Easy Access from Tokyo to a Hot Spring Heaven! 10 Selected Onsen in Shizuoka (2022)

Shizuoka Prefecture, home to the spectacular Mt. Fuji, has easy access from Tokyo by shinkansen (bullet train), with the trip taking about an hour. It is a popular sightseeing spot for Japanese and foreign tourists alike. There are nearly 40 onsen (hot spring) resorts in Shizuoka Prefecture, and here are our picks for the top 10, including well-known spots as well as hidden gems.

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KeikoC

Jan 10 2019 (Sep 14 2022)

1. Atami Onsen (Atami)

Atami Onsen is an old-fashioned hot spring with about 1,250 years of history. It is quite close to Tokyo, taking 35 minutes by shinkansen, which makes it an extremely popular hot spring resort that is constantly crowded with visitors.

The water type for 90% of Atami’s hot springs is either “chloride” or “sulfate.” The salts contained in these types of water are said to be effective for cold sensitivity and women’s diseases. The salts also give the spring water an enjoyably smooth feeling on the skin.

A long time ago, Atami’s hot springs gushed out from the ocean floor, warming the surrounding ocean. This gave Atami its name, as the kanji (Chinese characters) that spell Atami (熱海) mean “heat” (熱) and “ocean” (海). The city is located by the sea and boasts an outstanding landscape. There is also a lot of fresh seafood, taken straight from the nearby ocean, that is popular with visitors as well.

2. Ito Onsen (Ito)

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The Ito Onsen area has a number of hot spring wells that generate a nation-leading volume of hot water. Since there is plenty of hot water, there are many hot spring facilities where fresh water is constantly added, and the hot water doesn’t have to be circulated and used again. These types of hot spring baths are called “kake-nagashi.” The type of hot springs here are mainly simple springs and “weak salt” springs. The “weak salt” spring is a type of hot spring containing a small amount of salt. They have a high moisturizing effect.

While a beautiful hot spring in a luxury ryokan (Japanese traditional hotel/inn) is of course very nice, we also recommend trying out a cheaper public bath. There are seven public baths in Ito named after the Seven Lucky Gods who bring good luck, and each of the baths has a landmark statue of one of the Seven Lucky Gods at the entrance. If you have a bath at one of these locations, you may be blessed with several benefits!

There are also several hand baths and foot baths that visitors can enjoy in the town. Even just by bathing your hands or feet, your whole body will warm up. These baths are also free to use!

3. Shuzenji Onsen (Shuzenji Temple)

Shuzenji Onsen is one of the many historical hot springs in the Izu Peninsula, and it is said to have first opened about 1,200 years ago. The type of spring water used in this facility is called “alkaline simple.” This type of water offers many benefits for problems such as neuralgia, muscle pain, and joint pain. Everyone can enjoy the hot spring, as it is safe even for the elderly and children.

When you get tired of walking, take a break at the Tokko no Yu. This is a foot bath located in an “azumaya,” which is a resting place along the river. It is free to use, and you can put your feet into the hot water for a while, gradually warming your whole body.

While it is not a hot spring, if you visit Shuzenji Onsen, we definitely recommend you stop by Chikurin no Shokei (Bamboo Forest Path). This is a small bamboo forest with many cobblestone paths. It is located along the Katsura River, which flows through the center of the Shuzenji Onsen area. Visitors can take a stroll and enjoy the atmosphere of the bamboo forest.

4. Dogashima Onsen (Shuzenji)

The Dogashima Onsen area has hot springs that are located in a scenic spot along the sea. It is a legendary spa resort, where a large number of soldiers were healed of their wounds in the spring water 700 to 800 years ago. The type of water used here is “soft alkaline simple.”

Visitors can enjoy the magnificent sea views from the outdoor bath in the Dogashima Onsen Hotel. It is a marvelous sight, and makes you feel as if you're in the ocean yourself. You can also get a view of Sanshiro Island, which only peeks out of the ocean at low tide.

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In the summer holiday season, this area becomes very busy with visitors playing at the beach. However, there are other activities outside of summer that visitors can enjoy, including sites such as a cave on the sea and a beautiful sunset. A dip in the hot spring is the best way to heal a tired body from sightseeing outdoors.

5. Izu Nagaoka Onsen (Izu-Nagaoka)

Izu Nagaoka Onsen is a hot spring resort area situated in the middle of the Izu Peninsula. It’s an easy place to visit, as it takes about 2 hours and 10 minutes from Shinjuku by express bus, and it is also close to Hakone, which is another famous hot spring area.

The Izu Nagaoka Onsen refers to Kona Onsen, which has a history of over 1,300 years, and Nagaoka Onsen, which was discovered about 100 years ago. In addition to the hot springs at the many ryokan, there are plenty of facilities available that offer one-day hot spring trips without having to spend the night. The hot springs in this area use “simple” type spring water.

The Izu Nagaoka Onsen area is also attractive for offering a look into an old-fashioned Japanese townscape. There are also activities such as the rifle range, where visitors can get a prize if they hit the doll (open from 7 o'clock in the evening). There is a temple in the center of the town, an aquarium, cable cars, and lots of other fun places for sightseeing.

6. Heda Onsen (Shuzenji)

Heda Onsen is a hot spring resort area facing Suruga Bay. Mt. Fuji can be seen beyond the bay, especially at dusk, and visitors can enjoy this beautiful sight from the baths. The type of spring water is “sulfate,” which is effective forsoothing high blood pressure and skin diseases.

It's a new hot spring that opened about 30 years ago, so it has unique facilities, such as a dog bath where pets are allowed to use the hot spring, and a hot spring “station” similar to a gas station. There is also a hot spring drinking area, and a free foot bath at the roadside station.

Compared to famous places such as Atami and Ito, this spot has fewer tourists and is not so busy, so visitors can relax and enjoy various views with a shot of Mt. Fuji in the background.

7. Atagawa Onsen (Izu-Atagawa)

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Atagawa Onsen is a hot spring resort area that is located on the east side of the Izu Peninsula and is surrounded by the sea and the mountains. Atagawa (熱川) means "warm river water", and this hot spring was named this because it was discovered when they found monkeys soaking in its warm waters. The type of water in the hot springs is “chloride,” which is good for its warming and moisturizing effects.

There are many spring sources in the Atagawa area, and some of the ryokan even have their own spring source. There is a lot of hot water, and many minerals from the spring water often build up around the edges of the bathtub and faucets. It is a place that can be enjoyed by anyone from hot spring enthusiasts to first timers.

With an abundance of hot water in Atagawa Onsen, there are also a lot of sinter cones with vapor spouting from them, covering the town in steam. You can enjoy an onsen experience just by taking a stroll around town.

8. Umegashima Onsen (Shizuoka)

Umegashima Onsen is a secluded hot spring resort area near the prefectural border between Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures. Visitors can enjoy the historic and majestic nature of these hot springs, which were discovered about 1,700 years ago.

The type of spring water used here is “simple sulfur.” The hot spring water has a silky feel and sticks to the skin, with soothing effects for neuralgia and gastrointestinal diseases. A characteristic scent like that of boiled egg is also proof of a good sulfur spring.

There are about 10 ryokan lined up along the river, and the view of these old traditional Japanese-style buildings is quite a charming sight.

9. Sumatakyo Onsen (Senzu)

Sumatakyo Onsen is a hot spring resort area located at the foot of the Akaishi Range (the Japanese Southern Alps) that runs through Nagano, Yamanashi, and Shizuoka Prefectures. The spring water comes from the Southern Alps, and has a temperature of 43.7°C (110.7°F). The “simple sulfur” type of spring water used here is great for the skin, and the local people think that it is especially good for keeping a woman's skin looking young and beautiful.

Visitors can purchase a coupon ticket made of a wooden board (1,000 yen) from ryokan or souvenir shops. With the wooden ticket, visitors can visit three of any bath of their choice in Sumatakyo Onsen, giving the experience a very reasonable price that is well worth taking advantage of when visiting these hot springs.

Because of the natural beauty surrounding the hot spring location, visitors can enjoy spectacular scenery that changes with the seasons. There are many beautiful sights, such as a suspension bridge across a cobalt blue dam lake called the "Dream Suspension Bridge" (Yume no Tsuribashi). There is also a steam train, and the region is especially well known for its beautiful autumn scenery.

(Video) Staying at a Traditional Japanese Inn & Hot Spring | Ryokan

10. Kanzanji Onsen (Hamamatsu)

Kanzanji Onsen is a hot spring resort area located just outside of Lake Hamana (Hamana-ko). This well-known scenic area became a hot spring resort in 1958, which makes it a relatively new hot spring resort among the others in Shizuoka Prefecture. Lake Hamana is a large lake that spreads out in front of the hot spring resort area and provides ocean-like views.

The type of spring water used here is “chloride strong salt.” A lot of salt is contained in the hot water, which is effective for soothing neuralgia and assisting with muscle pain recovery. There are many hot spring facilities with spacious bathtubs where even a large number of people can relax and stretch out their arms and legs.

This area is also famous for beautiful scenery, so many visitors are attracted for this reason as well. The top of the mountain is accessible via a ropeway, and visitors can enjoy views of Lake Hamana and the hot spring town below.

Hot springs don’t simply fall under a single category, as there are many subtle differences to choose from, such as the spring water type and the atmosphere. There are many hot springs in Shizuoka Prefecture, and visitors will surely find their favorite hot spring among the wealth of options. When you visit Shizuoka Prefecture, don’t be shy and challenge yourself to try out the hot springs!

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Title Image: PIXTA

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

FAQs

How long should you sit in an onsen? ›

The amount of time you should stay in the bath depends on the bath temperature, but generally the first dip should be 5 to 10 minutes. For a lukewarm bath, this may be 30 minutes. Spend about 10 minutes in a high temperature bath. Any longer and this could wear you out or cause an accident.

How much does an onsen cost? ›

Onsen entrance fees range anywhere between JPY 200-2,000, but some of the good ones fall between JPY 400-800. You can bring your own bath towel, though some onsens provide towels or let you rent one.

What is the most popular onsen in Japan? ›

Kusatsu is considered the foremost onsen in Japan. It is supplied with large volumes of hot water, “said to cure every illness but lovesickness”. There, you can visit multiple hot springs free of admission fees. A number of resorts and inns are available, as well as shops and cafes.

Can couples go to onsen together? ›

Couple onsens are special spaces where the two of you would never be disturbed by other people. Private onsens in guest rooms, in particular, let you spend time with your sweetheart enjoying the hot spring all day long, without the need to go out the door. The experience is largely different from normal dates.

Do you wear clothes in onsen? ›

As we all know, the people who take Onsen are all naked. You never bring the dangerous or fragile things, like glass, inside the bathroom and locker room nether. No washing inside the bathtub. There is a space provided for washing as well as a bathtub and shower.

Do you wear swimsuit in onsen? ›

No clothes or bathing suits are allowed in the onsen bathing areas. People try hard to preserve the cleanliness of onsen. They are somewhat sacred places. Clothes and bathing suits can bring dirt and soap into the hot spring waters from outside and are, therefore, considered unhygienic.

Should I eat before or after onsen? ›

Before going to an onsen place, have a light meal. As taking onsen consumes a large amount of energy, you may become ill if you take onsen when hungry.

Do you have to shave before going to an onsen? ›

Most Japanese women I've seen at onsen or sentos don't shave, most of the times I was the only one who had shaved. But I don't think anyone cares, it's just personal preference.

What should you not do in an onsen? ›

What not to do in an onsen
  • wear ANY clothes or swimsuits in the bathing area; the small towel can be used to cover yourself when out of the water. ...
  • submerge your face or head, it is considered unclean.
  • yell or speak loudly, onsen are for relaxing.
  • run, the stone floors are usually slippery when wet.
12 Oct 2022

Should I shower after onsen? ›

It is recommended that you do not shower after bathing in an onsen, as rinsing your body will weaken the minerals' healing effects. However, taking a quick cold shower or bath upon leaving the bath, which has its own health benefits, has also been recommended.

Can you wear a towel in an onsen? ›

Many Japanese bring both a small towel and larger one. The smaller one can be used in the bathing area to tie back hair and give yourself a pat down so as to not soak the changing area, and the bigger one you use to give yourself a more thorough dry. Please be sure not to let the towel enter the onsen water!

What onsen does to body? ›

The onsen is the ultimate bathing experience. The hot spring water can relieve tense muscles and the natural or serene surroundings of most Japanese hot springs can help clear your mind. Your body quickly cools after leaving the hot spring which encourages your body to relax and put you into a deeper sleep.

Do you have to be naked in mixed onsen? ›

Re: Do males have to be naked in mixed onsens? Yes, everyone (male/female) is naked in mixed onsen while in the water. While walking around people likely hold their small towel in front of them.

Can you wear a shirt in an onsen? ›

2: You Must be Completely Naked. There is no way around this one. In Japan, clothing, towels, and any other garment that may be worn are considered sullied or “dirty” and should never, ever be brought into an onsen.

Why do people put towels on their heads in onsen? ›

Ishii: "If you really want to soak in the Japanese atmosphere, wrap it around your head! Since the towel is still moist with cool water, it will help to prevent blood from rushing to your head as you lower yourself into the onsen.

What does an onsen smell like? ›

The smell of salt

Some onsen waters give off the smell of the sea or, more accurately, the smell of sea water evaporating. Not surprisingly, this smell is found frequently in onsen by the seaside where there is a higher concentration of chloride in the onsen water. It brings to mind the sights and sounds of the sea.

What should I do before onsen? ›

Before entering the onsen bath itself

Wash yourself off – while you will notice that some people rinse themselves before entering a bath (and shower afterward), it's customary (and polite) to thoroughly wash oneself before entering the bath.

How do you shower in an onsen? ›

How to bathe in an onsen
  1. (1)Rinsing off. Careful attention is required when pouring water over your body in order to acclimate it to high temperatures. ...
  2. (2)When soaking in hot water, first submerge only half of your body. ...
  3. (3)Do not rinse off after bathing in onsen. ...
  4. (4)Keep your body hydrated. ...
  5. (5)Rest and relax.

What should I bring to an onsen? ›

Bring a shower caddy with your favorite soap, shampoo and a washcloth, and bring a towel. Most onsens will provide towels. Many provide soap and shampoo dispensers. You will enter a changing room with lockers, and probably baskets.

Why do I feel dizzy after onsen? ›

Many people report feeling dizzy or nauseous after their first few times after going to an onsen, and this is usually because of dehydration or overheating from staying in too long.

Why do I feel tired after onsen? ›

When you soak in warm water, your body temperature rises, then quickly cools down when your bath is complete. This body-cooling process can help you relax and fall into a deeper sleep.

What do they drink after onsen? ›

Today onsen bathers have a choice of coffee milk or fruit milk, per Live Japan — both are sweet drinks which seem to help the body re-energize quickly after a bath.

What do you wear to an onsen spa? ›

Japanese onsens are enjoyed naked. Swimsuits or underwear are not allowed. Kindly wash your body well before getting in the onsen. Ensure the area is clean after use for the comfort of other guests.

Are foreigners allowed in onsen? ›

Kinosaki Onsen is the ideal place for a first visit to an onsen town in Japan. It's easily accessible (2.5 hours on the train from Kyoto or Osaka), foreigner-friendly (with signs in English and tattoos allowed), and is oh so pretty.

Do Japanese girls take baths together? ›

Japan has a long tradition of communal bathing with onsen and sento. You can still find gender-mixed onsen even today.

Do Japanese couples bathe together? ›

In general, the Japanese enjoy taking baths together, and there are different opportunities to do so. It can happen while staying at a hotel together, for example, where the bathroom has a big bathtub.

Can you drink alcohol in onsen? ›

A combination of alcohol and onsen may cause blood circulation to become too efficient and place strain on your heart. There is also a possibility of cerebral anemia due to changes in blood pressure upon exiting the water. Please avoid onsen while drinking or after becoming intoxicated.

Do you wear a bra under a kimono? ›

A kimono bra is ideal, but if not, a sports bra or non-wire bra is recommended. If you don't have it, keep in mind the following and choose from what you have.

What you should not wear in Japan? ›

Also, keep in mind that tatty looking clothing can be frowned upon. Try to wear neat and well-maintained clothing, and keep yourself well-groomed. For example, holes in socks are a big no-no, because you spend lots of time without shoes on – visiting temples, shrines and traditional restaurants etc.

How long should you soak in onsen? ›

The recommended duration of soaking is not more than 15 to 20 minutes. It's important to note that immersing yourself in hot water for too long will excessively raise your blood pressure or heart rate, causing dizziness and discomfort.

Do Japanese wear towels in hot springs? ›

Take off ALL your clothes

In Japan, it's considered “dirty” to wear anything but your birthday suit in an onsen. Nudity is required, but fear not; you won't see *anything* in the water, and towels/robes are often provided to cover your bits.

Where do you put the towel on the onsen? ›

You cannot put your towel inside the hot spring water. The towel is used for washing the body, so if you put it in the water, you could dirty the water. You can either place it on your head, or leave it in the washroom instead.

How long can you sit in hot springs? ›

The intense heat can cause dehydration, fainting, and even burns depending on the temperature, so stick to 10- or 15-minute soaks with breaks in between to allow your body temperature to return to normal.

How long do you soak in a Japanese bath? ›

“I usually recommend — because they are hot, 10 to 15 minutes in one bath is kind of a good max time to set. After those 10 or 15 minutes,” suggests Fukai, “you want to get up out of the bath or move to another bath or just relax a little bit.” But really, you can get out whenever you feel like you've gotten your fill.

How long do Japanese people spend in the bath? ›

According to one survey, 88% of Japanese said they liked taking baths. In a Japanese bath, an extra-deep tub is filled to the top with very hot water, in which you sit submerged up to the neck. Most people spend about half an hour in the bath every night.

Do you have to shower after hot springs? ›

Most find that it is beneficial to not shower after soaking so that the minerals remain on the skin. You'll be surprised how soft your skin will feel.

Should you rinse off after hot springs? ›

Don't take a shower after you have finished bathing

Medicinal components in the water will get washed off in the shower, and their effects will be reduced. If your skin is sensitive and easily irritated, please do rinse yourself off with fresh water.

Do hot springs raise blood pressure? ›

Circulation: Specifically, sodium bicarbonate and calcium found in mineral hot springs help with good circulation in the body. This can have numerous positive impacts, including lower blood pressure.

Why do you put a towel on your head in an onsen? ›

Ishii: "If you really want to soak in the Japanese atmosphere, wrap it around your head! Since the towel is still moist with cool water, it will help to prevent blood from rushing to your head as you lower yourself into the onsen.

Can you talk in an onsen? ›

It is perfectly acceptable to talk in the onsen. In fact many people go there with friends or family members to chat in a relaxed setting. Rowdiness, however, is not acceptable. So just be mindful of everyone's right to enjoy the facilities.

Why do Japanese people wear towels in the bath? ›

Things You Should Take To The Sento

The small towels are for washing your body in the bathtub, and for drying off before you return to the dressing room. You can bring the small towel into the bathtub.

Do you have to shave before onsen? ›

Most Japanese women I've seen at onsen or sentos don't shave, most of the times I was the only one who had shaved. But I don't think anyone cares, it's just personal preference.

Do people wear towels in onsen? ›

Take off ALL your clothes

In Japan, it's considered “dirty” to wear anything but your birthday suit in an onsen. Nudity is required, but fear not; you won't see *anything* in the water, and towels/robes are often provided to cover your bits.

Should I shave for onsen? ›

A: The answer differs for men and women. In general, it is acceptable for men to shave in the shower area of the onsen, and razors are even provided. For women, it is not generally acceptable to shave in the onsen as this is seen as an activity that should be done privately.

Do Japanese people bathe together? ›

Japan has a long tradition of communal bathing with onsen and sento. You can still find gender-mixed onsen even today.

Why do Japanese hang curtains in doorways? ›

It is thought that noren originally appeared during the Heian Period (794-1185), where they were used to keep houses cool, or retain heat during colder weather. Gradually, businesses started using them to guard entrances from dust, dirt, bad smells and smoke; a function they still carry out today.

Videos

1. I Tried $20 Cheap Capsule Hotel with Onsen in Tokyo Japan
(travelgeek)
2. 100 YEAR OLD ONSEN HOTEL | HAKONE Hot Spring, Shopping and Owakudani Thermal Valley
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3. Relaxing in a Japanese Hot Spring | 24 Hours in Kagoshima
(Abroad in Japan)
4. Hot springs hopping ♨️ Onsen tour in Kinosaki 城崎温泉
(Japanese Conversation with Terumi)
5. Traditional Japanese Inn & Hot Spring - Ookawaso Hotel
(Yellow Productions)
6. Battle Trip | 배틀트립 – Ep.77 : Fuku, Fuku, Fukuoka hot spring trip! [ENG/THA/2017.02.04]
(KBS WORLD TV)

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