G’day Dreamdrivers! We hope you are enjoying our website and it’s getting you in the mood to book one of our cool and convenient cars to explore Japan with! In this article we are going to introduce some “Onsen” or Japanese public baths to help you enjoy your trips in and out of Tokyo better!
There are a number of directions you can take your Dream Drive out of Tokyo, each provides their own fun, fantastic and adventure filled possibilities. Maybe you want to head out East to Chiba to visit Disneyland, do some surfing or grab a great lunch at a farm. Or perhaps you are planning to head North West to check out Moomin Valley, investigate Saitama’s Underground Storm Drains, or maybe take a hike in the mountains. Perhaps South-west and Kanagawa takes your fancy more, visiting the Great Buddha of Kamakura, and heading over to Enoshima Island to enjoy some awesome seafood and a walk around the shrines and caves while you’re there. Or maybe you want to head out to sleepy Okutama, the mountain town on the outskirts of Tokyo to visit the limestone caves or hike along the rivers there. One thing is for sure there is plenty to see and do within reach of Tokyo, for a daytrip or for longer, more extended journeys!
When road-tripping around Japan in your DreamDrive, sometimes the more mundane things like parking, resting, getting cleaned up and so on play on our minds. So let us help alleviate some of them concerns! We have gathered some of the best suburban onsen spots around Tokyo – all of these have been hand picked by our team to provide a perfect spot either heading out of Tokyo or on your way back, to rest, wash, park and even sleep. Whether you want to use these to get cleaned up before and chill before heading out on an adventure, or use them on the way back into town after a long days journeying to relax, or even park up in to sleep (and avoid heading into the more conjested and expensive city). Perhaps you want to leave your car there whilst you head in to the city via public transport for an explore, all of these suggestions are high quality, friendly and conveniently located onsens perfect for the start or end of any number of trips in or out of Tokyo.
Without further ado, here’s four onsens around Tokyo!!!
Heading North West to Niwa No Yu
The luxurious Niwa No Yu. Those aren’t naked people in this pic! This is the unisex area where both genders can enjoy with swimsuits. There is also a more traditional naked bathing area in the complex.
This really is one of Tokyo’s best kept secrets and in our opinion one of the most fun and luxurious onsens around Tokyo and even Japan. Situated next to Yomiuri Land, in the NW of Tokyo, this onsen has both traditional separate-sex Japanese baths where you bathe naked (don’t forget your manners!), as well as a Unisex pool area. Bathing suits are required in here! Here, you can go in and enjoy with your partner or family. Please note for families that kids must be 12 or older to enter and there is an 8pm limit for 12-15 year olds and a 9pm limit to 15-18 year olds. Kids must also be accompanied by an adult.
With a wide range of baths, a number of saunas and a Japanese garden designed by a leading landscape architect, this one is definitely not to miss if you are heading out to the NW of Tokyo. There are restaurants, a bar and a relaxation room of lounging chairs to sleep at all within the same complex.
Parking is free for 3 hours, then after that you will be charged 200 yen every 30 mins up to 1500 a day. While the author didn’t try sleeping in the car overnight, it is possible to park overnight there and it may be possible to sleep there too – although the gates close around midnight until morning so you wouldn’t be able to move your car during that time. There is also a nearby 24 parking that costs around 1200 yen a day.
Please note that this place is not tattoo friendly.
Please also note that there are occasional evening discounts too making this luxurious experience even cheaper! Typical prices are around 2310 yen for normal entry and around 1300 for evening entry.
Heading Out to Okutama – Onsen Yumorinosato
Located about 25 mins drive from the Dreamdrive Komae Depot in the direction of Okutama, Onsen Yumorinosato is a “black-water” onsen with a real at-home kind of vibe. Inside the bath complex is a sauna house with a big hole dug into the earth, which emits natural, healing steam into the air. It’s quite the experience to look into this steaming vent, and really feel the power that is bubbling just under the surface of Tokyo. Those with kids should take care, as there is little in the way of safety equipment between you and the scalding hot vent!
The black-waters of the onsen are very relaxing and good for the skin, and the temperatures at play here aren’t quite as scolding hot as some other places can be, so great for the relatively uninitiated. While there is no English, the staff are very polite, and most of the services inside the place (like the delicious and healthy restaurant) are all mediated via a wrist-band, which is scanned at the end to tally all the costs up. The price is very reasonable too, at 1100 for the “free-time” set, or 600 yen for the 60 mins or less set. We recommend spending more rather than less time there though to take advantage of all the facilities on offer. A rental towel will set you back an extra 250 yen. The place is open from 10am to 10pm. Perfect for a dip at the end of a long day hiking out in Okutama.
There are also parking facilities a few 100ms from the place should you wish to park up for the night.
We tried both the seasonal tempura and the “negi-toro-don” (minced tuna on rice), which were both excellent. The miso-soup was well made, the eggs great quality, and the restaurant used freshly-grated wasabi instead of stuff from a tube.
Please also note that this place is not tattoo friendly.
Heading West or back to the Dream Drive Depot – The SPA Chitose
Located close to the Dreamdrive Komae Depot; around 15 minutes drive away, this is well placed for a trip before picking up a car or after dropping one off. With a range of spas and baths, a spacious restaurant and relaxation space with lounging chairs and a number of saunas, you can enjoy an onsen here timed with either the check-in or checkout of your DreamDrive. It’s open from 10:00 – 23:30. There is a morning set too for early arrivers with a discount on food.
Not Tattoo friendly.
Heading East to Chiba
This is a great and convenient little Onsen just outside of Tokyo to the East of the city. It’s fairly close to the Funabashi Interchange which is a convienient place to jump on or off the highways coming in or out of Tokyo. Open from 9am-1am, the Onsen has a spacious and unlocked car-park with an indoor, shaded area to boot. This would be suitable for parking up and having a sleep. The onsen has free wifi, and while everything is in Japanese, the staff are friendly and the restaurant has easy-to-understand picture menus. There is a great selection of baths indoors and outdoors, and the place is very reasonably priced at 700 yen if you have your own towel or 900 with a rental towel. A relaxation room with lounging chairs can be used to sleep. Again, like a lot of Onsen’s, this place is not-tattoo friendly unfortunately.
Japan’s onsens really provide an excellent network across the country to bathe and relax, and they really compliment the DreamDrive experience perfectly. We’ve introduced you to some of the more conveient ones coming in and out of Tokyo in your Drive, perhaps you’ll be able to share some of your spots and hidden gems with us too! Happy driving Dreamdrivers!