In Korea we were shown the fish pond, given small towels, and told “10 minutes Dr. Fish, then you go here (points to a waiting area).”
In Japan I was first given an English menu to confirm my purchase, then instructions to put my purse & shoes in a locker, then walk back to the shower room to sit on a bucket and scrub my feet clean, dry off with the blue towel, then change towels at reception on my way to the divided fish tank, where my time would be monitored so I could relax.

giggled and squealed for five minutes

When my feet were clean enough to receive fish nibbles, I was the only occupant in the divided fish tank. It was only mid-calf deep, and seated six people. Three on one side shared the same fish lot, and a plexiglass divider contained a different batch of fish from the three seats in front of me. Keeping to Japanese customs I sat furthest from the door, so that newcomers wouldn’t have to walk around me. Mindfulness-of-others is the way to do anything in Japan. I was joined by another American, she was from Oregon. It was weird speaking in full English to someone that I didn’t know, but it was nice. That was her first experience with Dr. Fish and she giggled and squealed for five minutes. That’s normal apparently. I am ticklish, but the toothless-fish-nibbles aren’t enough to get me laughing.

walking ~10 miles daily

The entire time I was enjoying my birthday fish, Mister Jupiter was around the corner at a rugby pub. When my time was up I toweled off and fetched my purse and shoes. I enjoyed that my feet were a little softer, but Dr. Fish wasn’t enough to combat hardened feet from walking ~10 miles daily. Still, it was my birthday and got a surprise pedicure. I then joined Mister at Sector7G, we had “tacos” and beer.

Snacks in a Japanese rugby pub after my fish pedicure. #getthetacos #sector7g #shinjuku

At this rate I am in Asia every eight years. I hope that June 2025 takes me to a new country with fish pedicures too.


Have you tried it? What did you think about it if you did?

Author: Tracey

Tracey has a bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She loves editing, riding bikes, and cooking for her family.

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