This indoor hot springs theme park is a real only-in-Japan experience – it’s like spending a day in Old Edo, with every kind of food and variety of hot spring you can imagine.
At the Oedo Onsen we can jump in and out of all kinds of hot springs, from milky white micro-bubble filled water to rusty red, rich in minerals. Men and women bathe in separate areas, of course, but everyone can meet up to eat and drink and enjoy the foot bath and the weirdest beauty treatment ever together.
First we exchange our street clothes for traditional cotton yukatas, and meet up in the town square. The Oedo Onsen is designed to look like an Edo Era village at twilight, complete with a festival drum tower strung with lanterns.
What shall we do first? Go into the bath area and try all the hot springs? Book a massage? Stick our feet in the Therapy Fish pool and get our toes nibbled? Be buried up to our necks in a sauna-like Sand Bath? So many choices!
Open 7 days a week
11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Admission: ¥2800 adult, ¥1575 child
Note about the Oedo Onsen: Except for the sand bath, foot bath and therapy fish pool, clothing is not worn in the bathing sections of the onset (not even swimsuits). If you are squeamish about being without your clothes among people you don’t know (men and women have separate bath areas, but not private ones for small groups), this part of the onsen experience might not be for you. In Japan, nudity at the public bath is a way of life, but if this makes you uncomfortable, skip this part of the attraction.
Step-by-step directions for navigating the Oedo Onsen
Go into the building, through the big glass automatic doors. Take off your shoes before stepping up onto the tatami matting, put your shoes in the locker, take the key with you, and proceed to the check-in counter. After you register and give them your credit card, you will be given a key on a wristband. This key is for your locker and has a bar code on it so that you can charge food, drink, and entertainment while inside the onsen without carrying your purse or wallet. You will settle your bill when you check out at the end of your visit.
Continue to the back of the lobby to the counter where you choose which yukata you would like to wear for your visit (free). Proceed to the men’s (blue curtain) or women’s (red curtain) changing rooms and change into your yukata, being careful to wrap it with the left side over the right side. (The other way is only for burial.) Leave your clothing and wallet, etc. in the locker. You may take a camera with you to shoot pictures in the public areas, although of course not in the onsen areas where people are naked.
You will exit from the changing rooms to the “town square” area, which has been built to resemble an Edo-era town. Lining the “street” are many shops, food stands and restaurants – udon and soba noodles, sushi, unagi (eel), oden, beer, sake, etc. Often there is live entertainment in the central area, and there are also booths where you can try your skill at ninja star throwing, arrow, and blow dart target shooting. Hot and cold water dispensers are placed in every area. Be sure to drink enough water while you are at the onsen, as it is easy to become dehydrated in the hot baths.
The entrance to the men’s and women’s segregated indoor/outdoor hot spring baths are between the food stands on the left wall as you enter from the changing rooms. Look for the red (women) or blue (men) cloth curtains hanging over the doorways.
Inside you will first come to the changing room. Use your wrist bar code to pay ¥100 for the use of a towel and washcloth, and to get a ¥100 coin to use in the lockers. Put your yukata, main locker key, and big towel in the locker. Take your little washcloth and your new locker key with you to the washing area.
Go into the hot spring baths area. The washing stations are near the door to the right. Wash yourself all over with soap and rinse thoroughly before entering any of the baths. The various baths are of different temperatures. Test each one before wading in. You can move freely between the baths both indoor and outdoor in this area. When you are finished, return to the changing area, put your yukata back on, and exit the way you came. (You will get your ¥100 coin back when you return the locker key.)
The doorway to the outside foot bath area is between the women’s onsen area and the women’s changing room. Over the scenic wooden bridge is a “stream” of hot water to wade in. Beware of the sections with sharp rocks set in the streambed! These are supposed to be for stimulating your acupressure points, but mostly they just HURT. Step carefully!
At the end of the “stream” is a soaking tub where you can sit with your feet in hot water, or you can proceed to the covered wooden walkway ahead and to the right. At the corner, if you turn left, is the “sunaburo” – the sand baths. For ¥1595, you can spend 15 minutes buried up to your neck in hot sand, just like at the volcanic beaches in Kyushu.
If you want to take a sunaburo (be buried in hot sand), walk along the wooden corridor toward the entry bridge until you come to the sunaburo booking office. You will be given a time to report to the sand bath area, invited to drink some water (a good idea) and use the bathroom before going to the sand bath.
Nearby destinations: Ginza, Kamiya-cho, Odaiba, Sengaku-ji, Tsukiji, Yoyogi Park, Zojo-ji Temple
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