RELAX IN TOKYO’S ONSEN

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The paradise of a hot spring bath Relax in Tokyo’s onsen Not only the Japanese but also foreign tourists love soaking in an onsen, or hot spring bath. Onsen resorts both famous and secret are scattered throughout Japan. Tokyo, too, is an onsen paradise all its own. This issue shines the spotlight on the delightful onsen right here in Tokyo. On top of Tokyo’s big three—black onsen easily accessible from the city center, sulfur onsen in the vast nature of the Tama area, and scenic outdoor sodium and calcium chloride onsen in the Izu Islands—we present onsen theme parks, sento bathhouses, and more. Delight in Tokyo’s premium mineral hot springs!

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  • Onsen in the city
  • Onsen in nature
  • Onsen in the islands

Black onsen for city fans

A prime example of hot springs in Tokyo is kuroyu, or black onsen. The color can range from blackish to pale brown depending on the concentration of humic acid, an organic matter that seeps into groundwater and forms the cold spring. The water is weak alkaline, known to make the skin feel soft and smooth. Sometimes it smells sweet, like brown sugar, and offers the benefit of enhanced relaxation. Black onsen dot the coastal area, in particular Ota-ku, where of 46 bathhouses some 20 feature black water. The Kamata neighborhood, accessible from Haneda Airport and Shinagawa Station, is Tokyo’s very own black onsen resort.

Nu-land Sagami-yu

Nu-land Sagami-yu offers eight types of bath including a large kuroyu bath, roten-buro (outdoor bath), jet bath, and denki-buro (“electricity bath”). The main attraction is the black onsen, consisting of quality natural mineral water recognized to be beneficial for various conditions, from nerve pain to joint pain, sensitivity to cold, and chronic ailments. The facility comes complete with a rest space, massage room, and restaurant, and regularly organizes shows and events.

Address 2-7-5 Naka Rokugo, Ota-ku, Tokyo
Telephone Number 03-3739-1126
URL http://www.nu-land.com/( External link ) (Japanese)

Kamata Onsen

Kamata Onsen draws sodium bicarbonate saline (sodium bicarbonate) water, which works to neutralize acid skin and wash away dead cells, leaving the skin smooth and glossy. There are two baths of kuroyu—hot, and lukewarm for guests who prefer a lower temperature—as well as other amenities including a sauna and electricity bath. On the second floor is a rest space (large hall) where guests can take meals and sing karaoke.

Address 2-23-2 Kamata Honcho, Ota-ku, Tokyo
Telephone Number 03-3732-1126
URL http://homepage2.nifty.com/kamata-onsen/( External link ) (Japanese)

You City Kamata

You City Kamata pumps water directly from 120 meters underground and heats it for the kuroyu bath. The blackish brown water works to make the skin smooth and glossy, and warm up the entire body. On top of the outdoor kuroyu bath, a sauna, Jacuzzi, electricity bath, and utase-yu (waterfall bath) help to heal fatigue. The facility comes complete with a massage room and a hall for taking meals and singing karaoke.

Address 1-26-16 Kamata, Ota-ku, Tokyo
Telephone Number 03-5711-1126
URL http://youcity.sakura.ne.jp/( External link ) (Japanese)

Spa & Hotel Nagomi

Nagomi is an onsen hotel offering a natural kuroyu bath and ganbanyoku (hot stone spa). The large bathing area comes complete with an outdoor bath, Jacuzzi, large tub of gensen kakenagashi (unrecycled, untreated water directly from the source), and cold bath. The sodium bicarbonate saline water leaves the skin beautiful and helps the body retain temperature—so much so that it’s called the onsen of warmth. The facility has a total 16 guestrooms. Those with a private tub drawing fresh water are especially popular.

Address 7-4-12 Nishi Kamata, Ota-ku, Tokyo
Telephone Number 03-5710-2222
URL http://www.spa-nagomi.com/( External link ) (Japanese)

Check this out! Local cuisine


Photo courtesy of : Ota City Office

Winged gyoza dumplings

Visitors to a black onsen in the Kamata neighborhood are recommended to try winged gyoza dumplings. The “wings” are wheat flour (or potato starch flour) mixed with water, which forms a skin to connect the dumplings. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, the local specialty promises to make you crave for more.

Sulfur onsen in the Tama area for nature fans

The Tama area in western Tokyo retains stretches of vast nature ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and mountaineering. Plus, there are plenty of quality hot springs. Of the various water qualities, the most popular is the io (sulfur) onsen. Sulfur onsen are generally known for the distinctive odor of rotting eggs. But those in Tama are simple sulfur onsen that contain no hydrogen sulfide, so the smell isn’t too strong. The highlight is roten-buro (outdoor baths) commanding a view of nothing but the pristine nature. Get ready to pack a bag. Here are some onsen tucked away in the un-Tokyoesque beauty of nature in the Tama area.

Moegi-no-yu

Moegi-no-yu uses water from Okutama Onsen, bubbling up from the Paleozoic strata known to be the oldest layer of soil in Japan. The alkaline water with fluorine and metaboric acid is drawn directly from the source. The outdoor bath within earshot of the pleasant murmur of the Tamagawa River, as well as the indoor bath windows, offer a view of the magnificent mountains of Okutama. All this is only a 10-minute walk from Okutama Station on the JR Ome Line.

Address 119-1 Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo
Telephone Number 0428-82-7770
URL http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/okutama/spot/10001.html

Tsurutsuru Onsen

Tsurutsuru Onsen is recognizable for the lodge-style building standing upstream of the Hirai River dissecting Hinode-machi. The transparent, colorless, odorless water of the simple alkaline onsen is pumped from 1,500 meters underground. The high alkalinity makes the skin smooth and glossy, true to the name Tsurutsuru. Two indoor baths alternate between men only and women only every day: the Japanese-style Bijin-no-yu (onsen for beauties) and Western-style Shogai Seishun-no-yu (onsen for lifelong youth). Both men and women are welcome to enjoy the outdoor bath.

Address 4718 Oguno, Hinode-machi, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo
Telephone Number 042-597-1126
URL http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/hinode/spot/10005.html

Hinohara Onsen Center Kazuma-no-yu

Hinohara-mura has an array of hiking and mountaineering trails for novices and seasoned climbers alike. Kazuma-no-yu is a public onsen in this village. The simple alkaline water in the outdoor bath looking out on the mountains, the jet bath, the Jacuzzi, and more promise to blow away fatigue. The facility is equipped with a restaurant, massage room, and onsen stand where guests can purchase spring water at a reasonable price.

Address 2430 Hinohara-mura, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo
Telephone Number 042-598-6789
URL http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/hinohara/spot/10006.html

Akigawa Gorge Seoto-no-yu

Seoto-no-yu sources water from Jurigi-Nagatake Onsen. The high alkalinity of water pumped from 1,500 meters underground is famous for making the skin beautiful. Luxuriate in the indoor bath using unrecycled fresh water, or in the outdoor bath taking in the fresh scent of the woods by day and the star-studded sky by night. The facility also offers cottages and a restaurant in this splendid location in the Akigawa Gorge in the depth of the mountains.

Address 565 Otsu, Akiruno-shi, Tokyo
Telephone Number 042-595-2614
URL http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/akiruno/spot/s_1023.html

Check this out! Local cuisine


Photo courtesy of : Okutama Tourist Association

Handmade soba noodles

Situated upstream of the Tamagawa River, the Tama area is abundant in fresh, delicious water. Every district uses it in the local cuisine. Perhaps the most famous is the Okutama-machi specialty. Inaka soba (country soba) noodles made with time-honored methods have a strong aroma and simple flavor.

Scenic outdoor onsen in a remote island for marine activity fans

Tokyo’s Izu Islands comprise a hundred islands both big and small. The nine inhabited islands are accessible from the city center via ferry and airplane. Although the Izu Islands are best known as a Mecca for scuba divers and marine sports enthusiasts, they are also a treasure trove of onsen. The spring water with a high content of sodium chloride is said to be beneficial for various conditions including nerve pain, cuts, and chronic ailments. The greatest highlight, though, is the location. All roten-buro (outdoor baths) overlook the ocean, offering a stunning view of the sky and sea tinted vermillion by the sunset, and later the starlit sky.

Jinata Onsen

Jinata Onsen is a secluded hot spring on Shikinejima Island. It wells up on a coastal inlet that looks like it was struck by a hatchet, hence the name Jinata (hatchet land). The water reaches temperatures of around 80ºC, but mixes with seawater to become just right for bathing. For its beneficial effects on sensitivity to cold, nerve pain, and even gastrointestinal disorders, the strong sodium chloride onsen has earned the moniker onsen of internal medicine. The site is open free of charge 24/7 (swimsuit required).

Address 1006 Shikinejima, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Telephone Number 04992-7-0004(Shikinejima Branch, Nijima Village Office)
URL http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/other/spot/10031.html

Yunohama Roten Onsen

Yunohama Roten Onsen is a popular destination on the coast of Niijima Island, comprising six ancient Greek-style outdoor baths of varying sizes. The site is open free of charge 24/7 (swimsuit required). The starlit sky is breathtaking particularly from Tembo-no-yu (observatory bath; July–September only). Both bathing in and drinking from the strong sodium chloride onsen are said to be beneficial for chronic constipation.

Address Setoyama, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Telephone Number 04992-5-0284(Industrial Tourism Sec.,Nijima Village Office)
URL http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/niijima/spot/10032.html

Kozushima Onsen Recreation Center

Kozushima Onsen Recreation Center features an outdoor bath built into natural rock (swimsuit required). Measuring 275 square meters, the bath is the largest in Japan. The liberating setting offers a panorama of the ocean. Take in the majestic view of the horizon tinted red at sunset and the star-studded sky at night. The strong sodium chloride onsen is beneficial for conditions including nerve pain and sensitivity to cold.

Address 1-1 Sabisaki, Kozushima-mura, Tokyo
Telephone Number 04992-8-1376
URL http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/kouzushima/spot/s_1026.html

Motomachi Hama-no-yu

Motomachi Hama-no-yu is a public onsen by Motomachi Port in Oshima Island. The sodium and calcium chloride spring was officially designated an onsen when the well temperature rose owing to the 1986 eruption of Mt. Mihara. There is no indoor bath. The only outdoor bath for both men and women (swimsuit required) offers a magnificent view of the ocean. The sea and sky tined madder red at sunset are particularly picturesque.

Address 882 Motomachi Tonchibata, Oshima-machi, Tokyo
Telephone Number 04992-2-1446(Industrial Tourism Sec., Oshima Village Office)
URL http://www.town.oshima.tokyo.jp/highlight/hamanoyu.html( External link ) (Japanese)

Check this out! Local cuisine


Photo courtesy of : Oshima Town Office

Shima-zushi

Shima-zushi (island sushi) is a signature dish of the Izu Islands, and especially Hachijojima Island. Locally caught fish like striped jack, greater amberjack, and sea bream are marinated in soy sauce and combined with vinegared rice stronger in flavor than customary. The delicacy is served not with wasabi but with karashi mustard or green chili pepper.

* Note that some facilities ban entry to individuals with tattoos,
related to organized crime groups, and who are intoxicated.

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