Top 5 Onsen (Hot Springs) and Sento (Bathhouses) in Tokyo

Hear the word ‘onsen’, and a steaming pool in a remote, snowy location often comes to mind. However, you can actually find onsen here in Tokyo. Water from a hot spring is transported to the onsen, with different hot springs often said to have unique healing properties.
If you just want to get warm, you can also find sento, or the traditional bathhouses. In earlier years in Japan, many houses didn’t have their own baths, so sento, or bathhouses were popular. They were also seen as a way to connect with your local community. A unique part of Japanese culture, the first sento in Tokyo was built in 1591.
When you’re trying to decide which to go to, just remember that onsen are the ones using natural hot spring water, serving up the supposed healing benefits, whereas bathhouses just use normal hot water.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of rules for visiting an onsen or sento, but as long as you’re respectful and polite and keep the following in mind, you won’t have any problems.
・Take your clothes off in the changing area, and only take a small towel in with you
・Depending on the place, shampoo, conditioner and bodywash will be provided. If they aren’t, you can usually buy them at the front desk. Make sure to wash yourself at the showers before getting into the baths.
・Your small towel isn’t allowed in the water. Many people run it under cold water and place it over their heads to keep it cool.
・Make sure not to make too much noise, swim around or splash other people. Most people go there to relax.
・Onsen waters are said to have healing properties, so they often suggest you don’t shower after getting out but just dry off (as best you can, before heading into the changing room and drying off properly with your larger towel). Of course, if you wish to shower again after getting out, that’s absolutely fine as well.

Regarding tattoos, many places don’t allow them, so make sure to check before you go. With the upcoming Olympics the rules are changing, so you should be able to find a place that allows tattoos if you search. Some places also let you in if you cover them up, so be sure to ask.

Oedo Onsen Monogatari – Odaiba

This is actually more of an onsen theme park, with outside footbaths so you can paddle together if you come with your significant other, souvenir shops, traditional game stalls, street food… It’s a cross between a Japanese festival and a hot spring town. If you want to get some unique photographs of your time here, this is the perfect place as you change into yukata when you arrive before heading inside.
Tattoos: NO

Toshimaen Niwa no Yu – Nerima

Toshimaen is a huge theme park / water park, and Niwa no Yu is the onsen connected to it. It has both onsen baths and normal baths, as well as a co-bathing zone (swimsuits required), a micro-bubble bath, carbonated water bath, and saunas. There is also a wonderful Japanese garden to look at while bathing. About 30 minutes away from Shinjuku, this is more of a day out than an after-work soak.
Tattoos: NO

Shinjuku Thermae Yu – Shinjuku

Receiving its onsen water all the way from Izu, this large spa complex has saunas, hot stones, scrub treatments, massages, and a beauty salon – and is open 22 hours a day! Surprisingly enough, this large spa is located in the heart of Shinjuku, in the Kabukicho district. As this area is renowned for its nightlife, this is the perfect place to relax after the movies and drinking – all the way until 9am the following morning.
Tattoos: NO
…However, on their website it apparently used to say that they make an allowance for non-Japanese people who they understand may have cultural reasons for having tattoos (or just like the design…) and it ispossible to enter as long as they are covered up. The website doesn’t currently say this, so I would contact them to check before going if you want to be sure.

Musashino Onsen Nagomi no Yu – Ogikubo

Another spa conveniently close to Shinjuku (are you seeing a theme here?), this one is open 23 hours a day – so you can stay until 9:30 in the morning again. They have a sauna, a carbonated bath, coloured light therapy, massages and more. Staying overnight in an onsen town is a traditional way to spend a night in Japan – but here you can spend a night actually in the onsen!
English website here (most details are in Japanese, sorry)

Tattoos: NO

Somei Onsen Sakura – Sugamo

Located in Sugamo (often called Harajuku for grandmothers), here you can find onsen which use water from Toshima, Tokyo, as well as a hot stone sauna, relaxation room, hair salon and a beauty salon. There’s a free shuttle bus from the station, so you can be sure not to get lost. However, please be aware that this onsen doesn’t allow tattoos.
English website here
Tattoos: NO

Oyata Onsen Myoujin no Yu – Adachi

If you aren’t anywhere near Shinjuku, never fear! This onsen is located in northeast Tokyo, in Adachi. It is a very family-friendly spa, so expect lots of locals. It also means you don’t have to worry quite so much about being quiet – the sauna even has a TV in it. There are a variety of shallow outdoor baths, so you can lie back and look up at the evening sky. They do also offer massages, to help you relax even further.
Official (Japanese) website
Tattoos: NO

Ryusenji no Yu Hachioji – Hachioji

A popular ‘super-sento’ into Tokyo, Ryusenji no Yu is located in the hipster neighbourhood of Hachioji. As it opens at 6am, you can enjoy an early morning bath while waiting for the shops (as many shops in Japan don’t open until 10am), or come here in the evening when the outdoor baths are beautifully lit. As with the others, they have indoor and outdoor baths, as well as saunas. However, the restaurant here offers something unique: a vegetable buffet with locally grown vegetables. If you’re planning to spend a day in Hachioji, this is a must-see.
Official (Japanese) website
Tattoos: NO (as far as I can tell)

Saya no Yudokoro – Itabashi

With a variety of indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths, steam saunas, dry saunas, massage, a zen-style garden, and more, there’s something here for everyone. Some of the hot spring water is a beautiful olive green, which is said to both moisturise and detoxify, so make sure not to wash it off when you finish!
English website
Tattoos: NO

Yugawara Onsen Manyo no Yu – Machida

Open 24/7, here you can spend an whole day relaxing. It feels rather like a traditional local bath but on a much larger scale, they have a variety of different sized baths, saunas, hydrogen baths, and massage/reflexology. Prices change depending on the time you enter, how long you stay, which extra options you choose and so on, so be sure to check out the fees and schedule page before going.
English website here
Tattoos: NO

Times Spa Resta – Ikebukuro

Located close by to Ikebukuro, it’s easy to access and there’s plenty to do in the area for a day out. This spa is over-18 only, but has a stylish atmosphere with baths, saunas, an open air jacuzzi, and a wide range of beauty treatments. Open 24/7, after your hot bath you can cool down in a cold one, or head down to settle on the recliners and nap for a bit while you recuperate.
Official (Japanese) website
Tattoos: NO

Top Observation Decks with Night Views of Tokyo

There’s something fantastical about Tokyo at night time: like you exist for a moment inside a futuristic, cyberpunk world. Think neon lights, crowds of people, the low throb of music from nearby clubs…and patches of complete darkness where Tokyo’s numerous parks are placed. If you want to get the perfect photo for Instagram, check out the following observation decks; Located all across Tokyo, you’ll be sure to find the view (and the price) you want.

1. Roppongi Hills Observation Deck (Roppongi)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ser_is_snarkish/27311976301/

This is one of the best places to get an amazing view of the metropolis at night, although not the cheapest on our list with a ¥1,800 entrance fee. Roppongi is also famous for their winter lights, so the city looks sparkling as it’s laid out before you. It also means there’s lots of amazing night scenery to take photos of even on ground level. The ticket price includes entrance to Mori Museum, so be sure to go when there’s an exhibition you want to see!
Closest station: Roppongi (Location)
Hours: 10:00am-11:00pm (last admission 10:30pm)
Fri, Sat, days before national holidays 10:00am-1:00pm (last admission 12:00 midnight)
English website

2. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Shinjuku)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132839688@N08/32809155881/

Shinjuku is a crowded, bustling business center, with a skyline full of towering buildings. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building was actually the tallest building in Tokyo until 2007. It is a government building, so expect your bags to be checked on the way up, but the second floor holds an information centre which is also worth a visit anyway. Best of all, it’s free!
Closest station: Shinjuku (Location)
Hours: 9:30am-11:00pm (last admission 10:30pm)
English website

3. Tokyo Skytree (Asakusa)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/137294100@N08/24879689157/

The tallest freestanding broadcasting tower in the world (you have to be very specific to get the title of ‘tallest’), get a new perspective from inside one of the most common landmarks in Tokyo. There are two decks, at 350m and 450m above ground, so this one isn’t for the faint of heart. There are restaurants located inside the Skytree, for more leisurely viewing, and if you’re travelling make sure to bring your passport to get a fast entry ticket!
Closest station: Oshiage (Location)
Hours: 8:00am-10:00pm (last admission for Tembo Deck 9:00pm / Tembo Galleria 9:20pm)
English website

4. World Trade Center Building Observatory (Hamamatsucho)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/99751138@N07/18022116166/

The Seaside Top has a 360° view, including Tokyo Bay and Odaiba area. The Rainbow Bridge, located in Tokyo Bay, is one of the most famous locations in Tokyo and is often used in movies and TV shows to show the audience that it is set here. Odaiba itself is a wonderful location for a day out (or a special date) with restaurants overlooking the bay, so finishing up here would be a great ending to the evening. It’s also a pretty affordable option, at only ¥620!
Closest Station: Hamamatsucho (Location)
Hours: 10:00am-8:30pm (last admission 8:00pm)
No English website

5. Shibuya Scramble Square (Shibuya)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/blieusong/31915927208/

This newly completed building is home to Shibuya Sky, an observation area 229m above Shibuya. Day-of tickets cost ¥1,800 for adults, but are about ¥200 cheaper if bought online in advance, so this is one time when it pays to be prepared. Also, all tickets are for a specified day and time, so don’t be late! Shibuya of course is a major city centre, with a little of everything, so expect to have things to do all day and night here.
Closest Station: Shibuya (Location)
Hours:9:00am-11:00pm (last admission 10:00pm)
English website

6. Sunshine 60 (Ikebukuro)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiyoshi_be/3027880620/

Rebranded as Sky Circus, this is not just an observatory – it also has VR attractions, in case the skyline just isn’t enough. Also inside the same building, Sunshine City, is a popular aquarium with otters and penguins which appear to fly above you, and an indoor theme park called NamjaTown (think food stalls and kids games rather than jet coasters).
Closest station: Ikebukuro (Location)
Hours: 10:00am-10:00pm (last admission 9:00pm)
English website

7. Tokyo Tower

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hansjohnson/31846804332/

While it has been overtaken by the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower is still a much-loved symbol of Tokyo. The Skytree may be visible from all over Tokyo, but there’s something magical about suddenly seeing Tokyo Tower in the distance, between all the high-rise buildings. Tokyo Tower has souvenirs, a trick art museum, and even a shrine, so there’s plenty to see! It’s also located next to Shiba Koen, a park with a traditional kofun or historical burial mound in it (there’s not much to see, but it’s interesting once you know it’s there). Tickets cost ¥1,200 for the Main Deck, but go up a bit more for the Main Deck + Top Deck Tour at ¥3,000 (or ¥200 cheaper online). But what’s price when it comes to climbing a historical landmark!
Closest station: Onarimon, Akabanebashi, or Kamiyacho (Location)
Hours: Main Deck 9:00am-11:00pm (last admission 10:30pm)
Top Deck Tour 9:00am-10:45pm (last tour 10:00-10:15)
English website

The Best 10 Areas for Anime & Manga Lovers

Tokyo has become a very popular place to visit for foreigners travelling to Japan. There are many reasons that Tokyo attracts international tourists. Tokyo has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, and there many good night clubs, museums, and sightseeing spots as well. If you are an anime and manga lover, you should check out these 10 areas in Tokyo. These are the 10 best areas for fans to visit.

TOKYO ONE PIECE TOWER- Akabanebashi

This theme park dedicated to One Piece boasts nine different attractions spread out over four floors, including a replica kitchen to explore and a mirror maze. You can take photographs with models of your favourite characters, and buy unique souvenirs only be found here. Even if you don’t watch One Piece, it’s a great place to take the kids for a day out. Finally, there’s a live show held every day, so you can see the characters come to life on stage!
Access : Foot Town, Tokyo Tower, 4-2-8 Shiba Park, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Nearby Station :
Toei Oedo Line : Akabanebashi Station Akabane hashiguchi(gate) 5min
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line : Kamiyacho Station Exit 1 7min
Toei Mita Line : Onimen Station Exit A1 6min
Open : 10:00am-10:00pm
HP : https://onepiecetower.tokyo/news/

Sanrio Puroland – Tama

A famous icon world-wide, everyone knows Hello Kitty! Not to mention Sanrio’s wide variety of cute characters, including the lazy egg Gudetama, and the currently popular on Netflix Aggretsuko. Sanrio Puroland is where you can meet them all, see live shows, and take photos with your favourite characters. It’s like Disneyland but without the rollercoasters. This is a great place to visit with the whole family – and come in the winter months for some awesome night lighting!
Access : 1-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo
Nearby Station :
Keio Line, Odakyu Line : Tama Center 10min
Open : 9:30am-5:00pm
HP : https://en.puroland.jp/

Mandarake Store – Shibuya

If you’re looking for your favourite items and they don’t need to be new-in-the-box, Mandarake is the place to come. This second-hand store deals mainly in anime and manga, as well as related goods, DVDs, etc. There’s always something new (or old and unique) here, so you can spend hours just browsing the shop and seeing what you stumble across.
Access : Shibuya BEAM B2 floor Udagawa-cho 31-2, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Nearby Station : Shibuya Station
Open : 12:00pm-8:00pm
HP : https://en.puroland.jp/

Tokyo Anime Center

Tokyo Anime Center

This is where to go if you’re looking for keychains, toys, accessories – basically any anime-related merchandise. You can’t walk around reading manga all the time, and if you don’t display the characters you like through a pin badge on your bag then how will other people know? The shop is rather small and maze-like, but that just makes it all the more enchanting.
Access: DNP Ichigayatamachi Bldg. (BF)
1-14-1 Ichigaya-tamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Nearby Station :
Ichigaya Station (Yurakucho Line) 1-minute walk from Exit 6Ichigaya Station (Namboku Line) 1-minute walk from Exit 6
JR Ichigaya Station 5-minute walk
Ichigaya Station (Toei Shinjuku Line)6-minute walk from Exit 1
Open : 11:00am-8:00pm
HP : https://animecenter.jp/en/

Pokemon Center Tokyo DX and Pokemon Café – Nihonbashi

Located inside the famous Takashimaya department store, this is the largest Pokemon Center in Japan. You’ll need to make a reservation for the cafe in advance, but you can check out the store any time. It has a huge range of soft toys, and with some collaborations with traditional shops in the area – so you can find uniquely Japanese souvenirs such as Pokémon-themed chiyogami paper. Definitely worth checking out for anyone who’s a fan!
Access : Nihombashi Takashimaya S.C. East Building (5F)
2-11-2 Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan Postal code: 103-0027
Nearby Station :
5-minute walk from the Yaesu North Entrance of JR Tokyo Station
B2 entrance of Nihombashi Station of Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Tozai Line
4-minute walk from Nihombashi Station of Toei Asakusa Line
Open : (DX) 10:30am-9:00pm (Cafe) 10:30am-10:00pm
HP : https://www.pokemon.co.jp/gp/pokecen/english/tokyodx_access.html

Otome Road – Ikebukuro

This one’s for the ladies. While Akihabara is known for its maid cafes, often aimed at a more male audience, this area is focussed on items that generally women buy. There’s a Butler Cafe located here, as well as an Animate and Mandarake store that stock manga that are popular with women. If you want any goods decorated with your favourite bishounen, here’s where to find them!
Access : Otome Road is 8-10 minutes from the station
Close to Sunshine 60 Street, Sunshine City
Nearby Station :
JR, Maruuchi line : Ikebukuro Station
Open : 10:00am-9:00pm
HP : https://mipon.org/otome-road/

Unicorn Gundam – Diver City Mall

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vpasson/5194487011/

To get a sense of what it would feel like to live in a world with Gundam, visit this life-sized one in Odaiba. Towering above the people below it, you really get a sense of scale – and how scary it would be to get caught in a war fought with Gundam. This one even transforms a bit, from Unicorn Mode to Destroy Mode. ProTip: Visit in the evening to see it lit up. Odaiba also has Joypolis, so there’s more than enough to keep you busy all day.
Access : DiverCity Tokyo Plaza 1-1-10 Aomi, Koto-ku
Tokyo 135-0064
Nearby Station :
Yurikamome Line : Odaibakaihinkouen
Rinkan Line : Tokyo Teleport Station
Day time performance : 11:00/13:00/15:00/17:00
HP : https://mipon.org/otome-road/

Nakano Broadway – Nakano

https://www.flickr.com/photos/808armada/7400202192/

It’s often said that after Akihabara became more commercialised, Nakano Broadway became the place to go for anime and manga. Make sure not to stick to the ground floor, as most anime stores are on the second and third floors. You can find multiple small Mandarake stores here too, if you don’t have time to visit any of the major ones.
Access : Nakano Broadway is a five minute walk along the Nakano Sun Mall shopping street, which starts just across from the north exit of Nakano Station
Close to Sunshine 60 Dori, Sunshine City
Nearby Station :
JR Chuo Line, Tozai Subway Line : Nakano Station
Open : 12:00pm-8:00pm
HP : https://mipon.org/otome-road/

Nintendo TOKYO – Shibuya

This is the first official Nintendo store in Japan, located inside the newly renovated Parco in Shibuya. Here you can buy unique merchandise, and try out Nintendo’s latest releases for the Switch. As Nintendo also owns Pokemon, there’s Pokémon store on the same floor, so you can visit both at once!
Access : 15-1 Udagawacho Shibuya Tokyo
5 minute walk from Shibuya Station
Nearby Station : Shibuya Station
Open : 10:00pm-9:00pm
HP : https://www.nintendo.co.jp/officialstore/

Ghibli Museum – Mitaka

ADVANCE RESERVATIONS NECESSARY. No, seriously, get in quick. Tickets go on sale the previous month, and you will get a specified day and time. They’re not easy to get, so plan ahead. Once you’ve got your ticket, however, expect an amazing day out! There are original short films, special exhibitions, model rooms from different Ghibli movies, and a reading room. This is a must-see for Ghibli fans.
Access : 1-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan
Nearby Station :
To JR Mitaka Station, take the JR Chuo Line, approximately 20 minutes from JR Shinjuku Station. From the south exit of JR Mitaka Station, it’s a 15-minute walk to the Museum.
Open : 10:00pm-6:00pm
HP : http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/hours-and-directions/