There are a few famous onsen towns near Tokyo everybody knows about. But there are so many more amazing hot spring towns that you can visit as a day trip from Tokyo that I have decided to write this blog post.
Hakone Onsen and Atami Onsen are beautiful onsen towns that can be reached in less than 90 minutes from Tokyo. Kusatsu Onsen and Manza Onsen are further away but the best choice for onsen hopping. Nasu Onsen and Minakami Onsen are serene hot spring towns near Tokyo with wooden hot spring tubs.
Below you will find more information about all the 14 onsen towns near Tokyo. Get to know the top hot spring bath and onsen ryokans of each town so that you know where to start your onsen hopping adventure. You will also find more info about famous sightseeing spots and attractions nearby to help you select the best onsen town for your trip. But I promise you it won’t be an easy decision.
1. Hakone Onsen (1.5h from Tokyo)
Location: Hakone, Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, Kanagawa Prefecture
General Information: Hakone Onsen (箱根温泉) is one of Japan’s most popular hot spring resorts and one of the most popular day trip destinations from Tokyo. It is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and offers plenty of beautiful hot spring baths and luxurious onsen ryokans. Hakone’s most famous attraction besides the hot springs is Lake Ashinoko with views of Mount Fuji.
Popular Onsen Town Near Tokyo: You can find more than 50 public bathhouses and onsen ryokans in Hakone. A lot of the ryokans open their doors to non-staying guests and so you can even enjoy their baths even as a daytime visitor. For bathing, I can recommend Tenzan Hot Spring Village (天山湯治郷), one of the best tattoo-friendly onsen near Tokyo, and Hakone Yuryo (箱根湯寮) is an onsen with beautiful forest views. In case you are staying overnight, I can recommend Hotel Green Plaza Hakone. It has one of the few outdoor baths from where you have views of Mount Fuji.
Access: Take a Kodama Shinkansen and get off at Odawara Station. From there transfer to a local bus or the Hakone Tozan Railway bound for Hakone-Yumoto or one of the other stops in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. It takes about 1.5 hours from Tokyo to Hakone Onsen. Since the Japan Rail Pass is only valid until Odawara you can also consider getting the Hakone Freepass.
2. Ito Onsen (1.5h from Tokyo)
Location: Ito, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture
General Information: Ito Onsen (伊東温泉) is a famous hot spring resort that makes for a perfect day trip from Tokyo. It is located on the eastern coast of Shizuoka’s Izu Peninsula. The peninsula is renowned for its onsen towns, Jogasaki’s rugged and scenic coastline, Shirahama’s white sand beach, and Kawazu’s early cherry blossoms. Directly in Ito, you can also see Tokaikan, a historic hot spring ryokan that was built during the Showa period and is one of the few remaining wooden inns from that time.
Famous Onsen Town Near Tokyo: There are 8 public bathhouses and more than 30 hot spring inns. Each Sento is associated with one of the Seven Lucky Gods and you can find their statues nearby the bathhouses. The public onsen Wadayu, for example, is associated with Jurojin – the god of the elderly and of longevity. Its old-school indoor baths are not that pretty but very popular among day visitors and affordable for everyone.
For a real taste of Ito’s beautiful rotenburo I recommend you stay overnight. Toushinan Komeya (淘心庵 米屋) in Minami-Ito is one of my personal favorites featuring a cypress hot spring bath and a stone outdoor bath. There is also a really cheap hostel called K’s House Ito Onsen where I have stayed before. The building looks amazing and the private hot spring tubs were free of charge.
Access: You can take the Shinkansen to Atami Station and then transfer to the JR Ito Line that will bring you all the way to Ito and Minami-Ito. When I checked google maps it took 1 h 37 min from Tokyo Station to the ryokan in Ito. The JR Pass covers the whole trip until Ito Station, after that the pass is not valid anymore.
Read More: My Ito Onsen Guide
3. Atami Onsen (1h from Tokyo)
Location: Atami, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture
General Information: Atami Onsen (熱海温泉) is less than half an hour away from Ito Onsen and since the Shinkansen stops right at Atami Station you can get there in 45 minutes from Tokyo. The hot spring town has a history of about 1,500 years and was loved by Tokugawa Ieyasu and other shoguns since the Nara Period. It has also been rated as one of Japan’s top 3 hot spring resorts. Some of the top tourist attractions here are Atami Castle and the Atami Ropeway from where you have panoramic views of the ocean and an insanely beautiful night view.
Historical Hot Spring Town Near Tokyo: Fed by the Izusan Hot Spring this onsen town offers a rare opportunity to soak in a saltwater spring near Tokyo. This type of hot spring is good for the skin and is said to have a lot of beauty benefits. In Atami Onsen, you can find a lot of really nice onsen baths for day-trippers so it is perfect if you do not want to stay overnight. Atami Onsen Shukaen Yu No Hanazen (秀花園 湯の花膳), Nikkou-Tei Oo-Yu (日航亭 大湯) are the ones I can recommend. Shukaen Yu No Hanazen is an onsen with beautiful ocean views located on top of the hill near the Atami Ropeway. Yuyado Ichibanchi (湯宿一番地) is another really nice onsen but more expensive since bathing is only possible in combination with a dinner plan.
Access: Just hop on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen and you will be in Atami in less than 1 hour. With a JR Pass, the ride on the Shinkansen and the whole journey to Atami is covered, so I highly recommend you to get one.
Read More: My Atami Onsen Guide
4. Ikaho Onsen (2.5h from Tokyo)
Location: Ikaho Onsen, Gunma Prefecture
General Information: Ikaho Onsen (伊香保温泉) is an onsen town near Tokyo that was formed more than 400 years ago. It is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Haruna and famous for its reddish hot spring water. The city’s symbol is a 300-meter long staircase flanked by onsen ryokans and shops that many visitors explore in Yukata. Things to do in Ikaho Onsen include Kajika Bridge, a nice autumn color spot in late October and early November, the Ikaho Ropeway, a shrine and a temple famous for Udon.
Famous Onsen Town in Gunma: Out of the 24 onsen ryokans and public baths I recommend Nagomigokoro No Yado Omori (和心の宿 大森) or Ikaho Rotenburo (伊香保露天風呂) for daytime visitors. They are both located near popular sightseeing spots and especially Naogmigokoro No Yado Omori is a beautiful mountain view onsen. Even though you can visit Ikaho Onsen as a day trip, it is definitely worth staying overnight. On my next visit, I am planning to stay at Hotel Tenbo (ホテル天坊). Check out their onsen facilities and you will know why.
Access: From the nearest station, JR Shibukawa Station, it is a 30-minute bus ride to Ikaho Onsen. The total journey from Tokyo takes 2.5 hours.
5. Kinugawa Onsen (2.5h from Tokyo)
Location: Kinugawa Onsen, Near Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture
General Information: Kinugawa Onsen (鬼怒川温泉) is one of the most popular hot spring areas in the Kanto Region. In the past, only monks and daimyo of Nikko were allowed to use it. Later when it opened to the public during the Meiji period it became one of Kanto’s leading onsen destinations. Near the onsen town, you can find the amusement parks Tobu World Square and Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura. The latter one is an Edo-style theme park imitating a traditional Japanese town featuring a Haunted Temple of Hell, a large Ninja Maze, and a Shuriken Dojo.
Popular Hot Spring Resort in Kanto: Kinugawa Hot Spring Town and its onsen stretch over a wide area along the Kinugawa River. While onsen hopping is still possible it involves more walking or short train rides than other onsen towns. Yudokoro Suzukaze (湯處すず風) is a traditional public onsen bath with a stone open-air onsen bath overlooking the river. If you are looking for a more private onsen experience I would recommend Hanare No Yu Akebi (離れの湯 あけび) – extremely beautiful onsen baths as you can see in the picture but also more expensive. In total, there are about 25 onsen ryokans nearby.
Access: You can take the Ueno-Tokyo Line towards Utsunomiya and transfer at Urawa Station to the Nikko-Kinugawa Line to take the Special Kinugawa Limited Express to Kinugawa Onsen. For the onsen in Kinugawa get off at Kosagoe, Tobu World Square, Kinguawaonsen, Kinugawakoen, or Shin-Fujiwara. From Tokyo, you can get here in 2.5 – 3 hours.
6. Kusatsu Onsen (3h from Tokyo)
Location: Kusatsu Onsen, Joshinetsukogen National Park, Gunma Prefecture
General Information: Kusatsu Onsen (草津温泉) is one of my personal favorites and the only reason it is down here is that it takes a bit longer to get there. With 100 hot springs that produce 34,000 liters of water per minute, this tattoo-friendly onsen town near Tokyo is overflowing with hot spring water. There are also all kinds of unique attractions like Yubatake, the hot spring waterfall in the center of the town, and Yumomi Performances that show how the water is cooled down.
Amazing Onsen Town Near Tokyo: Otaki No Yu, Goza No Yu, and Sainokawara Rotenburo are all tattoo-friendly onsen with outstanding indoor and outdoor baths. If you are traveling in a larger group you should go to Sainokawara because its outdoor bath can accommodate more than 100 bathers at once. I also highly recommend you to stay overnight so that you can stroll around Yubatake when it is illuminated. Yuyado Tokinoniwa (湯宿 季の庭) and O-Yado Konoha (お宿 木の葉) are my recommended onsen ryokans.
Access: Transfer to a bus bound for Kusatsu Onsen at the nearest JR station Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station. Most connections will bring you to the onsen town in about 3 hours from Tokyo.
7. Kawaguchiko Onsen (2.5h from Tokyo)
Location: Around Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi Prefecture
General Information: Kawaguchiko Onsen (河口湖温泉) is a tiny onsen town at the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. It is the best place to admire Mount Fuji and the best base to start your adventure of climbing up Japan’s sacred mountain. You can come here all year round and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Fuji-san with cherry blossoms, blooming lavender, autumn leaves, or snowscapes. Soaking in one of the hot springs here is also another great reward after climbing Mount Fuji.
Onsen Town With Views of Mount Fuji: There are only a handful of onsen and hot spring ryokans in Kawaguchiko Onsen, but they offer some of the best views. If you are planning to do a day trip to an onsen with views of Mount Fuji your choice should be Hotel Mifujien (ホテル美富士園). If you want to spend the night at this beautiful destination you could stay at Koraku Onyado Fujiginkei (湖楽おんやど富士吟景), Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Hotel Konansou (湖南荘) or Kawaguchiko Ryokan Ubuya (河口湖旅館 うぶや). A detailed blog post about Kawaguchiko Hot Spring Town and onsen with views of Mount Fuji will follow, I promise!
Access: The most convenient way to get to this onsen town near Tokyo is usually by bus, even though it isn’t covered by the JR Pass. You can also take the Chuo Line and then the Fujikyuko Line to Kawaguchiko Station. It takes 2 hours by bus and 2 – 3 hours by train from Tokyo.
8. Oku-Nikko Yumoto Onsen (4h from Tokyo)
Location: Oku-Nikko, Near Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture
General Information: Oku-Nikko Yumoto Onsen (奥日光 湯元温泉) lies deeper in the Nikko National Park and is about 1.5 hours away from Nikko’s city center. Located on the northern shores of Yunoko Lake and at an altitude of 1,500 meters, this hidden gem of an onsen town is full of natural attractions like the Senjogahara Marshland or the Ryuzu Waterfall. The onsen town is most beautiful around mid-October when the autumn colors are at their peak.
Small Onsen Town Near Tokyo: On the official Oku-Nikko Yumoto Onsen webpage you can find more than 20 hot spring hotels and ryokans. The onsen I find most intriguing is the Nikkosan Hot Spring Temple (日光山温泉寺). This is a real temple with one tiny and extremely hot onsen bath for women and one for men. Larger onsen baths and outdoor baths as well as accommodation you can find at Okunikko Kogen Hotel (奥日光高原ホテル) or Yumori Kamaya (湯守釜屋).
Access: From Nikko Station take a bus bound for Yumoto Onsen and get off at the same-named bus stop. You can get to the onsen town in 1.5 hours from Nikko and about 3.5 – 4 hours from Tokyo.
Website: www.nikkoyumoto.com (Japanese only)
9. Minakami Onsen (1.5h from Tokyo)
Location: Minakami, Gunma Prefecture
General Information: Minakami Onsen (水上温泉) is an old hot spring town with Ryokans lined up along the valley of the Tone River. This onsen town is a perfect choice if you love nature and want to soak in outdoor baths surrounded by green leaves or pretty autumn colors. Besides the hot springs, you can do all kinds of outdoor activities like rafting, canyoning, and hiking.
Old Hot Spring Town Near Tokyo: You can find a lot of hot spring hotels directly in Minakami Onsen. Minakami Hotel Juraku (みなかみホテルジュラク) looks very nice and welcomes day visitors. The most renowned onsen ryokans are nestled deeper in the mountains further up the river, though. Like, for example, Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku (宝川温泉 汪泉閣), which would be my first choice in winter. Its famous outdoor bath is unisex but everyone has to wear a special bathing garment. Hoshi Onsen Chojukan (法師温泉 長寿館), although nearly a 1-hour bus ride away, would be my other first choice.
Access: The fastest way to get to Minakami onsen is to hop on the Joetsu Shinkansen, get off at Jomokogen Station and continue by bus. The bus ride is just about 13 minutes and the one-way trip from Tokyo takes about 1.5 hours.
Website: www.minakamionsen.com (English translation available)
10. Yugawara Onsen (1.5h from Tokyo)
Location: Yugawara, Near Atami & Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture
General Information: Yugawara Onsen resort (湯河原温泉) has a history of more than 1,250 years and is located in between Atami Onsen and Hakone Onsen. It is less famous and less popular than the other hot spring towns in this area and therefore also less crowded. So if you are looking for a quiet little onsen town this is your place. In the town, you will find an onsen footbath and my personal highlight the interesting looking Head of Buddha at Fukusenji Temple. Apparently, nobody knows what happened to the body of the statue after its completion…
Quiet Onsen Town Near Tokyo: There are about 30 onsen ryokans in Yugawara. The best onsen for daytime visitors is New Welcity Yugawara (ニューウェルシティ湯河原) in my opinion. It offers modern onsen facilities with a variety of baths and a huge open-air bath. For a traditional onsen ryokan experience, I would probably stay at Seiranso Ryokan (青巒荘). Just because of the incredible onsen open-air bath with a waterfall, but I also read a few reviews that the building is quite run down. A safer option seems to be Hotel Chobosanso (ホテル眺望山荘) with a nice view from the onsen bath.
Access: Take the Shinkansen to Atami Station and transfer to the Tokaido Line. Get off at Yugawara Station. This takes about 1.5 hours. If you take the local train it will take about 2 hours.
11. Shiobara Onsen (3h from Tokyo)
Location: Shiobara Onsen, Nasu-Shiobara, Tochigi Prefecture
General Information: Shiobara Onsen (塩原温泉郷) is another old onsen town with a history of 1,200 years. It is said that the Shiobara’s hot springs are good for the skin and that they have a lot of beauty effects like detoxing and anti-aging effects. Surrounded by a dense forest and mountains you can enjoy hot springs together with rivers, waterfalls, hiking trails, and autumn leaves. The Ashiyu here is also one of the largest in Japan with a total length of 60 meters. Also, don’t miss the rare chance and find one of the hot spring water dispensers to try the drinkable spring water.
Old Onsen Town Near Tokyo: On the hot spring resort’s official homepage it says that there are 60 onsen ryokan and 150 hot springs. The water of the springs turns into 7 different colors due to oxidation: milky white, light green, gold, gray, brown, black, and transparent. Hotel New Shiobara (ホテルニュー塩原) is one of the Ooedo Onsen Monogatari onsen theme parks that you can visit as a day-tripper. They have really nice onsen facilities and a variety of hot spring baths. Another Onsen I mentioned before in my “Beautiful River Onsen in Japan” post is Myogaya Honkan (明賀屋本館). Slightly older onsen ryokan with rustic baths right next to the river. The open-air river baths are unisex, but you can wear a towel. For Hotel New Shiobara get off at Shiobara Hatori bus stop.
Access: My recommendation is to take the train until Nishi-Nasuno Station (Shinkansen and Utsunomiya Line) and then transfer to a bus bound for Shiobara Onsen. The bus ride takes about 40 minutes.
12. Nasu Onsen (2h from Tokyo)
Location: Nasu Onsen, Near Shiobara Onsen, Tochigi Prefecture
General Information: Nasu Onsen (那須温泉) is another onsen town in Tochigi’s Nasu-Shiobara area. This onsen town is about 40 kilometers north of Shiobara Onsen but if you don’t have a car it takes more than 2 hours to travel from one of the hot spring towns to the other. Nasu Onsen is very close to Natsudake, a 1,915 meters high mountain. You can either hike up or take the ropeway to the top. Another interesting attraction in Nasu Onsen is the Murder Stone that is linked to a legend with a nine-tailed fox.
Naruto anyone? (/ω＼*)
Small Onsen Town Near Tokyo: Nasu Onsen is a little bit smaller than Shiobara Onsen. I know that the family-friendly onsen Hotel Epinard Nasu (ホテルエピナール那須) has a beautiful outdoor bath with a waterfall and welcomes day-trippers. Nasu Ichiya Hotel (那須いちやホテル) is another great hotel with a wooden tub bath on the rooftop that offers spectacular views over the mountainous area. One of my students recommended me Wellness Forest Nasu (ウェルネスの森 那須) and I have to say the rustic onsen facilities look great.
Access: Take the train to Nasushiobara Station and then transfer to a local bus bound for the Nasu Ropeway. From Tokyo Station, you can get to the onsen town in about 2 h 12 min.
13. Shimoda Hot Springs (3h from Tokyo)
Location: Shimoda, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture
General Information: When you check out Shimoda Onsen (下田温泉) be careful not to confuse it with Shimoda Onsen in Kumamoto. Shizuoka’s Shimoda Onsen is located at the south tip of the Izu Peninsula. Just like Ito Onsen and Atami Onsen but way further south. Shimoda is a good base for the nearby Kawazu Seven Waterfalls and Shirahama Beach.
Beach Onsen Town Near Tokyo: This onsen town has a little bit of a tropical feeling to it thanks to the mild climate and onsen overlooking the blue ocean and white sand beach. Higaeri (day trip onsen visit) is possible at Shimoda Prince Hotel (下田プリンスホテル). It doesn’t look for feel like a traditional onsen but you have a beautiful view over Shirahama beach. Shimoda Jyuraku Hotel (下田聚楽ホテル) and Kurofune Hotel (黒船ホテル) are the onsen hotels I can recommend if you want to stay overnight.
Access: Unfortunately the Japan Rail Pass is only valid until Ito. So in order to get to Shimoda, you have to pay an additional fee. There is a direct limited express train that brings you all the way to Izukyu-Shimoda in about 3 hours. Another possibility is to take the Shinkansen to Atami Station and transfer to the limited express train or the Ito Line. This is less convenient but about 20 minutes faster
14. Manza Onsen (4h from Tokyo)
Location: Manza Onsen, Joshinetsukogen National Park, Gunma Prefecture
General Information: I was a little bit torn to put Manza Onsen (万座温泉) on this list because it takes way longer to get there from Tokyo than the other onsen towns. But then again it has one of the most beautiful open-air snow onsens near Tokyo. Manza Onsen is famous for having the most sulfuric hot spring water in Japan and it is renowned for the quality and health benefits of its springs. If you are into skiing or snowboarding or want to soak in an onsen with snow around you this is the place to go near Tokyo.
Snow Onsen Town Near Tokyo: There aren’t too many hot spring inns in Manza Onsen, but they are some of the best in Japan. Nisshin Kan (日進舘) is always my first choice. It has 8 different outdoor and indoor baths and you could also soak in a private onsen. But Manza Prince Hotel (万座プリンスホテル), Manza Kogen Hotel (万座高原ホテル), and Manza Tei Hotel (万座亭) are at least as good. So try to soak in as many as you can.
Access: Taking the Shinkansen to Karuizawa and then transferring to a bus to Manza Onsen is the fastest way (3.5 hours), but the bus ride isn’t covered by the JR Pass. With a JR Pass, it is cheaper to take the train all the way to Manza-Kazawaguchi, the nearest station, and continue by bus from there. That will shorten the nearly 2-hour bus ride to a 45-minute one.
More Beautiful Onsen Towns in Japan
Onsen Towns Near Kyoto & Osaka: Read more about Kinosaki Onsen, Japan’s most picturesque onsen town. Arima Onsen and Shirahama Onsen, two of Japan’s ancient hot spring towns. I will also introduce a few great onsen towns that are just 1 hour away from Kyoto or Osaka.
Onsen Towns in Hokkaido: Here you can soak in onsen next to the Hell Valley and snow onsen right next to ski slopes with tons of powder snow. In Hokkaido, you will also find some of the most beautiful and mysterious crater lake hot springs in all of Japan.