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1. Yawaragi no Sato Hoheikyo Onsen [Hokkaido]
The surprising thing about this onsen facility is that the water is brought up from underground in stairs that people can access so the water is very fresh with no need to cool or heat it. The open-air bath is surrounded by mountains so you can enjoy the changes of the natural scenery all year round. The attached restaurant is famous for its Indian curry, so please try it if you go.
HP: www.hoheikyo.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 608-2 Jozankei, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)
2. Ikaho Ishidan no Yu [Gunma]
Ishidan no Yu is a bathhouse in one of Japan’s most famous onsen resorts, Ikaho Onsen. The bath has a retro look since it’s made from stone, and you can soak in the dark brown water called “kogane no yu.” The entrance fee is pretty cheap so you can easily visit.
HP: www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ue3t-cb/spa/isidannoyu/isidannoyu.htm (Japanese Only)
Address: 36 Ikahomachi Ikaho, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma (Google Map)
3. Sekizenkan [Gunma]Kentaro Ohno/Flickr
Sekizenkan is Japan’s oldest wooden hot springs inn. This building is full of history and atmosphere, so you’ll feel as though you traveled through time when you’re here. It’s famous for being one of the buildings that was used as inspiration for the famous Ghibli movie Spirited Away, so many Ghibli fans visit this inn.
HP: www.sekizenkan.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 4236 Shima, Nakanojo-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma (Google Map)
4. Sai no Kawahara Rotenburo [Gunma]
This dynamic open-air bath is so big it’s like a pool. Both the men and women’s baths combined make up an area of 500 squared meters. This bath is built so that when you enter it the water is pretty cool but the further you go the hotter it gets. Something nice about this onsen is that on your way to the bath you can see the hot spring river flowing alongside the road.
HP: sainokawara.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 521 Kusatsu, Kusatsu-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma (Google Map)
5. Yamato no Yu [Chiba]
This onsen facility is surrounded by the quiet, Japanese rural landscape. Since it’s a little ways away from the town, you can spend some time here away from the hustle and bustle of people. On the sauna floor there’s a warm tile bed called the Radiant Bath, so please try it.
HP: www.yamatonoyu.com/jp/information/voice.asp (Japanese Only)
Address: 1630 Odake, Narita-shi, Chiba (Google Map)
6. Nippori Saitoyu [Tokyo]
This is a bathhouse called a “sento,” and unlike onsen, it doesn’t use naturally welling water from underground but is a facility that offers heated baths. This particular sento was renovated in recent years, and thanks to the addition of multiple baths you can enjoy a variety of them. This is one recommended way to enjoy Japanese bathing culture while in Tokyo.
HP: saito-yu.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 6-59-2 Higashi-Nippori, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
7. Tsuru no Yu [Tokyo]
This is a local sento that’s used by the locals as well. As you can see in the photo, on the wall is a huge mural of Japan’s sacred mountain, Mt. Fuji. It’s an old sento but it’s very nice and clean. This is one of the sento you should definitely visit while you’re in Tokyo.
HP: taito1010.com/component/mtree/sento-list/tsuru_asakusa.html?Itemid=112 (Japanese Only)
Address: 7-4-16 Kita-Koiwa, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
8. Hottarakashi no Onsen [Yamanashi]
As you can see from the picture, the open air bath is in a stunning place from where you can see Mt. Fuji. You can bathe there from 5 AM starting in March, so you can see the shining beauty of Mt. Fuji as the sun rises. This is a gentle onsen that doesn’t irritate the skin very much so people with sensitive skin can enjoy this bath too.
HP: www.hottarakashi-onsen.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1669-18 Yatsubo, Yamanashi (Google Map)