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Best Hot Springs in Japan

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Best Hot Springs in Japan

Hi Guys,

Looking to go to Japan in the last two weeks of June and wondering what your experiences are with their famous Onsen's.

Wouldn't mind one close to either Toyko or 3. Takayama.

Tia!

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1. Re: Best Hot Springs in Japan

I think it depends on how strict you are in your definition of onsen. There are a ton of public baths that run on heated tap water (sentos) in Japan. There are way fewer naturally-heated hot springs (onsens). This site explains the difference: japanbaths.info/blog/… I enjoyed both my sento and onsen experiences very much, but actually getting to the onsens was often quite difficult as they were kind of far away.

If you're mostly looking to experience the public bathing culture of Japan than pick your favorite sento in whatever city you're staying in and you'll have a great time. If you specifically want to sit in water heated by the ground, then you might want to make it a whole day trip. I did that to go to Arima with a friend when I was in Osaka and had a lot of fun, but ultimately it wasn't a drastically different experience than the neighborhood sentos. This site lists some with special markers for 1-day trips from Tokyo: www.secret-japan.com/onsen/location/japan.php

Whatever you do just remember to read up on your bathing etiquette before you go!

Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: Best Hot Springs in Japan

What is best depends on people. But the best ones aren't usually in or near Tokyo.

In Tokyo, you might go to Somei Onsen Sakura in Komagome/Sugamo: http://www.sakura-2005.com/facilities

Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba: http://www.ooedoonsen.jp/daiba/index.html

La Qua at Tokyo Dome: http://www.laqua.jp/pages/en/index.html

My most favorite day spa facility around Tokyo aren't actually natural onsens.

Raku Spa Tsurumi (shuttle bus from Kawasaki/Tsurumi):

rakuspa.com/assets/data/introduction_en.pdf

Osama no Ofuro at Oimachi Station: www.ousama2603.com/shop/ooimachi/index.html

Around Tokyo in the Kanto Region, with JR East's Kanto Area Pass, you might go to these day spa facilities (certified natural hot springs):

DHC Akazawa Onsen Higaeri-kan in Izu Kogen: http://top.dhc.co.jp/akazawa/onsenkan

Benifuji no Yu near Lake Yamanakako: http://www.benifuji.co.jp/contents/view

Yashio no Yu in Nikko Area or day spa plan at hotels in nearby Kinugawa Onsen Town:

http://www.kousha.or.jp/spa_yashio.php

www.kinugawa-kawaji.jp/english/spa.html

Kusatsu is often cited as "the" onsen town, the nice one you should visit at least once in a lifetime, as their traditional folk song says. You should visit at least overnight.

http://kusatsuonsen-international.jp/en

My most favorite onsen town is Kinosaki Onsen, accessed from Kyoto and Osaka:

kinosaki-spa.gr.jp/global/…hotspring.html

Kusatsu and Kinosaki are usually historically said to be the two top onsen towns. Add Gero and you have top 3s.

Shirahama is also a very popular onsen/beach resort in the Kansai Region:

http://www.shirahama-ryokan.jp/en

My recent hit was Sakunami Onsen Ichinobo between Sendai and Yamagata, but the Tohoku Region is full of equally nice onsen ryokans and facilities:

http://www.ichinobo.com/sakunami/dayspa

My best overall lifetime experience was at Wakura Onsen's top-notch Kagaya (which ranks usually around the top of Japan's ryokan rankings): www.japanican.com/en/hotel/detail/5343001

Wherever you go in Japan, you'd find onsen towns and facilities, normally if you go out of the big city area.

I have a magazine book with coupons on day-out hot springs around Kanto and it has information on over 1,000 onsen facilities in the area alone.

Edited: 19 May 2015, 18:24
3. Re: Best Hot Springs in Japan

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