Jun 27, 2011

Tourists coming back to Asakusa

[This post isn't related to onsen.]
As I wrote in the previous post, Asakusa is a major tourist spot in downtown Tokyo, and tourists are gradually coming back after the Tohoku Earthquake.

The Kaminari-mon is the first gate of the Senso-ji temple. Originally built in 942, the present gate was rebuilt in  1960 after the big fire. The balloon like paper lantern is 3.9 meter high.
The Nakamise, shopping area between the Kaminari-mon and the main hall of the Senso-ji. 
The main hall of the Senso-ji temple.
The new TV Tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree near Asakusa will open on May 22, 2012.
The Tokyo Sky Tree and other buildings on the other side of the Sumida-gawa, or the River Sumida. The building with the golden object on the top is headquarter of the Asahi Beer.
If you want to know about Senso-ji more, check the official website of the Senso-ji in English.

Jun 19, 2011

Jakotsuyu, Asakusa, Downtown Tokyo

The bathroom for men and ladies share the big wall painting of Mt. Fuji. The left wall divide men's bath.
Even if you're on a business trip to Tokyo and too busy to visit countryside of Japan, you can try onsen soaking in Asakusa, one of the major tourist traps in Tokyo. I wrote a post on the "Asakusa Kannon Onsen" in 2009 (see my post dated Apr. 24, 2009), and following is a complete guide of the another onsen, the "Jakotsuyu", finished renovation in Dec.2009and highly recommended.

Follow the red arrow.
The Jakotsuyu" is a Sento - the public bath mainly for local residents but welcomes everybody; young and old, men and women, with or without tattoos.

First hurdle is finding it. You can't see the Jakotsuyu itself on Google Street View as it faced on a narrow alley a car can't enter. I almost get lost whenever I visit. See the linked map below before starting and search left side of the "MacDonald Asakusa ROX Branch" very carefully at the spot. You'll find green small sign written 蛇骨湯 (Jakotsuyu) in white. You can see this sign on the Street View.

A part of the vending machine. Read carefully and buy tickets you need.
On arrival, remove your shoes at the entrance, put them in the shoes locker, then buy your bathing ticket at the vending machines. Don't worry. They carry multilingual signs; in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.

If you need a soap - there are no complementary soaps there, and towel rent/buyout, or use of the Sauna Room, buy the additional designated tickets at the machines. Actually you don't have to bring anything for bathing. They sell "empty-handed set" consists of shampoo, soap, razor, hand towel.

The dressing room for men. It's rather new as renovated in late 2009. Keep your key on your list all the time.
Proceed to the gender separated dressing rooms. Put your clothes and belongings in a locker, and keep the key with you all the time. Enter the gender separated bathroom in your birthday suite.

The bathrooms are typical sento (public bath) style with big wall paintings of Mt. Fuji. The big difference is the hot springs - accurately heated natural mineral springs, each bath tub including cold water bath are filled with mineral springs. They are slightly brow/bronze, and very smooth. Shower water is also mineral springs.

Indoor  Bath for ladies.

Indoor Bath for men.
Semi open-air bath for ladies.
Space of the semi open-air bath for men is bigger.

There is a tiny Japanese garden at the semi open-air bath for men only.
Washing space. Tap with red sign is hot water, blue one is cold water and the one without color is for the shower. The showers above the mirrors are installed to the walls.

◆Jakotsuyu (蛇骨湯)

Help yourself washing bowls and stools.
Type: Gender Separated Public Bath

Address: 1-11-11 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Business hour: 1:00 PM to 0:00 AM

Holiday: Tuesday (If national holiday falls on Tuesday, following weekday)

Admission fee: ¥450 for adult, ¥180 for 6-12 year-old, ¥80 for below 6 year-old.

The courtesy PC
Equipment: Washing bowls, stools, lockers. There is an internet connected PC (you can use 15 minutes maximum) and iPhone charger at the lounge.

Access: Within walking distance from Asakusa Station ,Takawamachi Station, Senso-ji and other main tourist spots of Asakusa.

Geocode for Google Map: 35.712058, 139.792584

Link : Map in English
Entrance of the Jakotsuyu.

This post is written with full cooperation of the Jakotsuyu. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.