Soak Your Worries Away – Tokyo's Top 10 Onsen Spas
What's better than a trip to the spa? A trip to an onsen and spa combo!
Only in Japan, can you get the luxury of a spa, combined with the traditional atmosphere and healing benefits of an onsen's natural hot spring water. As an onsen aficionado living in Tokyo, I have visited almost every onsen and spa in the city, so here are my top ten.
1. Mayonara Onsen, Saya-No-Yudokoro: The Traditional Onsen Experience
The most Japanese-style onsen spa on this list, Saya-No-Yudokoro has the atmosphere of a countryside hot spring resort. Eat a healthy dinner of multigrain rice and sashimi, while looking over the zen garden. Then soak in one of the outdoor pottery baths, or rotenboro, or sweat in the Finnish sauna. Since Saya-No-Yudokoro is located on the city outskirts, the baths are rarely overcrowded. My personal favorite offering is the salt sauna, available at no extra charge, which leaves your skin silky smooth. The onsen also provides spa treatments, massages, and, for an extra fee, a series of both hot and cold saunas.
Access: 8 min walk from Shimura Sakaue Station, exit A2
- For adults: weekdays 890 yen, weekends 1,120 yen
- For children (elementary school and and under): weekdays 550 yen, weekends 750 yen
2. Spa Laqua: Onsen or Hawaiian Resort?
Spa Laqua's Hawaiian theme makes your visit feel tropical, although the baths themselves are in the traditional Japanese style. It has both Finnish and steam saunas, indoor massage baths and outdoor onsen baths. For an extra fee, you can access the adults-only Healing Baden, which is designed to look like a tropical resort. This area has a lounge area, a cafe/bar and several more saunas and pools. There are lounges, a cafe and several restaurants on the main floor as well (I can confirm that their Vietnamese restaurant has delicious pho).
Access: A 3 min walk from Korakuen Station, a 4 min walk from Suidobashi Station, or a 2 min walk from Kasuga Station.
- 2,900 yen for adults,
- 2,090 yen for children 6-17 years old (children 5 and under not allowed).
3. Yukemuri no Sho: A Hotel-Style Spa and Onsen
A little outside of Tokyo, this expansive onsen spa has a lobby with a roaring fireplace, worthy of a Hilton or Marriott. The rest of its facilities are also reminiscent of a hotel-quality spa. But, unlike a most hotel spas, the bath water is high quality mineral water from a natural hot-spring, bringing together the best of both. Yukemuri no Sho is also more reasonably priced than a hotel spa, although it is on the expensive side for an ordinary onsen.
Access: An 18 min walk from Tsunashima Station, but the onsen runs a free shuttle bus directly from the Station
- 1,200 yen for adults
- 900 yen for children on weekdays
- 1400 yen for adults
- 1100 yen for children on weekends
4. Fuku no Yu: Retro Sento Style
Tokyo's sento and onsen are famed for having murals of Mt. Fuji painted on their walls, but none more so than Fuku no Yu. This onsen has two murals by famed sento artists, a peaceful blue one by Kiyoto Maruyama and a deep crimson version by Morio Nakajima. The retro interior evokes the bathhouses of the 1960's. However, the amenities, including herbal and mineral baths, are plenty modern.
Access: A 10 min walk from Honkomagome Station
- 460 yen for adults
- 180 yen for elementary school students
- 80 yen for young children
5. Oedo Onsen Monogatari: An Edo-Era Festival
More a theme-park than relaxation haven, Oedo Onsen Monogatari is fun for the whole family. Be transported into Edo-era Japan, as you wear a yukata and enjoy traditional festival food and games. The main indoor area even looks like an old Japanese town. Oedo Onsen Monogatari isn't just fun and games though, it has something for everyone, with outdoor baths, a full range of spa services and several relaxation rooms.
Access: A 2 min walk from the Telecom Center Station, or by free shuttle bus from Tokyo Teleport Station
- Daytime Rate, for adults: 2,380 yen on weekdays, 2,580 yen on weekends
- Nighttime Rate (after 18:00): 1,880 yen on weekdays, 2,080 on weekends
- For children ages 4-12: 980 yen (children under 4 are free)
6. Yamato no Yu: Relax Before Your Flight
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This onsen is located in the Narita area, near the Narita airport. It is famous for its coffee colored water, called Kuroyu, which is supposed to help with skin and ease joint pain. You can enjoy the landscape of Inba Marsh and Mt. Fuji from inside the baths, or from the counter of the onsen's sushi bar. If you have the time before your flight, or after, this locale would be the perfect place to release the stress of travel. Plus, guests with tattoos are allowed, an unusual find for an onsen.
Access: A 20 min walk from Shimousa Manzaki Station, or 10 min taxi ride from Ajiki Station
- Weekdays 850 yen
- Weekends 1000 yen
- Children from 6-12 years old are 600 yen (no under 6-years-old allowed)
7. Mikokuyu: The All-inclusive Onsen
Most onsen in Tokyo do not accept people with tattoos, however Mikokuyu does. The onsen is also barrier free, which means that the elderly and those with physical disabilities can enjoy the baths too. It has baths of varying temperatures from freezing to scalding, a medicinal bath with alternating additions like herbs, aloe, or rice bran, and a tatami relaxation room.
Access: A 10 min walk from Kinshicho Station
- 460 yen for adults
- 180 for elementary schools students
- 80 yen for younger children
8. Times Spa Resta: A Luxurious Onsen-Spa Combo
This luxurious spa has a decidedly upscale clientele. Its European influences are evident, as it offers both a jacuzzi and a Finnish Sauna. However, it also has an outdoor onsen-style bath, with seasonal additions to the water. Currently, the bath includes a Finnish-salt mix with soothing herbs. The TV in front of the outdoor onsen plays films, including foreign ones. When I visited, they were playing At Eternity's Gate.
Access: An 8 min walk from Ikebukuro Station, a 3 min walk from Higashi-Ikebukuro Station
Cost: 2,850 yen
9. Hisamatsu-yu: The Modern Onsen
The owner redesigned Hisamatsu-yu in 2014. In 2015, it won the Good Design Award, for it's open and bright architecture. Instead of old-fashioned murals, this onsen has projection mapping on the walls of the bathing area, for a wonderful mix of modern and traditional.
Access: A 5 min walk from Sakuradai Station
- 460 yen
- 180 yen for primary school students
- 80 yen for younger children
10. Niwa no Yu: The Garden Onsen
This adult-only bath is located inside a Japanese garden designed by the famed landscape architect Kenzo Kosugi. After strolling past koi ponds and waterfalls, relax in the outdoors bath, or enjoy their restaurant's seasonal menu. A lush, peaceful oasis right in the center of the metropolis.
Access: A 2 minute walk from Toshima-en Station
- 2,070 yen on weekdays
- 2,370 yen on holidays
- Shower first. Make sure to wash thoroughly before entering the baths.
- Bring a small towel. You can hold the towel in front of your body for a bit of privacy, and use it to dry off before entering the changing rooms. However, since you shouldn't let the towel touch the onsen water, either find a spot for it to the side of the bath. Or, of you want to look like an onsen expert, balance the folded towel on top of your head!
- Be calm. Usually you are allowed to talk in the onsen. However, if you are having a conversation it's better to speak quietly, so you don't disturb others. Although, to be fair, not all Japanese bathers follow this unspoken rule either...
For more relaxing fun, check out our article on Tokyo's best animal cafes.