The best Tokyo onsen and bathhouses

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

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

Tokyo’s top onsen
Health and beauty

Tokyo’s top onsen

Where to enjoy a relaxing hot-spring bath – without leaving Tokyo

Top 10 Tokyo bath houses
Health and beauty

Top 10 Tokyo bath houses

Healing a tired body and mind in hot water

Best tattoo-friendly sento in Tokyo
Health and beauty

Best tattoo-friendly sento in Tokyo

Got ink? These welcoming bathhouses won't mind

Kentaro Imai: the man with grand designs for communal bathing
Art

Kentaro Imai: the man with grand designs for communal bathing

We meet the sento architect who is pouring new life into Tokyo’s bathhouse culture

Japan hot spring getaways
Health and beauty

Japan hot spring getaways

Six of the best onsen day trips and weekend breaks

The art of sento
Art

The art of sento

Tokyo’s prettiest public baths

Onsen etiquette
Things to do

Onsen etiquette

Tips for hot-spring novices