From the famous to the hidden! 16 hot springs in Kanto perfect for day trips
The Kanto area, consisting of metropolitan Tokyo and the prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Yamanashi, is home to many famous hot springs such as Hakone, Kinugawa and Kusatsu. In addition to these traditional hot spring resorts, facilities geared to day trippers have opened in recent years, making it even easier to enjoy the hot spring experience. This article is a collaboration between “Tastes of JAPAN by ANA,” a series in which ANA uncovers Japan’s top tourist spots, and TripAdvisor. The aim is to introduce popular day trips to Kanto’s hot springs based on TripAdvisor reviews.
Hachijojima is a volcanic island 287km south of Tokyo. Miharashi-no-yu, located on a hill 94m above sea level in the southeast of the island, offers the best views among the island’s hot springs. From the open-air hot spring bath, you can look out over the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and at night, you can enjoy a soak under the starry sky. The water in the spring has a marked heat-retaining effect due to its salt components, and visitors are recommended to take a break in the relaxation room, where they can take in a superb view to rival that seen from the open-air bath.
Offering access to an easy hike, Takao is a popular spot just one hour by train from central Tokyo. Soaking in the waters of Goku-raku-yu hot spring, adjacent to Takao Yamaguchi Station on the Keio Line, is said to be effective for muscle pain and recovery from fatigue. Goku-raku-yu features seven types of baths, including a stone-plated carbonated spring, an outdoor bath with ledges for sitting, and a cypress bath with micro bubble jets. It’s ideal for healing those sore muscles after a mountain hike.
Surrounded by nature, this facility resembles a luxury inn. In addition to an open-air bath with natural hot spring water overlooking the picturesque countryside, it also features an indoor hot spring with highly concentrated carbonated spring water, a whirlpool bath, and a stone sauna that can be used freely for detox and anti-aging. A variety of refreshments and relaxation options are also available, making this hot spring bath a cut above the other venues catering to day-trippers. Preschool children are not allowed to enter.
At this facility, located in the immediate vicinity of Oarai Sun Beach, visitors can enjoy natural hot spring water featuring “fossil water,” which is old seawater that has become trapped in the gaps between rock strata due to ancient crustal movements. The water is highly saline, and it is said that bathing in it improves blood circulation and keeps the body temperature from dropping. It has bactericidal and analgesic effects, and is said to be effective for skin diseases and bruises.
This is the oldest hot spring in Tochigi Prefecture, having opened about 1300 years ago. They say that a wounded deer soaked in this hot spring and its body healed itself. This story gives the hot spring its name, Shika-no-yu, which translates as “Hot Spring of the Deer.” There are many facilities on offer at this hot spring, including Kaburi-yu, where you ladle hot water over yourself about 200 times before you soak, timed baths where you can choose your favorite temperature of bathtub between 41–48 degrees (41–46 degrees for women), alternating between bathing and resting times.
This is a branch temple of the world heritage site Nikkozan Rinnoji Temple. Here, you can experience a type of hot spring that is rare in Japan. The monk who founded the hill-top temple at Nikko in 788 discovered this hot spring and set about worshipping Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Medicine. The source spring is quite hot, so it’s best to add water gradually while taking a bath. Although there is only a small bathtub with space for a few people, you can enjoy the atmosphere of a secret hot spring, with the milky white water, smell of sulfur and wooden washrooms.
This hot spring is extremely popular within the Kusatsu Onsen area, which is itself one of the most famous hot spring areas in Japan. Ohtaki no Yu draws from the famous Nikawa hot spring source and has a range of facilities, such as large indoor and outdoor baths, an open-air bath, sauna, restaurant, and massage options. You can also experience Kusatsu’s traditional bathing method known as “Awase-yu,” in which the bather progresses from lower temperature to higher temperature baths in order to soothe the body.
In the open-air bath right next to Yumoto Gensenchi in Ikaho Onsen, you can enjoy the flow of water from the Kogane-no-yu source. There are no washing facilities, but this simple hot spring does have a stone open-air bath, and it is divided into a mildly hot bath and a warm bath. You can relax while looking out at the seasonal scenery at the hot spring, which is surrounded by trees. They do sell towels, but it’s better to bring one.
Since its opening in 2012, this hot spring facility has been immensely popular due to its high-quality spring water with a brownish tinge. The water originates 1,500m underground and feels smooth on the skin, while also warming the body to the core. After experiencing the quality of the springs at the Namagen Senburo indoor baths, which are neither heated nor have added water, it’s time to move outside. Here, a variety of open-air baths such as ceramic tubs and sleeping baths are available. The buffet style restaurant, with Japanese, Western and Chinese cuisine, is also very inviting.
This is an attractive hot spring facility catering to day-trippers. It is located near the Moomin Valley Park, which opened in March 2019 and is surrounded by forests and lakes. While in the open-air bath, you can enjoy the surrounding forest while looking out over the seasonally changing scenery of the lakeside. The hot springs are rich in sodium and hydrogen carbonate content, and also called “hada-no-yu” for their effect on the skin. Preschoolers under elementary school age are not allowed to enter.
This Japanese-style modern hot spring facility is surrounded by green parks and countryside. Although it is a little smaller than a typical suburban hot spring facility catering to day-trippers, it has an indoor bath and eight outdoor baths spread through three floors. You can feel the powerful healing effect of the water here while looking out at the idyllic scenery. Because it aims to be a resort for adults, preschoolers cannot use the facility. People with tattoos are allowed to enter, so it is popular with foreign tourists.
This hot spring facility is located on the bank of Lake Teganuma and caters to day-trippers. It boasts a spring that originates 1,800m below the ground, and the water is exceptionally moisturizing due to its high salt content. Outside, there are rock baths and ceramic tubs where you can enjoy the hot spring water. The indoor bath area has a variety of amenities for health and beauty such as a dry sauna, wormwood sauna and a whirlpool.
The concept of this facility is a luxury, day-trip hot spring for adults. A variety of baths are available, including a hot spring featuring carbon dioxide dissolved in natural, weakly alkaline hot water, which has a pleasant effect on the skin, as well as a bath exclusive to women where ultra-fine nano mist wraps around the whole of the bather’s body. It also boasts the largest stone sauna in Kanto, which visitors can use freely without any time limit. The Japanese restaurant on site is famous for its freshly made tofu.
This hot spring facility for day-trippers is the most popular in Hakone, Kanto’s quintessential hot spring area. It is divided into three areas that you can choose from according to purpose. You can simply relax at the annex bathhouse Ikkyu, a hot spring in a Japanese cypress wood bathtub, spend the day visiting Tenzan, with its restaurants and rest facilities, or stay over at the Hagoromo accommodation facility. Most popular here is the main area Tenzan, which has six baths for women and five baths for men. Here you can enjoy a dip in the midst of nature, taking advantage of the rustic outdoor bath surrounded by wilderness, or soak in a bath under the wisteria trees.
Located on a small mountain, this is a popular bathing facility with a superb view. Here, there is Achi-no-yu overlooking the Kofu basin and Kochi-no-yu overlooking Mount Fuji, both of which have gender-specific indoor and outdoor baths. Achi-no-yu is open from one hour before sunrise until 10 p.m., so you can enjoy the sunrise from the hot spring and later, the night view under the stars.
This facility is certified as having one of the top 100 night views in Japan. It is open until 11 p.m., so you can immerse yourself in a natural hot spring while enjoying night views of the Kofu basin, which glimmers as if studded with jewels. The silhouette of the Yatsugatake mountain range that emerges in the dusk twilight is also exceptional. The Fuji-no-yu and Botan-no-yu facilities both have open-air baths and indoor baths and are used exclusively by men or women on alternate days.
In this article, we introduced our recommendations for hot springs in the Kanto area, which is dotted with famous hot springs that can be visited on a day trip. These hot springs offer diverse experiences, from their rich history, to stunning views, or the water’s healing properties. It’s time to soak in the hot water, get warm and relax!