One thing Japanese loves about their country is that there are so many great Onsen (Natural Hot Spring). Therefore we strongly recommend you visit at least one Onsen Town when you are planning for your trip to Japan. It is not only about releasing your stresses in the hot spring, but the whole experience of visiting an Onsen Town will be unforgettable and enthusiastic, allowing you to sense the feeling of authentic Japan. Here, let us introduce you to 5 famous Onsen town that has easy access from Tokyo, for you to squeeze it in your schedule!
“Atami”, Shizuoka Prefecture
Atami is known to be the most accessible Onsen Town from Tokyo, as it only takes 45mintutes by bullet train. As this area gushes out a great amount of Hot Spring, there are many Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) with hot springs. Maintaining its retro atmosphere, many trendy stores have recently been opening at the “Nakamise Shopping Street”, which is attracting many young people to visit this site. There are castles and museums nearby to visit during the daytime, and also a nice beach to spend your summer.
“Kusatsu”, Gunma Prefecture
Taking around 4 hours trip by bus from Tokyo, you will be welcomed by a peculiar smell – the smell of sulfur which makes you feel that you have arrived at Kusatsu. The iconic symbol here is the emerald shining Yubatake (meaning hot water’s field), but here only enjoy taking photos, as it has the acidity to melt a one yen coin. There are 3 public baths where tourists are available to bath at free cost, but the temperature is rather high, so you might as well choose a Ryokan having nice hot springs. Instead, go see the Yumomi performance, a traditional method to cool down the hot spring.
“Ikaho”, Gunma Prefecture
3 hours trip by bus from Tokyo is Ikaho Onsen, a Hot Spring that has been loved by many great writers of all ages. The symbol of this Onsen town is the long stone stair of 360 steps, and along this stair, you will find stores, restaurants, and hotels. It is enjoyable during the day time as well, but at night, you can experience wandering under the orange lanterns, wearing the Yukata from your Ryokan, which will allow you to enjoy the retro atmosphere of Japan. Have the traditional sweet of “Onsen Manju”, or enjoy your time playing traditional games at the game stalls.
“Hakone Yumoto”, Kanagawa Prefecture
Hakone Yumoto is also a quick trip from Tokyo, only taking 80 minutes by the limited express “Romancecar”. It is the gateway to Hakone, a town having many different hot springs and ryokans. You can enjoy your stay at the Hakone Yumoto, or take a further trip from here to enjoy the other areas of Hakone. Wherever you are staying, we recommend you definitely to take the ropeway to visit Owakudani to try the famous black egg. At first glance, you might hesitate to put it in your mouth, but the taste is awesome!
“Kinugawa”, Tochigi Prefecture
2 hours from Tokyo by express train, is the Kinugawa Onsen. There are hotels and ryokans built along this beautiful river, where you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the canyon at all seasons. The hot springs here are simple alkaline spring, which has healing effects for neuralgia, stomachache, and other disorders. If you are visiting during the summer season, enjoy the “Kinugawa Line Down”, a river cruise to appreciate the beautiful nature.