Atami-yu bathhouse | Time Out Tokyo
Mount Fuji murals are an integral part of bathing in Tokyo

The best Tokyo onsen and bathhouses

Your complete guide to where and how to go hot-spring bathing in Tokyo


There are two types of bathhouses in Tokyo and throughout Japan: onsen and sento. While there are obvious similarities between the two – they're both communal hot-water baths and visitors must adhere to certain rules of etiquette – there is one significant difference: onsen are filled with natural volcanic spring water, known for its rich and healing mineral content, while sento simply use heated tap water (although some do add minerals and infusions to the water).

Although Tokyo is packed with bathhouses, finding one to suit your needs can be a bit of a challenge. That's where we come in: our roundups of Tokyo's best onsen and sento will help you find your bearings, while our guide to hot spring getaways will satisfy those of you looking for a less urban soaking experience. And before you hop in, don't forget to read up on some onsen etiquette.

Ready for a soak?