Onsen in Japan’s countryside, such as Hakone, is an amazing experience. But it can be a bit pricy and time consuming as you’d have to travel at least an hour and a half. The best alternative to is a quick visit to a super sento.
Super sento is a modern version of Japanese traditional bathhouse and offers a variety of facilities such as restaurant, massage, hair cut, body scrubbing, rest areas and manga library. If you get tired during your daily sightseeing, try dropping in at a super sento. As little as 500 yen, you get to use the bath and other facilities all day long!
Now, there is so much written about super sento in central Tokyo. Today, Takaski staff members are giving away the hidden gems that are a must-visit super sento located in outer Tokyo.
Advantages of visiting super sento in outer Tokyo are many. But the most attractive advantage is the fact that they are usually a large facility and almost empty during the day! By contrast the major bathhouses in central Tokyo are often packed like potato baths (as Japanese like to describe the extreme crowd) with Japanese and non-Japanese visitors all the time. Also, the price is much more reasonable as you will see below.
Without further ado, here is top 3 super sento in outer Tokyo!
#1 Ryusenji no Yu: Hachioji Minamino, Tokyo (780 yen)
Clean, spacious, fun and cheap – the top must-visit super sento in outer Tokyo is Ryusenji no Yu, Hachioji Minamino. Most of the visitors there seem to be local Japanese, so you’ll get to experience the truly local sento scene.
Ryusenji no Yu is famous for their carbonated hot spring, which helps improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure. They have many different types of indoor and outdoor baths, in addition to two different types of sauna (steam and salt) rooms. Pay 780 yen at the entrance and you’ll get to stay there from 6am until 3am!
You will also get to enjoy ganbanyoku, or hot stone bath, only for the extra 650 yen. Ganbanyoku section is separate from the bath section. They also offer a free yoga lesson every hour in the ganbanyoku area, but the lesson is available only in the women’s section – sorry guys!
Best way to enjoy Ryusenji no Yu is to visit there in the morning and pay for an asa buro (morning bath), which is only 680 yen. Nothing is more relaxing and refreshing than having a morning bath at Ryusenji no Yu, with birds chirping around you. You’ll totally forget that you are in Tokyo.
Another amazing thing about Ryusenji no Yu is the food. Usually super sento isn’t the best place to eat, but Ryusenji’s restaurant offers a all you can eat vegetable buffet only for 780 yen which is harvested locally in Hachioji. Our recommendation is their tofu and soba which are freshly made at the restaurant.
Budget: How much should I expect to pay Ryusenji no Yu?
Entrance fee: 680 yen between 6am and 9am & 780 yen from 9am until 2:30am
Option – Ganbanyoku hot stone bath: 650 yen
Option – Tempura soba: 780 yen + All you can eat vegetable buffet 480 yen
TOTAL for the whole shabang experience = 2690 yen a day
TOTAL for the bathhouse only = 680 or 780 yen a day
Access: Take a free shuttle bus from either:
- JR Hachioji station
- JR Hachioji Minami station
- JR Hashimoto station or
- Keio Line Kitano station
#2 Tokino Irodori: Inagi City, Tokyo (800 yen)
When you finally get to Tokino Irodori super sento, you would definitely think “Oh wow, Takaski must have been mistaken about the fee… surely it’s more than 800 yen!” Oh yes, this amazing onsen ryokan looking super sento is all yours for 800yen a day!
Tokino Irodori is one of the most luxurious authentic onsen facility in the entire Tokyo. Some super sento offers ‘onsen’, but they might reheat or recycle the spring. Tokino Irodori offers onsen which is dug up from 1,700 meters below the facility and they do something super luxurious, that is, ‘gensen kakenagashi‘. According to Japan Gensen Kakenagashi Onsen Association, Kakenagashi onsen, dictated by law, is:
- Firstly fresh water from the earth must continually flow into the bath.
- No other water can be added to the bath (other than officially recognized exceptions).
- No overflowing water is reused and sent back into the bath, and
- No filtered water is used to compensate for a lack of hot water.
In addition to luxurious gensen kakenagashi, Tokino Irodori also offers a variety of other types of hot spring. You get to enjoy, for example, (1) nano water which helps detox, (2) carbonated water, and (3) well water.
Basically, rotenburo or outdoor baths use gensen kakenagashi and indoor bathes are filled with a variety of water as above.
The 800 yen entry fee also includes access to two types of sauna, one is dry sauna and the other herbal sauna.
Ganbanyoku facility is also available for the extra fee of 600 yen which includes a mat and a set of ganbanyoku clothing.
Business hours: 9am to 1am on weekdays | 7am to 1am on weekends
Budget: How much should I expect to pay Ryusenji no Yu?
Access: 5 minutes walk from JR Nanbu Line Minami Tama station or take a free shuttle bus from Keio Line Inagi station.
#3 Tennen Onsen Ikoi no Yu: Machida City, Tokyo (720 yen)
If you are after a local feel without tourists around you and a good quality onsen, Ikoi no Yu is one of the best choices for you. What they offer is gensen kakenagashi onsen in the outdoor baths and a variety of well water onsen in indoor bathes. Located in Machida City, you can pretty much expect to be the only non-Japanese visitor at this day bathhouse.
Onsen quality is pretty good and hot spring in the outdoor bath is brown, especially known for improving skin condition. The outdoor bath is surrounded by nature and you’ll forget that you are in Tokyo.
The secret reason why Ikoi no Yu makes our Top 3 list is this: It’s located close from Minami Osawa Outlet Park, which is one of the best and most relaxing Mitsui’s Outlet Park series. Visit the outlet park in the morning when it’s relatively quiet and take a free shuttle bus from Keio Line Minami Osawa station to Ikoi no Yu to relax for the rest of afternoon. You get two things done in your daily sightseeing schedule.
In terms of the facility size, Ikoi no Yu is smaller than the top 2 facilities above, but it’s most local of all and a combination of a visit to the outlet and an onsen is irresistible;-)
Business hours: 9am to 1am
Entry fee: 720 yen during the week and 920 yen on the weekend
Ganbanyoku: 400 yen (no children allowed)
Access: 20 minutes walk from Keio Line Tamasakai station or free shuttle bus from Keio Line Minami Osawa station