A Guide To Tokyo's Best Bathing Spots
Onsen, or natural hot-springs, are a common occurrence in Tokyo due to the high volcanic activity. Niwa No Yu, although located next to the infamous Toshimaen amusement park, is agreed by popular choice to be the nicest of Tokyo's large-scale onsen bathing complexes. The bath house is designed by Kenzo Kosugi, a leading landscape architect in Tokyo, and is housed in a Japanese garden. Niwa No Yu has separate areas of male onsen and female onsen, a central pool, outdoor Jacuzzis for those seeking privacy, and a special Finnish-style sauna for couples to enjoy a relaxing bath together.
While the best time for visiting would be the cherry blossom season, when the branches of somei-yoshino trees that adorn the premises are laden in their finest floral glory, it is still worth a look at any time of the year due to its beautiful arrangements. Popular among tourists, especially those staying at Shinjuku Tokyo serviced apartments, the waters of this onsen bathhouse is not that different from the sodium chloride infused waters of other bathhouses in the city, but Somei Onsen Sakura filter their water to remove the not-too-attractive colour of water along with its smell.
Parting from the traditional bathhouses, Spa LaQua is a modern rendition of an onsen, a current structure found within the Dome City of Tokyo. This offers a wide range of modern facilities ranging from open-air rotenburo to bubbly massage baths to a multitude of beauty treatments to high-tech saunas in a separate Healing Baden wing. Spa LaQua is modern to the extent of being open all night through.
Although this place should be swarming with tourists, by all means, it is a place where calming seclusion can be found. Being around since the Edo period, the owners of Jakotsuyu have renovated the place a fair few times since its construction, which might cause some disappointment to the shitamachi "scholars", as the interior is now more functional and modern.
If an ailment is what has you down, Myojin no Yu is where you should go. This traditionally styled, attractive little bathhouse is renowned for its "netsu no yu" – meaning "hot waters" – which is believed to improve circulation and cure neuralgia, muscle pain, sore joints, sensitivity to cold and many other little troubles that you may have.
Travelling as a family, looking for an onsen bathhouse for the whole family? Then Kodai no Yu is the one for you. Although there is a bit of a hike to reach the bathhouse, the onsen complex located in Shin-Koiwa is considered one of the biggest in Tokyo. Not only does this stay open through the night, but it also has many modern facilities such as outdoor rotenburo, hinoki cypress tubs and family rooms for rent spread across three stories.
This is a deviation from the norm in that Rakutenchi Spa is a men-only facility. Located on the 9th floor of Rakutenchi entertainment complex in Kinshicho, less than half an hour from Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo, this is open 24-hours and mainly targets office workers. In addition to an onsen bath, a pair of saunas, three relaxation rooms complete with reclining chairs, they also have a handy offer of an opting for a wake-up call from the staff.