Tokyo Onsen (Hot Spring) Guide: 東京の温泉
Central Tokyo is full of real hot springs, much to the surprise of many people (including Japanese people living in Tokyo).
Most of them are part of larger sports complexes, but they are still modeled to look traditional. For those too shy to go all naked, many also have mixed baths where everyone wears a swimsuit. Plus after you can enjoy other facilities such as traditional Japanese restaurants, massage areas and relaxation rooms.
LaQua (Admission 2,634 yen; 11am-9am the next morning) is the premier hot spring in central Tokyo. It is located next to Tokyo Dome City and Korakuen Garden. They had to drill 1,700 meters underground to get to natural hot springs under Tokyo. It contains three types of sauna, a few outdoor baths (rotenburo) and a good selection of indoor baths. The temperatures are not too hot. There are also restaurants and massage services available.
In December, the shopping complex and theme park around La Qua are host to some stunning Christmas Illuminations. Various free music shows and other performances are also held around the area on weekends.
Access to LaQua
From Shinjuku Station take the JR Chuo Line (160 yen, 14 minutes) to Suidobashi station. From here follow the signs to Tokyo Dome City. Once in Tokyo Dome City, signs will take you to LaQua. From Tokyo station take the Marunouchi subway line (160 yen, 14 minutes) to Korakuen. LaQua is just outside the station.
Oedo Onsen Monogatari Hot Springs 大江戸温泉物語
Oedo Onsen Monogatari Hot Springs (Admission 2,612 yen; 11am-9am the next morning - last entry at 7am) in Odaiba could be described as a hot spring theme park. The whole complex has been designed to look like Edo (the old Tokyo), and with your Japanese hot spring clothes (yukata) this is an experience that you will never forget. Within this little Edo there are countless restaurants, a long mixed outdoor footbath, massage services and a large collection of baths.
Access to Oedo Onsen Monogatari
From Shimbashi take the Yurikamome Line (370 yen, 18 minutes) to Telecom Center station. Come out of the south exit and you will see a large car park. Walk past the car park and the hot spring is on your left.
Toshimaen Niwa No Yu 豊島園 庭の湯
Toshimaen Niwa No Yu (Admission 2,310 yen; 10am-11pm - last entry at 10pm) is a large hot spring next to the Toshimaen theme park and water park. This is probably the best hot spring for first timers, as there is a mixed area (with swimsuits) and separate male/female areas. The mixed area is surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden, which you can walk around after using the sauna or baths. Toshimaen Niwa No Yu also features a large Japanese style restaurant with tatami floors, massage services and a big relaxation room with lots of 'lazyboy' chairs.
Access to Toshimaen Niwa No Yu
From Shinjuku station take the Oedo subway line (260 yen, 20 mins) to Toshimaen station. From the north exit walk towards Toshimaen theme park. Once you arrive there, take a right and walk down the road. Niwa No Yu (豊島園 庭の湯) is on the left.
Google Map of Tokyo Onsens
Matthew is a blogger and writer living in Tokyo, Japan. He writes for Super Cheap Japan, a travel guide dedicated to budget travel in Japan. You can read more of his work at www.supercheapjapan.com