Japan Onsen

Looking for an onsen in Japan?

Posted on August 18, 2017

I’m currently planning a trip to Japan and definitely want to visit an onsen (hot spring bath). Here are the locations that I’m considering going based on location and commute using the JR Pass. If you have any tips, let me know!

Important to note:

  • People with tattoos of any kind (even stick-on or temporary!) are strictly forbidden to enter

You can use this map to find an onsen in Japan.

Near Kobe:

Arima Onsen

  • This is an old town famous for hot springs in Kobe with two public bath houses available:
    • Kin no Yu (Gold Bath, 金の湯) has nice, hot rusty ochre water due to a high concentration of iron and other minerals. Small indoor bathhouse with two pools, 650 yen
    • Gin no Yu (Silver Bath, 銀の湯) has water of a more unusual type: Radium. Locals swear by the healing powers but decide for yourself whether you’re up for self-dosing with radiation therapy. 550 yen
    • You can also visit both for a combo price of 850 yen
  • Or you can visit one of the town’s many ryokan (traditional Japanese sleeping accomodations). Several open their baths to non-staying visitors during the day typically admission fee is 500 to 2500 yen.
    • Taikou no Yu is one of the best in Arima Onsen. Inside a hotel, this one is large and modern. Admission is higher, 2400 yen (2,600 yen on weekends and during holidays)
    • Goshobo is one of Arima’s oldest ryokan with golden hot spring water. Bath admission is 1,620 yen (overnight stay is 20,000 yen per person including 2 meals)
  • Close enough for Kobe and Osaka residents for an easy and popular day trip or weekend getaway
  • Both baths are public and are open from morning to nine or so at night, however they close certain days of the week so double check before heading over
  • Easily accessible from Osaka by train and an inexpensive bus runs direct from Osaka Station as well. Either way, you’ll need at least an hour and a half.
  • Once there, you’ll find that the town is small and fun to walk around in. Stairways lit with lanterns, beautiful temples, narrow lanes and wooden buildings make strolling around at night fun. The small town can be explored entirely on foot.
  • Learn more:

Near Kyoto:

Nagashima Resort

  • Made up of:
    • Spa Land amusement park and water park
    • Hot spring complex (Nagashima Spa Yuami no Shima)
    • Outlet shopping mall (Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima)
    • Flower park (Nabana no Sato)
    • Hotels
  • 2+ hrs from Osaka

Near Tokyo:

Edoyu Onsen

  • On the pricer side offering a variety of baths and a variety of other services (massage, etc).
  • Open all night
  • Steps away from the A3 Exit of Ryougoku Metro station

Jakotsuyu Onsen

  • 5-10 minute walk from Kaminari Gate and Asakusa Shrine
  • The water is a brownish color and is medium hot, though not scalding. The inside bath is hotter than the outdoor one.
  • There’s also a “Denki Bath” (or Electricity Bath) and while the Japanese occasionally go for this, it’s entirely at your own risk.
  • Good for a first time introduction to Japanese onsen, especially if you are only in Japan for a short time
  • At peak times (such as early evening, this bath can be packed.
  • Authentic, reasonable prices and offers amenities for purchase if you forgot your own.

Asakusa Kannon Onsen

  • Located behind Asakusa Shrine
  • The brownish water is quite hot even for those well-accustomed to onsen temperatures
  • Simple and rustic
  • Bring your own amenities, such as soap, towels, and shampoo

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