January 1, 2021
Happy New Year! Here is a huge update. I was able to sneak around Japan thanks to a JR East pass for any non-Japanese, even PR holders, and before that a trip to see some friends in Nagano so there are many new places outside of Kansai added in this update. Thanks to the Nagano trip I've completed the Tatsuno Triangle near Lake Suwa and heading to Aomori and back on the JR East pass gave me a big move forward in my goal to ride all the train lines in Japan. At the time of this update I have done 45.91% of the 27,843.8km of rideable track in Japan.
I wish you all have a safe, healthy and warm 2021. Thank you for your continued readership of my little project here.
New Reviews Added
A new place in Akita and Aomori on my trip north. I had been to Akita before but this was my first bath there in the large Komachi entertainment and hotel complex. Surprisingly good spring water too! In Aormori I changed trains, visited the interesting and educational forestry museum which is housed in a seriously cool Meiji era building, and went to the Machinaka Onsen a kenko land / hotel that has an above average natural hot spring.
3 new places in a new prefecture, Niigata! Kamabuta no Yu is a recently built supersento with a super slippery spring. Yahiko Shrine is amazing and there are two hot springs in the area. Myōgaya is one of the easiest to access ryokan that offer day use. There are a boat load of springs aroudn Yuzawa in the Niigata mountains, but time and heavy snowfall led me to visit the bath they have in the train station!
I spent an afternoon riding the Hokutetsu private railway in Kanazawa. At the end of line (and 15 min walk) is the Uchinada outlet of the Yurara chain of supersento. Second best spring water in this update with a great woody, earthy smell to it.
Up during a short trip to Nagano I was able to hit up 4 places in Shimosuwa onsen. The baths there are HOT! Like the hottest water I have experienced at 47˚C. Holiday-yu is a hotel/resort that has day use and a weird bath design. Yukemori Onsen Yakushi no Yu in Ōmachi has a decent bath but a great onsen museum which I will be writing about soon. Kuwa no Yu is the last sento in Shiojiri City and sells some cool t-shirts. Lastly is the extremely forgettable Kaede no Yu in Yamanouchi.
On the way home from Nagano we stopped at a hotel/resort that also had a day use spring and were extremely surprised. Only a 15 minute detour from the Meishin Expressway in Yōrō is Yusen no Sato. Probably the best spring in this update.
3 new places in Kyoto from all over the prefecture. First is the Sakae Onsen just in front of Ayabe Station in the north west of the prefecture. In the south east of the prefecture Suishun has opened a new supersento / hotel by Matsuiyamate station. Lastly just south of Kyoto Station in an area with not much else on offer is the well used but very comfortable Chikara no Yu.
Tondabayashi City in southern Osaka Prefecture has one last sento named after the local mountain: Katsuragi Onsen.
I did a day of riding trains and hitting up places in Nara and found a few gems. Chuō Onsen in Yamatotakada is a classic retro sento that every enthusiast should visit. In Sakurai City Sakura-yu is a municipal bathhouse but enjoyable. The Nishiyamato outlet of the Niji no Yu chain had an amazing spring running up until November of 2020. It is still a beautiful location, but with out the spring it would be hard to justify the trip if you do not already live in the area.
Kyōei Onsen in Ikeda is a decent sento used as a location for a movie released in 2020.
Sanwa Onsen in Amagasaki is forgettable. Could have been nicer if it was better maintained.
Total Reviews Online: 566
November, 2020 Update:
Get your steam on at Gokuraku-yu in Kawanishi City
Laule'a Resort, a new supersento with a lovely hot spring in Amagasaki
Umegae-yu in Takasago. The only sento in the city and a living museum built in 1943!
Some great jets at Fukutsuke Onsen in Suita.
ALERT! Sansui Onsen in Ibaraki is closing at the end of the year on Dec 31, 2020. Make sure to try out this amazing sento before it goes away!
Great spring water hidden in HigashiOsaka City at Minowa no Sato Onsen.
Recently opened supersento with a gym in Yao: Kita no Yu - Yao
My indifference to the Gokuraku-yu chain of supersento continues after a visit to their Nara outlet.
Utopia Kirishima is a very conveniently located sento between the Keihan and JR lines in Otsu.
Just got off the plane at ITM and you want to take a bath? Kofuku Onsen in Toyonaka is not only the closest option, it is also a great option.
Total Reviews Online: 542
September 15, 2020 Update:
Yamaguchi Prefecture: Took a solo Seishun 18 Kippu trip to ride the Ube Line in Yamaguchi and visited 3 places. A sento and supersento and that was so bad I am not linking to it here.
Konparu-yu is in a great location in an area with not many other options, 5 min from Iwakuni Station.
Onsen no Mori is a supersento style day use facility in the Yuda Onsen area of Yamaguchi City. Great option if you are not staying in one of the many hotels.
Okayama Prefecture: On the way home from Yamaguchi I hit up 2 more sento near Okayama station. One of them was too weird to post here the other was fine.
Aioi-yu is a great option between Okayama station and Okayama Castle.
Kansai Area: 2 new-to-me sento in Kansai
Shōwa-yu is 3 min from Hankyu Awaji and great but only a bit small. They are also participating in a Minoh Beer promotion at the moment.
Midori-yu is a very local sento in Suita near the JR station.
Total Reviews: 528August 22, 2020 Update:
Hiroshima Prefecture: My daughter and I did another mini trip that gave me the opportunity to go to 3 new locations and get a photo for the New Japan capsule/sauna.
Ho no Yu Ujina is a decent supersento with a natural hot spring.
Ondo Onsen is an amazing hot spring sento on the edges of Hiroshima's nightlife district.
Kurihara Onsen is a sento that is 3 minutes from Onomichi Station.
Kansai Area: 3 more places in the Kansai area.
Yofudo Onsen is a rural hot spring that the entire family enjoyed and want to return to.
Nagasu Onsen is an amazing sento in Amagasaki. I would love to live near here to go more often. Also, this means that I only have 1 or 2 more locations to visit before completing Amagasaki.
Kaminaka-yu is a great option near Tsuruhashi Station that has a lovely outdoor cold-water bath.
Total Reviews: 521
August 10, 2020 Update:
Ise City: My daughter and I went to Ise and Toba for a mini summer vacation. Ise has a surprising number of sento still active and I chose a hotel here because they were cheaper than Toba, had better access to a supermarket and, most important better access to sento. Asahi-yu is one of those ideal sento and worth a visit for any enthusiast. Reisen-yu had some of the best well water fed baths I have experienced. If it only it had a cold water tub, it would be in my top 10 list.
Tottori, Hyogo and Okayama: We on a weekend trip to the Tottori and Hyogo border to swim in the ocean, and on that trip I was able to tick off a few municipal and rare hot springs. Utopia Hamasaka is a deal at ¥300 yen and you can boil eggs in the spring water for free. The view from Sakyu Onsen Fureai Kaikan is just as good as the spring water, the best quality of this bunch. Lastly is a hidden little hot spring village in the hills near the Tottori and Okayama border. Awakura Onsen is on the Chizu Kyuko Railway and can be fit into an excursion into this region.
Kansai Area: Momodani Onsen is a spartan but refreshing sento near the Loop Line station of the same name. Yuzakura is a new supersento near KawanishiNoseguchi station in an area with out many other options.
Total Reviews: 515
June 23, 2020 Update:
Added: Kotobuki no Yu in Sanda. This place took over the old Kumanosato Supersento space, did a big clean and made a supersento worth checking out.
Added: ManyoClub in the Harborland area of Kobe. This day use hot spring and resort hotel was underwhelming if you just want a bath.
Added: Fukufuku Onsen in Fukusaki north of Himeji. Great location 5 min from a rural train station. While the spring water was decent the lack of diversity in bath temperature was disappointing.
Update: Mori no Yu, the closest bathing option to Himeji Station, is going strong and a great place to remember if you are in the area.
Coronavirus Update: Here in Kansai region inter prefecture movement was allowed for casual reasons since June 20th. Sento seem to be unchanged as they are a public health facility. Supersento and other bathing facilities seem to be open with limited occupancy, mask requirements, and body temperature checks among other requirements. I am still trying to stay in Hyogo for hiking and hot springs and happy to get back into the water.
April 7, 2020 Update:
There should be 504 reviews now online.
All reviews have been checked and should be up to date.
Added Kaze no Yu in Kawachi Nagano, A few more in Ikeda, a hidden secret of a quality natural spring in residential Sakai and a very rural municipal bath in Kato.
Stay home. I have not been out to take a bath in more than a week now and I am really craving some ofuro time. I hope all the small sento and hot springs get support from the Japanese government to cover their losses during this difficult time with the COVID19 virus. Looking forward to hitting up countless sento once everything returns to what ever the new normal will be.
Thanks to the virus and being stuck at home I hope to have a renewed and better understood hot spring classification section up soon.