Trust me when I say a good soak in onsen can entirely change your mind on what you might have been feeling before. Below is the top ten places to get that mind clearing soak within the limits of Tokyo.
Now you might be wondering, just what is the difference between a sento and an onsen. It’s simple! A sento uses regular, heated water, whereas an onsen is using natural spring water, typically from a volcanic source. Many people say that the onsen tends to be more of a relaxing source, considering that the minerals tend to help with whatever might be ailing you.
1. Spa LaQua
Spa LaQua is like a small world within itself. It’s one of the few on this list that is open 24 hours a day and segmented. It’s right next to the Tokyo Dome, and the views within it are gorgeous. There are segmented areas for what you wanted to spend that day (and a surcharge for staying past 1 am). The “SPA ZONE” is basically the onsen area, you enter naked, enjoy multiple styles of baths, and male and female are of course separated. The “HEALING BADEN” and “RELAXATION” areas are for everyone, providing various ways to relax. Also to note, the entire complex is cashless. All you need is a bracelet to pay for the extras and the time to relax your issues away.
1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo 112-0004, Tokyo
+81 3 3817 4173
My favorite things about a sento are simply enough, the art and style that is all on the inside of these bath houses. This one, in particular, is a bit different because the owner has spent a lot of time adding to the decorations and art around it with his own collectibles. Daikokuyu sometimes has special decorations in their baths and be a venue for events such as jazz performance. Here is the picture of the bath decoration when they collaborated with the famous photographer Mika Ninagawa.
The photos of celebrities that had visited make it feel a bit more like a home, and all the more welcoming because of that.
3-12-14 Yokokawa Sumida-ku, Tokyo
3. Saya no Yu Dokoro
Saya No Yu boasts 14 baths within its complex, showcasing its pride in the waters that they pull. It is all naturally sourced water, the minerals boasting numerous health benefits and a fantastic restaurant within its walls. It’s definitely worth the visit when you’re in this part of town, to melt the stress of the day away.
3 Chome-41-1 Maenocho Itabashi-ku, Tokyo
If you’re looking for a quiet bathhouse five minutes from Asakusa Station, then Jakotsuyu is the place for you. It doesn’t retrieve the foot traffic that it deserves, considering the renovations it has gone under. Modern on the inside, and just as beautiful as it has always been on the outside, it’s an excellent mix of the past and present to fill your senses and let you experience a pleasant blast from the past.
1-11-11 Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo
http://www.jakotsuyu.co.jp/index.html (Japanese only)
5. Toshimaen Niwa No Yu
Niwa no Yu is actually one of the few mega-onsen out there these days! There are different zones to move in, with a regular bath zone, an open-air bath zone, and a mixed bath zone as well! But if you want to experience real relaxation, drop in on the bath with water from the dead sea. Not only does it have all of the healing properties that are said to come from the water of the Dead Sea, but it’s also age restricted to junior high students and above. That means there are no kids in there to break your relaxing concentration.
3-25-1 Koyama, Nerima-ku Tokyo
http://www.niwanoyu.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Over 60 years old and having gone through a recent renovation, this sento deserves a lot of attention on its own. And it receives it. This bathhouse tends to be fairly busy, especially on junior days. A fun fact about it? If you need something to help you relax, the carbonated bath actually has a bright view of television to get night and comfortable watching.
2-14-15 Kugahara, Ota-ku Tokyo
7. Oedo Onsen Monogatari
This onsen is one of the unique ones that I’ve run across. Not only there are baths for everything imaginable (including one for your dog even!), they also tend to host a lot of festivals, and there are many places to drink and dine throughout the complex. As you enter, you get to choose a yukata and able to spend a day in yukata within the facility. Though the most exciting attraction has to be the foot bath through the garden. At 50 meters long, it would be a nice, leisurely walk while enjoying the beauty all around.
2-57 Aomi, Koto-ku Tokyo
8. Tokyo Somei Onsen Sakura
If there is any reason to visit this property, it’s for the Sakura (Somei Yoshino) trees all throughout the area. When it’s time for the trees to bloom, the actual views are nothing short of breathtaking. Mind you, the complex itself is beautiful itself on its own, and well worth more than one return visit to it. Taking the trip out there will take your breath away, after giving it a chance.
5-4-24 Komagome, Toshima-ku Tokyo
http://www.sakura-2005.com/ (Japanese Only)
9. Nagomi no Yu
Another onsen that stays open all night, Nagomi No Yu boasts an excellent line of baths and saunas to enjoy through the day and night. Yet another one with carbonated water, the baths themselves are definitely worth the price to get into them. If you need a day of pampering and the right amount of alone time, then this might just be the complex you need.
1-10-10 Kamiogi, Suginami-ku Tokyo
The bath started in 1924 as a sento public bath. However, the business came difficult as people started having bath tabs in their own home, and like other sento in Tokyo, they almost closed the business. To continue the business, the second generation manager started digging onsen! It was a gamble, but he did it, he found an onsen spring.
The building reconstructed in 2008, and now it is very clean and a popular place with two onsens in central Tokyo!
3-9-1 Koyama, Shinagawa-ku Tokyo
http://www.shimizuyu.com/ (Japanese Only)
Keep in mind! Many of these places will not actually let you in if you have tattoos showing. So make sure you cover up anything like that! The prices range anywhere from 480 yen up to 3,000, so depending on what sort of experience you want, you might have to pay a bit more for it. None the less, it is well worth it.
Now go and enjoy your travels!