- Naoko Goto
Enjoy onsen and foliage at the same time! 5 Recommended Onsen Inns Near Tokyo
Tokyo and the areas around it have a really exciting image thanks to it being a metropolis, but actually if you leave the center of the city, beautiful nature awaits you. Here are some carefully selected inns where you can easily enjoy both onsen (hot springs) and autumn foliage.
1. Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku (Gunma)
This onsen gets its name from the Takaragawa, a class A protected river that runs horizontally to the area. Osenkaku has an abundance of water that wells up from 4 springs, and there are four open-air baths in the 775sq.m. facility. Maka no Yu, a 200sq.m. bath, is great because the foliage that you can see from it turns so red you won't be able to look away. It's a mixed bath, but women staying at the inn can borrow a towel-dress for bathing. The other three baths also have fantastic scenery so you can heal yourself body and soul.
2. Matsukawaya Nasu Kogen Hotel (Tochigi)
Nasu is a famous onsen area, and it's famous for the history and water quality of Shika no Yu, the first spring discovered around 1,300 years ago. Matsukawaya Nasu Kogen Hotel is an inn on a plateau that uses water from the Shika no Yu as well as the Okunozawa spring. The main baths are indoors, but you can still enjoy a panorama view thanks to the ceiling-to-floor windows that will make you feel as though you're floating above the colorful foliage. There are rental open-air baths, so please enjoy the foliage and the baths to your heart contents.
*Photo is of the Nasu plateau
3. Kijitei Hoeiso (Kanagawa)
This is an inn that has a popular open-air bath thanks to it having the best view of the Sukumo River that floats right in front of it. The foliage of the Hakone mountains is overwhelming, and when you're bathing in the bath directly by the river you can enjoy the feeling of becoming one with nature. This bath uses water from what is called Hakone's best alkaline spring, and it's famous for being good for your skin. After your skin becomes supple and you've relaxed entirely, you can enjoy the inn's pheasant cuisine. It's low-calorie and packed with amino acids and protein. The light, non-gamey taste is often given rave reviews by people trying it for the first time! Also, the tastefully decorated rooms are popular with overseas travelers.
*Photo is for illustration purposes.
4. Kaiseki Ryokan Ashikari (Kanagawa)
Yugawara Onsen has such a long history that it appears in poetry from the Nara period (around 1300 years ago). This inn is near Manyo Park, a park chosen as one of Japan's top 100 historical parks, and on the grounds there's a garden called Manyo No Niwa that you can enjoy all year round. Both have beautiful foliage every year so you can see the elegant sight. Also, the onsen is pure alkaline so it's good for chasing away exhaustion. The water is also known for being gentle on skin and you'll be healed by the smooth touch.
5. Hito no Yado Takimien (Chiba)
Chiba's Yoro Keikoku is one of Japan's foremost areas for foliage. Hito no Yado Takimien pulls water from the Yoro hot spring. This hotel is right in front of Awamata Falls, so there's a great view of them. The colorful sight of the foliage reaching up to the sky from the open-air bath and the large bath is invigorating. You can see foliage in this area relatively late for Kanto, so even if you think that you've missed it you should inquire because you might be going at the perfect time.
*Photo is of Yourou Keikoku
If you travel just a few hours outside of Tokyo, you'll reach another world of hot springs and autumn foliage. It's so close by and you can enjoy not just bathing but also exploring the mountains, ravines, and rivers, so you'll be able to deeply appreciate Japanese autumns.
*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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