This blog is about travelling through Japan on a foldable bicycle (Brompton) but also by train, ferry, plane, bus or any other transport, if sea, weather, mountains or the like come between me and my desire to ride.
I have tried to summarise information that could be potentially helpful also for other bicycle travellers through Japan, such as list of bicycle roads, helpful web pages etc. Once I start my ride, I will upload the actual routes taken, together with some pictures and description.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Onsen ranking

Bicycle touring Japan - Onsen ranking

Here a ranking (totally subjective) of all onsen I went to. I will update this list as I go along. The list is roughly in North - South direction, as my tour of Japan brought me to them. 

The ranking is from 0 ✰ = avoid to 5 ✰✰✰✰✰ = one of the best

Click here for a definition of rotenburo, if you are not familiar with this term.

Super-sento are kind of onsen amusement parks. Some of them have real onsen water, others heated normal water. You can normally find them in bigger cities, they come with large parking lots and often a shuttle bus to the closest railway station. They are not romantic, but often have a lot of different tubs both inside and outside. Plus facilities such as restaurants, massage, beauty treatments...

While a sento is a local community bath house. Often without any rotenburo, sometimes with one inside pool only. Sometimes with traditional paintings on the wall. Generally with just heated water, but occasionally also with natural spring water. 


✰✰ = don`t miss, make a detour to get there
  • Osorezan. If you ever wanted to bath right besides a Buddhist temple and monastry in one of Japan's 3 most sacred places, in the hot, acidic water coming directly from a volcano, well, then don't miss Osorezan. 
    • Aomori, Mount Osore
    • See here & here for the description of the ride.
  • (Shin) Tamagawa onsen
    • The onsen building is like a cathedral for bathing. The entire building (including floor tiles) made out of wood because the water is at pH 1.2 and everything else but wood just corrodes away. 
    • The main tub in the centre is at pH 1.2, but a very comfortable temperature. Additionally there are tubs with 50% diluted water, a walking tub, a waterfall shower, a seat, 3 steam boxes, sauna and one rotenburo. 
    • The rotenburo however isn't the most interesting part, specially considering that one is in such a particular landscape, one doesn't actually get to see any of it from the rotenburo. 
    • We went to the Shin Tamagawa onsen, there is also the older Tamagawa onsen close by. Both use the same water. 
    • Shin Tamagawa is a huge onsen hotel complex. But surprisingly the onsen itself was never crowded. 
    • Akita, Tamagawa Onsen
  • Fukenoyu
    • This is a very rural onsen in the middle of a breathtaking landscape (sometimes even literally breathtaking as in some places, but not very close to this onsen, toxic volcanic gases are emitted)
    • It has an internal bath with a rotenburo attached to it, which we did NOT visit
    • We visited instead the outdoor pools that are in the valley infront of the onsen building. There is a male, female and a mixed section. 
    • The female section is one tub with steam coming out of the earth right behind it.
    • The mixed section has 4 different tubs with different temperature of water. All the water is gray and full of mud. Which is the point of this onsen. The temperature varies according to the day (I think depending on rain, weather...). 
    • The view from it is really great in the middle of this volcanic landscape
    • Akita, Hachimantai
  • Nyuto onsen - Tsuru no yu 
    • This is an entire, small, valley full of onsen hotels. I don't think that you can actually call it a village, but just a collection of onsen. I went to the most famous one, Tsuru no yu onsen. It is right in the middle of a mountain and, at least for women there are 3 rotenburo plus one mixed rotenburo, plus 3 indoor pools. 
    • Akita, Nyuto Onsen
    • See here for a description of the experience
  • Kuronagi onsen. 
    • This is a small ryokan in the Kurobe gorge, only reachable through a small footpath from Kuronagi station (on the Kurobe railway). You can either stay in the ryokan, and will be right above the river, possibly even facing the waterfall, or you can come only for a day-time onsening. There is one big pool outside besides the river. This one is not gender segregated (unless you are staying in the ryokan, than there are two hours early in the morning and after dinner where it is women-only). But there is also a second, smaller rotenburo for women only, overlooking the river directly and even having a makeshift roof, to protect you from any possible rain. 
    • There are more onsen up at Keiyadaira, but I have not tried them. 
    • Toyama, Kuronagi onsen
    • See here & here for a description of the experience
  • Hirayu onsen. This is actually a number of villages above Takayama that are famous for their rotenburos. So ideal for me. I specifically went to the Hirayu no mori, which is both a hotel and a day-trip onsen. It is conveniently located right next to the bus stop, but the main attraction without any doubt are the 9 (!) different rotenburos (in the men's section it is down to "only" 7)
    • Gifu, Hirayu onsen
    • See here & here for a description of the experience
  • Kurokawa onsen. This is an entire village full of onsen (and little else). You can get a 3-onsen pass and hop from one pool to the next. We visited 4 and I think the best of all was Yama-Mizu-Ki 山みず木, where you can relax in a rotenburo in the middle of a forest with a small river flowing by and even some small waterfalls. 
    • Kumamoto, Kurokawa onsen village

✰✰ = great
  • New Chitose Airport onsen, this onsen is located right inside the New Chitose airport. The 4 stars are earned by location, location and location! The onsen itself is nice, but nothing specially. A modern onsen, with all the amenities you can wish for and a rotenburo with two pools (both at the same temperature), but the location is great. Specially for cyclists arriving at the airport after a day on the bike. 
    • Hokkaido, inside New Chitose airport
    • See here for the description of the ride.
  • Ashikaga Kenko Land is a somewhat old style super sento, but with a lot of rotenburos. I think 4 or 5 different ones. Plus some tubs inside and even a swimming pool inside (but in the onsen area... I haven't tried it, not sure if you are supposed to swim naked... probably yes, as it was really just an other tub in the onsen area. There was also a very curious collagen room with red light. I have no idea why red light should be good for your body (it didn't seem to be infrared light), but well, definitely a strange thing. 
    • Ibakarki, Ashikaga
    • See here for the description of the ride.
  • Narita View Hotel, this is as far as I have found the only onsen with a big rotenburo area right around Narita airport. The hotel rooms are okay (just your typical, enormous hotel complex), but it has a real onsen area, with a big tub inside, a sauna and (at least in the female part) 3 different tubs with different quality of water at different temperature outside. One cannot see the airplanes from there, but it is an extremely relaxing atmosphere. Definitely my choice for any night close to Narita airport before a morning departure. 
    • Chiba, Narita
  • Uta-no-yu, is a super sento with a small forrest around. From outside it is just your typical supersento in the middle of a built up area, but they left a little bit of vegetation, so you can lie in the water and gaze into some trees and bamboo. Much more nature than you see from most other super-sentos. It has something like 5 or 6 outdoor pools, including one to lie down with different water depths, one with oxygenated water and the others with a yellowish water. There is also a small internal Japanese garden with a foot spa. 
    • Saitama, close to Tobu-Dobutsuen station
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Yumorinosato, this is probably one of the best onsen experiences close to Tokyo. It is obviously not like being in the middle of a forest but if you just want to relax a few hours and not travel anywhere, this one is great. If you have time you can even do some sightseeing at the temple complex right behind this onsen. 
    • Tokyo, Chofu
  • Tombo no yu is a somewhat upscale public onsen in Hoshino area of Karuizawa. It features one large and quite hot indoor pool and an other large and not so hot outdoor pool with different levels. From sitting deep in the water to very shallow water where you can actually just lie down. Additionally there is a sauna outside a cold water tub. The building has an interesting architecture specially from outside and in the rotenburo one is surrounded by the close-by trees from a wood. 
    • Nagano, Karuizawa
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Imaihama onsen is a small onsen town close to Kawazu onsen, which has several big onsen hotels, but the real attraction is the small natural onsen on the cliffs above the Pacific ocean. It only has one rotenburo tub (gender separated), but what a view! There was also an other onsen that we did NOT visit (as it was already closed) in Hokkawa where we stayed for the night. This looks also absolutely fantastic. A onsen right on the shore of a stony beach: https://www.hokkawa-onsen.com/kurone And an other one just 1 km up the coast in Okawa (大川観光協会磯の湯), which doesn't even have a web page, but can be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/dcuuc3o2QAcD7JsBA
    • Shizuoka, Imaihama onsen (and Hokkawa onsen and Okawa)
    • See here for a description of the ride and pictures with the view
  • Moku Moku onsen is a very nice onsen with around an area for BBQ and vegetable & fruit shopping. The onsen itself was really nice, with 3 tubs outside. One with relatively lukewarm, greenish onsen water and the other two with hotter water. When I went, one did have a bunch of apples in them for the aroma. But the nice thing is the green lush vegetation around.
    • Mie, Iga Ueno
    • See here for a description of the ride
  • Kurama onsen, in a narrow valley just outside of Kyoto, and easily reachable by public transport (plus there is a shuttle bus from the train station to the onsen), this is an onsen surrounded by nature. It seems to be relatively well knowns by foreigners. When I went about half of the guests were foreigners, but it is still a great place with one big rotenburo in the woods and a small, quite new inside pool. It also combines perfectly with a visit to Kurama temple. There is also an other inside onsen, but it is separated from rotenburo one. So I did not go there. 
    • Kyoto, Kurama
  • Tenzan no yu, is a super sento with specially nice traditional architecture in the rotenburo area, recreating a Japanese shrine. When I went, a weekend in February, it was not terribly full. But being in Arashiyama and being popular with foreign tourists, I can imagine that in a more touristy season it can become way too crowded. But my judgement is based on my February 2019 experience, which was great.
    • Kyoto, Arashiyama
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Gokuraku yu is a super sento just outside of Kishibe station reasonably close to Osaka and a good stop after riding up and down Yodogawa river, before returning to Shin-Osaka. It is slightly more modern than the super-sento of the same chain in Amagasaki described below. The rotenburo section has 5 different tubs plus a place where to lie down on stone slabs over which hot water is running. Very relaxing. Also all the pools outside are under a roof, so ideal also for rainy weather. 
    • Osaka, Kishibe
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Takaranoyu, is somewhere between a supersento and a proper onsen in the hills around Osaka and close enough to Arima onsen to have, according to the description in one of the hot tubs, the same water as in the famous Arima onsen. This onsen here is really dedicated to rotenburo. If I remember correctly there was only one tub inside, but outside there were maybe around 6 different pools. 3 of them had the famous light brownish water in different temperatures. 
    • Hyogo, Nakayamadera
    • See here for a description of the ride

3 ✰✰✰ = quite okay
  • Asahi onsen, relatively nice in the country side, but view could be even better. Only 1 rotenburo. 
    • Hokkaido, close to Enbetsu
    • See here for the description of the ride.
  • Yu no hana, is a onsen in Otaru along the coast, but without views. I went in winter and the one rotenburo was quite enjoyable in the cold air and with views on the snow in the rest of the garden. Plus inside there are more pools. It is easy to reach by bus from the station in Otaru, or alternatively they also have a free shuttle bus at some time points along the day. 
    • Hokkaido, Otaru
  • Hiyama sansou, is a very basic hotel (well, it is more like a pension) with a public onsen right next to it. 
    • The public onsen heavily publicize the fact that they have a onsen in which one can swim. Well, yes and no. It is a large pool, but too shallow for real swimming. Plus it is at onsen temperature... Additionally there is a small indoor pool and two outdoor pools at different tempreature. 
    • The view COULD be very nice, as it is in the middle of the mountains, but due to the fences around the onsen it is actually not that nice.
    • Also the installations are quite outdated and a bit dirty.
    • The hotel itself also has an onsen for staying guests only. The female section is indoors only, while the men get an indoor and outdoor pool. As we were staying alone, I got permission to go to the male section and enjoyed the outdoor pool which has a great view. 
    • Yamagata, Akakura Onsen
  • Tamagawa no yu, is a traditional sento in Tochigi city, which is still quite old style and instead of a Mount Fuji picture on the wall has fish on the wall and even an aquarium in the wall. So you can take a soak while watching gold fish having their swim. 
    • Tochigi, Tochigi
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Utsukushi-no-yu, is a onsen/super-sento in the outskirts of Tokyo. Actually one of the first onsen I went to. Very conveniently located right besides Takaido station on the Inokashira line. For cyclists also interesting, if riding along the river out from Shinjuku to Kichijoji. It has 3 rotenburo, two with very dark water and one with weekly (?) changing "special" water. Plus several indoor pools. 
    • Tokyo, close to Takaido station
    • See here for a map of a ride passing close by. 
  • Ofuro no Osama Oimachi, is a super-sento right outside of Oimachi station. It is your typical large super sento, you can hear the trains pass by and soak in several outdoor pools. One is a lie-down pool.
    • Tokyo, Oimachi station
  • Ofuro no Osaka Hanakoganei, is a super-sento of the same chain as above right on the cycling lane that connects Kichioji with Sayama lake. So in a very strategic position. It is the typical super sento with 4 outside tubs plus a place where to lie outside in the water. 
    • Tokyo, Hanakoganei
    • See here for a description of one of the rides. 
  • Sakura, is a quite elegant onsen / super-sento in Tokyo close to Rikugien garden. It has several outdoor tubs as well as some indoor. The most elegant part is probably the restaurant, which is a bit zen like. 
    • Tokyo, close to Komagome station 
    • See here for a description of the ride
  • Yukaisoukai, this onsen again is quite close to Tokyo and ideal to relax if you don't want to go too far. For me the best feature of it are the stone beds over which hot water is flowing. Perfect to relax. There is also a very hot pool outside and an other with more "tolerable" temperature. The water is very dark and leaves your skin with a nice smooth feeling. 
    • Kanagawa, close to Kurihira station
  • Kozashibuya, an other onsen close to Tokyo (actually ideally located on the way back from Enoshima to Tokyo), just 1 min from the station. The onsen is located on the 5th floor of a building, so not in itself a romantic location, but with good weather you can see Fuji-san in the distance while soaking. And they have a lot of out-door pools. 
    • Kanagawa, right outside of Kozashibuya station
  • Akazawa Onsen is a day spa in a quite high class onsen resort in Izu peninsula. There was a apparently very expensive restaurant and hotel that we passed first with the shuttle bus, before it dropped us at the last stop, the day-spa. Which was relatively normal and only had one rotenburo (very large though). The rotenburo must have a very nice view over the Pacific ocean... but I went in the evening so could not enjoy it. 
    • Shizuoka, Akazawa
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Chomei Zuikaku onsen is a newly built onsen, which I actually would call super-sento. It has two rotenburo pools that are rather small and both quite hot. Not unbearable but nothing to soak for a long time. Inside there are more pools with different temperatures. It is located right below Chomei temple on the coast of Biwa lake, but does not use this view at all, what a pity. 
    • Shiga, Omi-Hachiman 
    • See here for a description of the experience.
  • Hotaru no yu is a super-sento in Moriyama along Lake Biwa. It is in your typical, ugly super-sento place, surrounded by a large carpark, auto dealers, pachinko palors etc. However, once you are inside, you actually, and quite surprisingly knowing how the surroundings looked like from the outside, you get a relatively nice nature view from the rotenburo. There is a small Japanese garden, but there are also some trees outside into which you look. Overall the bathing area is quite spacious with separated areas for separate pools. The rotenburo area consists of 1 pool plus a lie down pool where you lie down in the hot water on tatamis (!)
    • Shiga, Moriyama
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Ichi no Yuiga, is an old sento faming itself for remaining like in Showa period. But probably the most intriguing feature is the big neon sign (apparently also already quite old) attracting new customer. The sento itself, is old (Showa area'is) in the dressing room. In the bath it seemed a little bit more modern, but not MODERN in itself.
    • Mie, Iga Ueno
    • See here for a description of the ride and a picture of the entrance.
  • Fu Fu no yo seems to be pretty newly built onsen right besides the river in Arashiyama, however without view of the river, because there are buildings right opposite. It has 2 indoor tubs and 1 big outdoor tub, plus 2 saunas and a cold water tub outside. When I went (on a Saturday in early September) it was remarkably empty for a touristic spot like Arashiyama. It is simply very relaxing to spend some time in the onsen after exploring Arashiyama. The onsen does not have a restaurant, but it does have a rest area. 
    • Kyoto, Arashiyama
    • See here for a description of the experience.
  • Naniwa-no-yu, is a super sento in Osaka city. It has quite a number of rotenburos and also several indoor pools. It is on the top floor of a pachinko parlour/parking house in a residentical neighbourhood of Osaka and seems to be very popular with local families. The best about this one, for me, are the hot water lying baths, very similar to the ones in Kurihira in Kanagawa prefecture mentioned above. 
    • Osaka, Osaka city
  • Shinshu onsen Arugo, is an other super-sento in Osaka city on a river and close to Mikuni station. It is in a shopping mall / pachinko parlour kind of area on the top floor of one of the buildings. Theoretically it overlooks the river, but practically you are not offered the view. It has a good number of rotenburos as well as several indoor pools. The first time I was there, the wind was quite strong and thus in the rotenburos it was actually a bit too cold to sit comfortably and soak. (I went again in February 2019 on a less windy night, and appreciated that there are 4 different rotenburos, plus a cold pool outside. Actually this onsen is totally dedicated to rotenburo, as inside there are only 2 pools. So far among the super-sentos in Osaka, this is my prefered option)
    • Osaka, Osaka city
    • See here for a ride that ended at that onsen. 
  • Nobeha no yu, yet another super-sento in Osaka, this one closer to Nanba.  Similar to the two above, but additionally also has family onsen rooms for rent, which I obviously didn't try out. No view, but the sound of the passing train. 5 different rotenburo, including one cold one, 2 or maybe 3 saunas and a relatively small indoor area. The only minus specially compared to Naniwa no yu, was that the rest area in the rotenburo part is too well covered, so the cool air doesn't reach there very well. 
    • Osaka, Osaka city
    • See here for a description of the ride 
  • Hinata no yu, is very close to Shin-Osaka station, and like a small super-sento, but with a quite large rotenburo area with 4 different pools outside. However the food in the restaurant was not very good. 
    • Osaka, Osaka city
  • Mangetsu onsen, is very close to Kamishinjo station in Osaka. It's somewhere between a super-sento and a sento. For a sento it is too big and too modern. For a super sento it is too small. Actually it is quite similar in size to Hinata no yu (see above). It has 2 pools outside, one with onsen water (apparently found right below the onsen) and the other one, at least when I was there, with sparkling water. In general it was a quite relaxing atmosphere, but as I normally stay in Shin Osaka, for me Hinata no yu is better accessible, and I like it a big more (plus it has 4 pools outside as opposed to only 2). 
    • Osaka, Osaka city
  • Banpaku Oyuba, is a supersento at the fringe of the Banpaku Kinen Park in Osaka. It has a rather large outdoor section and actually gets some views into the nature (plus some views on high voltage pylons), but hey, the other supersento's I have tried so far in Osaka get no views at all. The rotenburo area consists of 4 different pools with different types of water, including one pool that was luke warm, which was a nice change from the hotter ones (none is terribly hot though). 
    • Osaka, Osaka city
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Mangetsu, is a small supersento right outside of Kamishinjo station in the outskirts of Osaka. It is a quite elegant onsen, but relatively small. One tub inside if I remember correctly and two outside. One of the rotenburos was with sparkling water and at a temperature that I could stay easily for a very long time. 
    • Osaka, Osaka city
  • Ogiyu sento is a traditional sento in Naramachi. Actually in Nara city there are still several sentos around. My hostel recommended this one and it was definitely very traditional, including a traditional (maybe European?) landscape on the wall. Traditional also meant one big pool with very deep water on one side and more normal sitting water on the other end. It felt a bit like time travel, but not as much as the next sento in Yamatoyagi below.
    • Nara, Nara city
    • See here for a description of the experience and a photo of the landscape. 
  • Yurara no yu is a super sento in the outskirts of Nara, but not too far from the city center by bicycle. It has one big pool outside with natural onsen water plus some jets for a shoulder massage. Inside it has several more tubs with various water temperature and a lot of jets. Plus I think there were 3 saunas. The outside area is nicely decorated.
    • Nara, Nara city
    • Click here for a description of the ride
  • Shifuku yu is an other even more traditional sento in Yamatoyagi. Here really nothing has changed since at least the 1950s. The owner, the guests, the bath, the lockers, the massage chairs and - last but not least - the hair dryer. The sento itself has one big pool, again quite deep, this time including some massaging jet steams and also an electrical current part (denkiburo). The pool area is not nicely decorated, but the changing room was really (an other) time travel. 
    • Nara, Yamatoyagi
    • Checkout the pictures of the hair dryer chair here
  • Asuka no yu instead is a super-sento with 2 outdoor pools plus 2 tubs outside. One of the outdoor pool even has a grotto, which reminded me of a fantasy film, something like Indiana Jones, where you have grottoes with monsters... I luckily did not get eaten by any lingering Kappa or other Japanese monster. Inside there are an other 4 bath tubs. 
    • Nara, Yamatoyagi
    • See here and here for a description of the experience. 
  • Hanayama onsen is an onsen with very mineralic, light brown water. The rotenburo area is small, but this onsen has one pecularity: a 26 C tub inside, along side with tubs of the same water at 41 C and 37 C plus 3 other tabs with normal water. 
    • Wakayama, Wakayama
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Gokuraku-yu is a slightly older super-sento close to Amagasaki station. It doesn't have shampoo and soap in the washing area, but you can buy at the entrance. The rotenburo area has 3 different pools, from all of which one can watch the same TV. The water is normal water, although one of the pools claims to recreate a famous onsen from somewhere in Japan (it changes occassionally). 
    • Hyogo, Amagasaki
    • See here for a description of the ride. 
  • Mare Gracia is a super-sento like onsen right on the coast of Omishima. It has 4 different rotenburos, including one for walking and one from where you can see the sea and the islands around you (through a fence). Inside there is also a salt water hot pool.
    • Ehime, Omishima
    • See here for a description of the experience. 
  • Saga Pokapoka onsen is a super-sento, with 4 rotenburos, including a lie down one. When I was there it was bursting with mothers and their children. 
    • Saga, Saga city
    • See here for a description of the experience. 
  • Hotel Routeinn Grantia is a semi-Japanese style hotel with a day-spa onsen attached. It has 3 rotenburos including one to lie in shallow water. The water in the rotenburos however were just slightly too lukewarm to be perfect and it seemed that all 3 had more or less the same temperature. 
    • Fukuoka, Dazaifu
    • See here & here or a description of the experience. 
  • Namiha onsen, is an other super-sento onsen, right in the harbour of Fukuoka city. It has 4 rotenburos and two pools inside. No sight. 
    • Fukuoka, Fukuoka city
    • See here for a description of the experience.

2 ✰✰ = okay for a soak
  • Wakkanai onsen, could have a very nice view over the sea and the Rishirin islands, but actually the view is closed, probably due to the road and houses close by. Only 1 rotenburo. 
    • Hokkaido, Fujimi on the opposite side of Wakkanai
    • See here for the description of the ride.
  • Sunset Plaza onsen, quite outdated and could benefit from some maintenance work. But has a nice rotenburo (1 only), with a view in small Japanese garden, and a temperature that invites to soak for a long time. 
    • Hokkaido, Haboro
    • See here for the description of the ride.
  • Nyuto onsen - Ogama onsen
    • This is an entire, small, valley full of onsen hotels. I don't think that you can actually call it a village, but just a collection of onsen. See above for Tsuru no yu, but I also went to Ogama onsen. It has two (but when I was there only one was in operation) rotenburos in the female section. No special view, but outside in the nature. The problem was that the water outside was so hot, that it was hard to enjoy it. The indoor pool had a more enjoyable temperature.  
    • Akita, Nyuto Onsen
    • See here for a description of the experience
  • Ogi onsen, this is a small onsen with an associated B&B (well, I call it B&B, but they also do dinner). It has two pools inside (one with cold water) and one rotenburo. The water overall is not very hot. Inside at first it feels a bit too lukewarm, but the good thing is that you can stay in that water for a long time, and then you get warm. At that point one can get outside in the rotenburo, where the water is even less warm. If you sit close to the hot water entry and you are already warmed then the rotenburo is fine. Maybe it is more enjoyable in summer. The building is also relatively nice.
    • Niigata, Sado Island, Ogi
    • See here for a description of the ride
  • Genkijin onsen hotel, this is a city onsen (well, more like a super sento) with a business hotel attached. It is in a busy outskirt area of Naoetsu surrounded by gasoline stations, big shopping malls, car sellers etc. The onsen itself has 2 indoor pools of rather peculiar water. Both are with herbs, one with some more discreet herbal scent (but very hot) and the other one (at a more bearable temperature) is full of traditional Chinese herbal medicine and it feels a little bit like sitting in a mixture of a herbal tea and a chicken soup. No rotenburo though. 
    • Niigata, Naoetsu 
    • See here for a description of the ride
  • Iioka Shiosai onsen hotel, this is a hotel with a small onsen with very dark water and only 1 indoor pool. Right on the beach front of Asahi city in Chiba prefecture. The entire area was hit by the 2011 tsunami and now one of the hotel rooms (likely an old restaurant or bar) is used as a tsunami museum with pictures with the tsunami hitting the land and the recover works. 
    • Chiba, Asahi city
  • Oedo Onsen is more like a Disney park than a real onsen, at least in the common areas. One first needs to change into a yukata (provided) and then gets into the common area, which is build to resemble old Edo. And looks a bit like in the Tokyo History museum. In that area are all the restaurants, but when I went it was quite crowded and not so enjoyable. The actual onsen area then is gender separated and quite large (but I think only 1 or 2 rotenburos) and more surprisingly, not so much decorated as the common area. There is a gender mixed footbath as well. I remember it being quite expensive and really just went once, as it is not my idea of onsen. 
    • Tokyo, Odaiba
  • Shimizuyu is a sento in Shinagawa. The strong point of this sento is it's two rotenburos plus a small relaxing area outside. It is a sento, not a super-sento, so relatively small, but it was recently entirely refurbished and is definitely larger than some other sento's I have seen. I wouldn't go there specifically (unless with the friends from NPC), but if in the neighbourhood, it's definitely a nice sento. 
    • Tokyo, Shinagawa
    • See here for a description of a ride with the NPC
  • Daisan tama no yu, is a sento in Shinjuku district, in Kagurazaka. It has recently been renovated and now (at least in the female section) sports: a hot tub, one slightly cooler with carbonated water, a mist sauna, a normal sauna and a cold water pool. The building from the structure seems to be a traditional old bathhouse and it has been nicely renovated.
    • Tokyo, Shinjuku
    • See here for a description of the ride
  • Niwa-no-yu, is a supersento close to Toshimaen station which has a a onsen part (naked/gender segragated) but also a swimming suit, non segragated part. I only went to the pure onsen part as I didn't bring a swimming suit with me. For going only to the onsen part, the entrance fee seems to steep for what is really on offer. However the swim suit part also has a Japanese garden. 
    • Nerima, Tokyo
    • See here for a description of the ride 
  • Yabutcha onsen, is a onsen rest stop along the road between Iga Ueno and the plain around Nara. It has some outdoor pools and indoor pools but nothing to write home about. Also because the one major potential attraction - free view into the mountains around, is obstructed by panels meant to safeguard the bathers from stalkers, but unfortunately also meaning that the bathers cannot enjoy the landscape around.
    • Iga-Ueno, Mie
    • See here for a description of the ride
  • Magma onsen is located right next to the ferry port on Sakurajima and a perfect place to warm up or relax after a day cycling or exploring the island, before heading back to Kagoshima. It doesn't have a rotenburo, which is a pity, because views could be perfect, but it has two indoor pools. One really hot, the other one okay. It seems that it has also an associated hotel.
    • Kagoshima, Sakurajima
    • See here for a description of the experience. 
  • Kisenso onsen hotel, is a cheap hotel in a somewhat absurd location outside of Yanagawa, between concrete plants, McDonalds and car dealers. In the middle of all this is this simple hotel with a day-spa, but it has one rotenburo which is actually not too small. No views, which probably looking at the surroundings is not such a pity.
    • Fukuoka, Yanagawa
    • See here for a description of the ride. 

1 ✰ = you get clean here... but
  • Kakunodate onsen, It has one large, and quite hot, indoor pool. Me being a fan of rotenburo obviously am not too happy with that. But it is right in the center of Kakunodate and part of the hotel where I am staying. There seems to be an other onsen a little further outside of town, but I haven't tried that one.
    • Akita, Kakunodate
    • See here for a description of the ride that brought me there. 
  • Kaminoyama onsen - Tsukioka Hotel
    • Also here an entire small town dedicated to onsening. I selected the only one (!) with a rotenburo. However the rotenburo is quite small and as the hotel is in the middle of the town, there is also no view. The good thing is for rainy days, that it has a roof on top of it, which is actually the floor of the ground floor just above. Also for me the water was too hot. I could get in, but not for very long.
    • Yamagata, Kaminoyama Onsen
    • See here for a description of the ride.
  • Hatano onsen. This is a village onsen, with a rather big indoor pool with hot, but not unbearably hot water. Unfortunately no rotenburo, but actually quite nice views over the plain of Sado through the windows. 
    • Niigata, Sado island, Hatano
    • See here for a description of the ride that brought me there.
  • Ishikawayu sento. This is a small neighbourhood sento (without rotenburo) very close to my previous home in Tokyo. I only went once, and it was nice enough, like an experience from an other era. With the neighbours meeting for the evening bath. In the streets around you routinely see people in piyama like wear and with the typical plastic container full of soap and shampoo shuffling along towards the sento. A very typical Japanese experience. For me the minus really is that it has only one tub (as far as I remember) and no rotenburo. But well, it's just a small neighbourhood sento. 
    • Tokyo, Higashikitazawa
  • Inari yu, a sento in central Tokyo (between Tokyo station and Kanda), that still lives in ancient times, with the women from the neighbourhood coming together every night, having a chat and a soak. There is only one tub with some whirlpool effect and quite hot water. The mural decoration is typical of a sento (with Fuji-san and all)
    • Tokyo, Otemachi
    • Click here for a description of the ride and why it was specially nice to have a soak after this day.

NO ✰'s = avoid going here
  • Chiyonoyu, is a small sento very close to Kakogawa station. I went here after a round ride around Kakogawa (and Himeji) instead of riding a little bit further to a supersento I had seen closer to the coast, because I was tired and my internet didn't work well. It's a small neighbourhood sento, with a very small rotenburo area. But the real problem for me was that in the indoor part it was unbearably hot. And no, I don't mean the water, but the air. It kind of felt like being in a sauna rather than in a bathroom where to wash. So I could not stay in the inside part more than a minute or two to get washed very quickly, before rushing outside and soaking just a little bit in the rotenburo, before traversing again the sauna-like interior. (There was actually a real sauna as well). Noticing other - Japanese - visitors, I wasn't the only one who felt that it was way too hot.
    • Kakogawa, Hyoto
    • Click here for a description of the ride



No comments:

Post a Comment