Guide and information of Japan travel, with Onsen, Hot Spring near Hakone, Kusatsu, Nikko and Tokyo.
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ONSEN HOT SPRING (including mixed bath)
This page to introduce easy but real onsen experience from downtown Tokyo (as one-day-short-trip). If you had JR Pass, if you had one day extra in Tokyo, it is truly worth travelling one or even few of below. Please make maximum use of your pass with authentic Japanese style of holiday. The last on this list is of course Asakusa Onsen (town onsen with local people). For those who would like to jump and soak with swimming suit (swimming pants), please find no-shy-at-all Hakone Kowakien Yunessun (but not really Japanese authentic traditional style).
Nikko Onsen
Very popular and very local atmosphere. Three hot springs are run by the city. Please also refer to Nikko One Day Tour Page.
Map There are three buttons for futher information. Tobu Line (not JR but private railway) has frequent trains from Asakusa direct. For JR Pass Holders, please take Shinkansen to Utsunomiya, then local train to Nikko.
Kawarayu Onsen
This is the NEWEST onsen hot spring village in Japan. After the Fukushima nuclear power plants disaster, this river water dam called Yamba dam, one of the biggest hydro-power dams in Japan was highly needed, and its construction was in urge. All old village including old hot spring had been moved to new location, train railways also replaced out of the new dam. Now, let's enjoy brand-new squeaky clean hot spring made in 2015.

Ou-Yu, one of the public facilities, is recommended at only JPY500. Yamakikan Ryokan had new-opened at new place. Authentic historical ryokan is under the "damn" lake in human history (^^)
Map There are several direct trains from Ueno to Kawayu-Onsen station on Agazuma Line. You may search updated train schedule at HyperDia but the followings shows one good example/connection. It costs about JPY10,000 round trips per adult WITHOUT JR PASS.
Ueno 10:00 => 12:24 Kawarayu-Onsen 15:47 => 18:10 Ueno
Shimobe Onsen (with excellent view of Mt.Fuji on your way)
This is never-listed-any-guide-book hot spring. Not major does not mean bad onsen at all. It is just middle of nowhere in mountains. Although, access is quite straight forward with only one transfer from downtown Tokyo. Advantage is that you may capture whole Mt.Fuji view from train window, JR Minobu Line is the closest line of JR to the mountain. Shimobe Hotel is JPY1,200 including rest area, but several alternative facilities are also listed at this page , and you may find much cheaper which means less luxury.
Map There are Hikari Express (Shinkansen, the bullet train) running every 30 minutes, and there are Wide-View-Fujikawa (Limited Express) running almost every 2 hours. You may search updated train schedule at HyperDia but the followings shows one good example/connection. It costs about JPY18,000 round trips per adult WITHOUT JR PASS. First option is to go and come back in same route (2 chances to see Mt.Fuji, morning face and afternoon face is 2 different beauties). Second option is to go northern side of Mt.Fuji which you may see only the top (8th station to the summit) beyond another mountain range. Kofu to Otsuki has grape field, Otsuki to Takao goes along valley, Takao to Shinjuku through west residential Tokyo downtown including Mitaka, Kichijoji and Nakano.
Tokyo  07:03 => 08:06 Shizuoka 08:16 => 09:47 Shimobe-Onsen 15:19 => 16:56 Shizuoka 17:37 => 18:40 Tokyo
Tokyo  07:03 => 08:06 Shizuoka 08:16 => 09:47 Shimobe-Onsen 15:19 => 16:02 Kofu 16:10 => 17:51 Shinjuku
Takaragawa Onsen
Watch out for the black bears in cages. If you stayed overnight, you might be ending up eating one piece of their body (bear meat at dinner table!), but if you would like to experience day time spa, this is one of the best NATURAL in deep mountain. Discount ticket is available at the shop in front of JR Minakami station or in Ginza branch (one of Gunma campaign shop). This is also one of the rare mixed-bath (no swimming suite!) and actually Minakami has many other hotsprings listed on this page.
Map There is no longer direct train to Minakami (except high season), but Shinkansen, the bullet train, has the alternative way to reach into the nature world. Bus is not JR, therefore JPY2,300 round trip (for the bus journeys) has to be paid at bus driver when you get off. JPY2,780 special discount ticket is including the bus (JPY2,300 round trip) as well as admission fee (JPY1,500), which means JPY1,020 discount from JPY3,800. See above page for the discount ticket, please. You may search updated train schedule at HyperDia but the followings shows one good example/connection.
Ueno  06:27 => 08:15 Takasaki 08:24 => 09:29 Minakami 09:40 => 10:20 Takaragawa Onsen 15:30 => 16:08 Minakami 16:59 => 18:03 Takasaki 18:36 => 20:12 Ueno (JPY2,200 required for round trip bus journeys)
Tokyo  06:32 => 07:54 Jomokogen 08:32 => 08:57 Minakami 09:40 => 10:20 Takaragawa Onsen 15:30 => 16:08 Minakami 16:30 => 16:55 Jomokogen 17:22 => 18:40 Tokyo (JPY3,400 required for round trip bus journeys)
Akazawa Onsen
This is listed on top of Best-Impressed-View-Onsen in Japan, and this page could explain without words. When ladys on 3rd floor, gentlemen on 4th floor. Or, when ladys on 4th floor, gentlemen on 3rd floor. Sky view is naturally on the 4th floor. Mixed bathing is available with surcharge (upon availabilities, no reservation possible).
Map There are direct limited express from Tokyo, but please note that it is not JR between ito and izu-kogen, therefore, additional surcharge of JPY1,170 for izukyu limited express (or JPY660 for izukyu local train) one way per adult is must. You may search updated train schedule at HyperDia but the followings shows one good example/connection. JPY11,000 one way per adult WITHOUT JR PASS. There is a free frequent shuttle bus from izu-kogen station to the onsen site (return as well).
Tokyo 09:00 => 11:04 izu-kogen 15:39 => 17:44 Tokyo
Tokyo 07:26 => 08:13 Atami 08:25 => 09:15 izu-kogen 17:54 => 18:44 Atami 19:01 => 19:40 Tokyo
Omoigawa Onsen
Only local goes does not mean not the best onsen, but easiest and closest from downtown Tokyo. Maybe good for onsen beginner. From the Shinkansen (bullet train) station called Oyama, there is a frequent free shuttle bus service to/from the onsen place. Only in Japanese, but this page has the time table, basically every 15 - 30 minutes.
Map There are many frequent Shinkansen (bullet train) from downtown Tokyo to Oyama station. Please be aware that only Nasumo (slowest Shinkansen) and some Yamabiko (rapid Shinkansen) stops. Neither Hayabusa nor Hayate stops at Oyama station. You may search updated train schedule at HyperDia but the followings shows one good example/connection.
Tokyo 10:20 => 11:03 Oyama (every 15 minutes, shuttle bus) Oyama 18:01 => 18:44
Akiyama Onsen
Not touristic sometime means the best onsen, and easiest and closest from downtown Tokyo. Maybe good for onsen beginner. From the nearby JR station called Uenohara, there is only 09:50 and 12:15 and 15:00 buses departing from their self-made-bus-stop (not one of the public bus stops), some 150 meter east from the JR ticket office. Only in Japanese, but this page has the time table. Oh, very important! there is no shuttle bus service on January 1st, 2nd, 3rd and May 3rd, 4th, 5th and August 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th AND every Mondays and every Sundays and every National Holidays!
Map There are many JR local trains reaching to Uenohara station from either Takao (west of downtown Tokyo) or Shinjuku (west edge of the JR Yamanote Loop Line). There is no Limited Express stopping this tiny station. You may search updated train schedule at HyperDia but the followings shows one good example/connection.
Tokyo 07:10 => 08:19 Takao 08:45 => 09:05 Uenohara 09:50 (this bus will take you to the hot spring)
For your coming back, please do not miss either 14:00, 16:30, 18:00 or 20:50 (the last bus) to get back to Uenohara station, from where there are frequent JR local train services back to Takao, Shinjuku and Tokyo.
Asakusa Onsen
It is the real onsen using hot-spring, mineral water, from 1,000 meter underneath of Tokyo city. Pictures and details in Japanese is available at Jakotsuyu, please. It is only 460yen per one adult (sauna costs extra 200yen) from 13:00 - 23:40, except Tuesdays. And the best thing is that it is located in downtown Tokyo, right in the middle of ASAKUSA. Tokyo Ryokan is in short walk distance. It is Japanese culture to crash down onto futon-bed after long-hour-onsen relaxation.
Map Yes, it is in Tokyo downtown. Nearest metro station is Tawaramachi (G18), located between Asakusa staiton and Ueno station. Official access map is available at this page (one more click away to official Google Map introducing Jakotsuyu).
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