Tokyo is a bustling city full of action. But it’s also an ideal vacation spot to unwind and indulge in some serious rest and relaxation. Japan’s busiest city mixes modern and traditional like no other place on earth. You’ll find soaring sky scrapers and thousand year old temples mixed in effortlessly to the cityscape. You’ll also find natural hot springs known as onsen, offering a tranquil place to unwind amongst the chaos of the city.
Natural hot springs with mineral-rich and healing waters have been transformed into luxurious bath houses where you’ll want to spend the entire day relaxing. These bath houses are centuries old and offer delicious local cuisine to indulge in between all that soaking. Spending the day at a natural hot spring is a tranquil way to take in the local culture. Bath therapy is an important part of Japanese culture. You’ll also soak up healing properties that are sure to leave your skin glowing.
The heated waters are full of sulfur, calcium, magnesium and iron. The mineral-rich waters provide serious anti-aging and detoxifying benefits. While soaking in hot springs you’ll enjoy some health benefits, reducing chronic pain and inflammation, while you relax in these natural spas.
For your next trip, why not lay low in Tokyo? Here are the best natural hot springs for a rejuvenating Japanese vacation. You’ll head home with an actual lit from within glow.
1. Saya no Yudokoro
Saya is an ancient Japanese character that expresses a state of purity. Specifically a clear and resound sound or a fresh and vivid color. This Japanese hot spring couldn’t be named better. It’s a beautiful and quiet retreat in the center of Tokyo.
You’ll find beautiful private baths to soak in, dry saunas to steam in, body massages, a restaurant and a Japanese zen garden. The restaurant serves their famous Juwari Soba Noodles and also offers fresh, local dishes like sushi. You’ll also be able to dine while looking out onto the beautiful zen garden.
Make sure you study the list of bathing “rules” and regulations before entering though. Some of them include: no tattoos, no menstruating women in the changing rooms and no phones!
Address: 3-41-1 Maenocho, Itabashi-ku Tokyo
2. Niwa no Yu
Niwa no Yu Toshimaen is also known as Toshimaen Garden Spa. This hot spring is located right next to Toshimaen, one of Japan’s biggest amusement parks, but a world of relaxation is waiting inside. With indoor and outdoor bathing options, this spa is known to be one of the nicest hot spring locations in the city.
Aside from the baths, there are outdoor jacuzzis, a central pool, a Finnish style sauna, a restaurant and aromatherapy sessions. You can also find massage chairs with built in t.v’s indoors if that’s more your vibe. This place has enough to do that you can literally spend the whole day here.
Heads up, this bath house is split into male and female sections, but couples can intermingle in the saunas and jacuzzis. You also won’t find any screaming children here. No one under the age of 13 is allowed in, which means you’ll be able to relax to the fullest.
Pro tip: Go after 9pm and tickets are half priced.
Address: Koyama 3-25-1, Nerima-ku +81 (0) 3 3990 4126
3. Tokyo Somei Onsen Sakura
If the smell of sulfur that’s often found in natural hot springs bothers you, this is the spa for you. At the Somei Onsen Sakura spa they filtered the hot springs to remove the color and smell of the water without stripping the healing properties — what’s left is colorless transparent hot springs.
Visit this elegant facility during the spring time when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. You’ll enjoy these springs both indoors and outdoors. You’ll also find a restaurant with local cuisines, a stone sauna, beauty treatments and a salon.
Address: 5-4-24 Komagome, 170-0003, Tokyo Prefecture
4. Spa LaQua
Spa Laqua is one of the most modern bath houses. This sprawling spa is found inside the Tokyo Dome City and offers some truly unique beauty treatments. The hot spring water is pumped 1,700m underground and helps improve circulation and immunity.
This modern spa that draw on traditional bathing practices features a fitness center, healthy cafe, large lounge, massages, beauty treatments, a foaming foot bath and three types of saunas. Aside from the baths, you’ll find an array of high tech saunas and beauty treatments to indulge in here. If your looking to loose weight try the rock salt sauna known for boosting your metabolism.
To make your visit smoother check out Spa Laqua’s beginner’s guide. This spa is open all night, once you get the hang of the grounds you might not want to leave.
Address: 1-1-1 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo
5. Shirahone Onsen
If you want to enjoy a secluded hot spring in the beauty of nature head outside of Tokyo to the town of Shirahone. Shirone is known as a hot spring town because it boasts ten different sites with natural spring waters — all of which are known to have different healing properties.
Take in the sights of lush green forests, charming villages and the Yukawan Valley that surrounds these springs. There’s a saying in Japan that if you soak in the hot springs in Shirahone for 3 hours you won’t catch a cold for 3 years! The name “Shirahone” literally means white bone, which is close to the color of the milky blue hot spring water. The milky color is due to the extremely high levels of calcium and magnesium — serious immune boosting stuff. If you drink the water here, you could benefit from the water’s healing properties, and improve any gastrointestinal issues you may have.
If you thought this place couldn’t get any better, it does! Aside from the potentially life changing healing properties of the water and beautiful serene landscape, this hot spring is free! Yes 100% free. And open every single day.
Address: Shirahone Hot Spring, Matsumoto, Nagano
Have you been to a hot springs before? Where’d you take a little R&R? Let us know in the comments.