Get on Board Japan’s Table Tennis Wave! The 5 Best Onsen Resorts and Hotels in the Greater Tokyo Area Where You Can Play a Round of Ping-Pong
Table tennis is hugely popular in Japan at the moment, and there are many onsen resorts and hotels around the country where everyone, from the old to the young and even children, can enjoy a game of ping-pong. After you have washed away any tiredness with a relaxing dip in an onsen, why not enjoy a chilled out game of table tennis? This is why in this article you will hear about accommodation in the greater Tokyo area at which you can enjoy a healing hot spring, decadent food, and a game of table tennis that will have your pulse racing before you know it.
Why Do Onsen and Table Tennis Go So Well Together?
Table tennis is also known by the name ping-pong. If you are playing a more serious or professional match, the sport is dubbed table tennis, however, if you are simply playing for fun at an onsen resort, it is often called ping-pong.
The "ping" is said to come from the sound that the ball makes when it bounces off the table, while the "pong" comes from the sound that is made when it hits the racket.
It is thought of as the best sport to play during a stay at an onsen resort, as it allows you to break a sweat while getting to know the pals or loved ones who have come with you on your trip.
Some people like to enjoy a spot of ping-pong after a relaxing dip in an onsen, while others prefer to hop into the hot spring after a game, it's up to you. Why not create a valuable memory of your trip at one of these "ping-pong onsen"?
1. Katsuura Hotel Mikazuki, Minami-Boso, Chiba
The unique selling points of this hotel include a full panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean from the its large natural hot springs, as well as both indoor and outdoor spa facilities. Natural hot springs are said to work to alleviate nerve pain, among a host of other health benefits. The hot water is also known to be kind to those with sensitive skin.
The indoor and outdoor spas are expansive, with a range of pools, open-air baths, and saunas on offer. There is so much available that you may not make it to everything in one day! Let the weather be your guide as to which facilities to use when you visit. When you have finished bathing, it is recommended to avail of the free ping-pong racket rental service. There are some unusual table tennis experiences on offer here also, with a round table designed for four players and the option to play with miniature rackets and even slippers.
Food comes in the form of a buffet, with a wealth of different options available such as sushi, sashimi, nabe (hot pot), steak, grilled seafood, tempura, and desserts. Moreover, as the prices are reasonable, it is a popular destination for families in the Kanto area looking for a low-cost stay at an onsen hotel.
2. Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa
This high-spec western style hotel is lauded for the beauty of its guestrooms which come in a variety of different types, such as Japanese tatami rooms, western rooms, and a mixture of both. All rooms are non-smoking, so the Hilton Odawara is a good choice if you have children accompanying you.
It is perfect for those guests looking to experience a resort atmosphere, as well as those looking to completely relax and unwind, which you can do in the guest rooms that are replete with views overlooking the ocean, as well as in the hot spring pools, which are the jewels in the crown of this resort. There are also stone saunas and relaxations spas available on site. This expansive hotel also includes tennis courts and a golf course on its grounds, meaning that you can enjoy a range of fun activities during your stay (*note that these are charged separately).
The ping-pong area is quite large, at 800 sq.m., and because there are a number of different tables available, you won't have to worry about forcing those who are eager to play to wait. You can rest safe in the knowledge that whether it is before or after a dip in an onsen, you will be able to enjoy a game of ping-pong to your heart's content.
Depending on the eatery, you can find buffets as well as a la carte options on site. On fine days, you will see a number of patrons enjoying a relaxed lunch in the garden-style seating areas. There are set multi-course meals available at dinner times and for those who would prefer a quiet meal in peace, there is also a wide selection available to order from the room service menu.
3. Kinugawa Hotel Mikazuki, Kinugawa Onsen
This hotel is renowned for the culinary experiences on offer, with chefs preparing dishes in front of your eyes in a type of performance-based dining. There are also Japanese style eateries on site with seating dug into the floor. It is the kind of dining experience that those visiting Japan from overseas should be sure to try at least once.
The hot springs can be accessed along the 100-meter-wide "garden corridor". There is so much choice on offer that you will struggle to get to all of them in just one day. The rustic flavors of the Kinu no Yu bath are the pride of this resort. The Ogon (golden) bath is a large open-air bath that is lit up and very popular. The Yumemi no Yu is unique in that it is available to be rented out to groups. Each of these three baths offer their own virtues and are home to a special atmosphere. After you have enjoyed a pleasant soak, why not take a step back in time by wearing a yukata and having a game of ping-pong? The table tennis tables at this resort are the classic kind, emitting a traditional Japanese feel.
If you are staying at the resort, you are entitled to use the indoor spa facilities on the day you arrive and the following day for free (only paying for the linens that you use). Please note that the outdoor spa facilities are only open in the summer. Of course you can also pay to enter the facilities if you are not booked into the resort, so why not stay and enjoy the amenities until you have to leave for the airport?
4. Asaya Hotel, Kinugawa Onsen
Asaya Hotel is bursting with different onsen for visitors to enjoy. If you enjoy open air baths, then you must visit the elevated baths they have here. You also have the option of visiting the larger public baths that seem to be located deep in the woods or making use of the private open air baths that are attached to the guest rooms and provide a marvelous view of the starry night skies and the surrounding mountains. The menus are teeming with choice, with over 100 options to choose from, with Japanese, Western, and Chinese dishes available.
The food is generally served in a buffet style, meaning that you can eat a little bit of everything that takes your fancy. You do have a number of other choices also, such as traditional Japanese eateries and luxury restaurants with private booths at which you can dine on traditional multi-course Japanese meals, known as kaiseki.
Regarding guest rooms, there are traditional Japanese tatami rooms, the kind you would picture when imagining a Japanese hotel, as well as others which blend Japanese and western influences for a refined experience. This means that guests from overseas will be able to pick the room that works for them. One plus-point of this hotel is that the ping-pong tables are located in their own room, meaning that if there is no one else using the tables then you can enjoy a private game. There are also a sizeable number of tables available, meaning that even if you are in a large group you shouldn't have a problem finding a table.
5. Lalaca, Gora Onsen, Hakone City
This onsen adjacent ryokan has a homely and friendly atmosphere. There are private indoor and outdoor baths filled with water from the source of the hot springs. There are both western rooms and traditional Japanese tatami rooms available but whichever you choose you will be able to gaze upon the bountiful nature of the surrounding mountains of Hakone. Please note that all guest rooms are non-smoking.
The traditional Japanese multi-course kaiseki option that leverages the freshest in seasonal ingredients is popular with diners at Lalaca. Other options include a course-based plan featuring seasonal selections of boat-shaped sushi and sashimi, a filling treat of Ise shrimp roasted in an oven, thin cuts of Kuroge wagyu grilled in the sukiyaki style and splendid alfonsino shabu-shabu. These are just some of the choices available on this expansive and varied menu.
Moreover, the waiting room for the baths is home to a beautiful ping-pong table, meaning that you can play while waiting to enter into the onsen, or pass some time here after you have emerged from a dip and are waiting for other friends to finish up. In the same area you will find a free massage chair and cold drinks, so enjoy your time in the space playing ping-pong and availing of what else is on offer.
This article introduced you to 5 of the best hotels and onsen resorts in the greater Tokyo area where you can enjoy the dual luxuries of onsen and ping-pong. Playing a game of ping-pong at a hot spring resort while a traditional Japanese yukata offers up a completely different type of fun than what you are used to. If you are interested in ping-pong than why not use a trip to an onsen as an opportunity to give it a try?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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