Hot springs are the perfect remedy for sore muscles or a great escape from busy city life. When traveling in Japan, hot springs (or onsens as they are known locally), are a must-do.
Japan has brought us the insanity that is the Robot Restaurant so it only stands that when it comes to hot springs they would have equally zany options for a relaxing soak. Novelty pools, charming onsens that take you back in time and outdoor hot springs surrounded by gorgeous scenery can be found throughout Japan.
Scroll through these four unbelievable hot springs in Japan:
#1. Take a Dip in Wine at Yunessun Kowakien Spa in Hakone, Japan
- Pricing: from JPY1,900 for adults, JPY1,200 for children (pricing ranges by admission type)
- Service Hours:
- Yunessun Area: 9:00am – 7:00pm
- Mori no Yu Area: 11:00am – 8:00pm
- How to Get There: access from Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Station, Narita Airport and Haneda Airport (see directions on official site here)
- Pro-Tip: keep in mind that as with many onsens in Japan, guests with tattoos will most likely, not be permitted into the onsen. Learn more about onsen etiquette here
#2. Step Back in Time at Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata, Japan
Ginzan Onsen, is a quaint little onsen town located along the Ginzan River. The town was once the site of a silver mine, built 500 years ago and now features quaint buildings and lush hillsides.
Stroll through the town and marvel at the traditional architecture. Transport yourself to the olden days of Japan and admire the picturesque wooden inns. Trek along the nature trail to tkae in the rustic landscape of streams, waterfalls and towering trees.
The town center boasts two public baths and a foot bath that guests can use free of charge. If you’re hoping for something a little more secluded, head to Omokageyu, a public bath available for private use or just stop at any of the local inns for a quick onsen pause.
- Pricing: public baths (JPY300 – 500), Omokageyu (JPY2000 for 50 mins), private bath (JPY300 – 1500)
- How to Get There:
Ginzan Onsen is accessible by train. Take the JR Yamagata Shinkansen from Tokyo to Oishida Station. From there, hop on a bus for Ginzan Onsen (bus run every 60 – 90 mins)
#3. Get Back to Basics at Rustic Tsurunoyu Onsen in Akita Prefecture, Japan
Seated deep within the mountains of the Akita Prefecture, this is one of Japan‘s most traditional and rustic hot spring baths. Tsurunoyu Onsen dates back to 1638 and was visited by the royals of the time. Get off the grid and make your way to this enchanting onsen for an escape from the hectic city.
- Pricing: JPY500 (day spa only, see official site here for accommodation pricing)
- Service Hours: 10:00am – 3:00pm (outdoor baths are closed on Mondays)
- How to Get There:
Take Akita Shinkanse Komachi and disembark at JR Tazawako station. From there, board the Ugo-Kotsu bus for Nyutou Onsen. Disembark at Arupa Komakusa bus stop. Spa shuttle will pick you up from the stop (please call in advance at 0187-46-2139)
#4. Explore the Ancient Streets at Shibu Onsen in Nagano Prefecture, Honshu, Japan
Visit Shibu Onsen, a hot spring town that dates back to 1,300 years ago. Meander through the captivating cobblestone streets, and check out the wooden ryokans (Japanese inns) that line the laneways.
Rumour has it that good fortune comes to those who visit all nine public bathhouses in Shibu Onsen. There are also two public foot baths in the town. Rack up some good karma and head out onsen-hopping in this ancient hot spring destination. Travelers can rent a Japanese yukata (a traditional outfit) and wander the area in the customary garb.
- How to Get There: Shibu Onsen is easily accessed from Tokyo Station, Nagano Station and Yudanaka Station (check out the full details on official site here)
- Pro-Tip: Spend a night at Shibu Onsen and book a day tour of Jigokudani Monkey Park to really experience this stunning location