Apr 24, 2009

Asakusa Kannon Onsen, downtown Tokyo

[Update] Asakusa Kannon Onsen closed down in June 2016.

Responding to some requests, I'm going to write about an onsen in middle of a tourist spot in Tokyo.

Ladies' bath. Mosaic tile art is beautiful. Board on the wall says "VERY HOT" in red. But it wasn't that hot.(photo: Apr. 2009)

You might have heard about Sensoji-temple浅草寺 at Asakusa浅草, downtown Tokyo. It's popular among tourists and ranked 6th in TripAdvisor's "Top 20 sightseeing spots in Japan" (See my post dated Apr. 7th). But do you know there are two onsens just a stone' throw away from Senso-ji?

One is Asakusa Kannon Onsen浅草観音温泉, located less than 100 meters away from Sensoji, near five-story pagoda. It's easy to find this ivy covered old building.

Its classical GETABAKO (shoes rockers) may impress you, but generally it's rundown without a doubt and desperately needs some renovation.

The onsen water is... well, it's transparent by filtering and looks like tap or well water. When I soaked myself, I couldn't recognize the touch of onsen. It was more or less same as a tap water bath for me. And I found several white tablets in the tub for chlorination. Sounds like a swimming pool, doesn't it?

Entrance. Enter from left side door.

But still mosaic tile art on the wall is nice (see the top photo), and you can enjoy atmosphere of 1950's bath house especially in the changing room.

An old lady working there told me this place has about 40 years of history, but I doubt it. A sign board on the wall of changing room dated 27th year of the Showa era, it means 1952. Recommended for antique mania than soak addicts.


Inside of the changing room for ladies.

■ Asakusa Kannon Onsen浅草観音温泉

Type: Day visit only. Indoor bath, gender separated

Address: 2-7-26 Asakusa Taito-ku Tokyo

Location: 35.714895,139.794996

Business hour: 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Holiday: Wednesday. if national holiday falls on, following Thursday

Admission fee: ¥700

Equipment: No complementary soap & shampoo. A hand towel rental costs ¥150 (including ¥100 deposit).

Access: About 10 minutes walk from Asakusa Station of Tokyo Metro.  

Link: Map of Asakusa Kannon Onsen in English (You can change the scale)

My rating (out of five): 2


Shoes rockers.

[Another onsen in Asakusa] Jakotsuyu, Asakusa, Downtown Tokyo (Jun 19, 2011)

Apr 10, 2009

Old ryokan to reopen as hostel, Ito Onsen, Shizuoka Pref.

Formar Ryokan Inaba under renovation. (photo: Mar. 2009)

A closed down ryokan in Ito Onsen, Sizuoka Pref. will come back as a backpackers' hostel this summer or later.

The Ryokan Inaba (旅館いな葉), a three-story Japanese inn built in 1920's is the oldest wooden ryokan in Ito City, registered as a national tangible cultural property in 1998. It went out of business in June 2007 due to business aggravation and aging of the employee. (Photo: Sep. 2007)

But it's under renovation right now and will open again under K's House, the biggest backpackers' hostel chain in Japan. Too early to say "Welcome back"?

[Update] The Ryokan Inaba reopened as "K's House Ito Onsen" on August 1st, 2010.

Travel Tips:
Ito Onsen - located upper east coast of Izu Peninsula, is easy to access from Tokyo by train. Direct Express Train "Odoriko" serves between Tokyo and Ito, taking about an hour and 45 minutes. You can walk to Inaba (K's House Izu Ito Onsen) in about 10 minutes from the Ito Railway Station.

Official website of Ito Shightseeing Association (in English)

Useful words:
Ito Onsen (伊東温泉)
Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島 pronounce as Izu hantoh)
Express Train Odoriko (特急踊り子 tokkyu odoriko)

Apr 7, 2009

Four onsens ranked in "Top 20 Sightseeing Spots in Japan"

The open-air bath for ladies at Takaragawa Onsen, Gunma Pref. There are three gender mixed open-air baths as well. Takaragawa Onsen ranked 16th among top 20. (photo: Mar. 2009)

Four onsens ranked in "Top 20 sightseeing spots drawing interests from abroad", according to a recent survey conducted by TripAdvisor Japan. The survey is based on their websites' page view, visit length, the number of review posted and etc. by their users outside of Japan.

They are Spa World in Osaka (9th), Ooedo Onsen Monogatari (pronounce as Oh-edo) in Tokyo (11th), Spa RaQua in Tokyo (13th), and Takaragawa Onsen in Gunma Pref.(16th).

Spa World of Osaka is a very big complex. It says "Comfortable space of beauty and health. One of the biggest natural hot springs in the world" on the wall. (photo: Aug. 2007)

In spite of recognizing myself as a soak addict and living in Tokyo more than these 10 years, I've never been to Ooedo Onsen Monogatari nor Spa RaQua. I wonder if I deserve blogging about onsen. (^^;

Apr 3, 2009

Sakura is Blooming

This post is unrelated to onsen. I love SAKURA (cherry blossoms) as much as onsen. They are nearly in full bloom at my neighbourhood in Tokyo right now. It seems I can enjoy SAKURA longer this year than usual as it has been rather cold for past 10 days or so. (^^)

Sakura trees along Syakujii-gawa(River Syakujii), northern Tokyo.

A closer look.