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Atami Onsen Trip: A Hot Spring Haven Near Tokyo

Atami Onsen Trip: A Hot Spring Haven Near Tokyo

For many international visitors, experiencing a Japanese onsen, or hot spring, is a highlight of their trip. These relaxing retreats are typically nestled in the mountainous resort towns across Japan. However, if your journey only includes Tokyo and Kyoto, venturing to the mountains might not fit into your schedule.

Luckily, Atami Onsen provides a solution. This accessible onsen resort town is conveniently located near Tokyo, making it an ideal spot for those looking to experience Japan's famous hot springs without staying far from the city.

Atami onsen

Atami Onsen


The History Of Atami Onsen

Atami, a coastal city in Shizuoka Prefecture at the gateway to the Izu Peninsula, boasts a rich history with its mineral springs dating back to the Nara period over a thousand years ago. Esteemed by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Atami's onsen heritage has flourished, further enhanced by its close proximity to Tokyo, just a 50-minute train ride away.

Today, Atami is celebrated for its array of hot springs, collectively known as Atami Onsen. The city’s hot springs are predominantly chloride springs, which resemble warm seawater due to their rich mineral content, though there are sulfur springs available as well.

Each type of spring offers distinct therapeutic benefits; notably, the chloride springs are acclaimed for their ability to soothe muscle and joint pain.

Choosing the Perfect Onsen in Atami for a Day Trip

Visiting an onsen in Atami ranks as a top experience for those looking to unwind on a day trip from Tokyo while absorbing some Japanese cultural ambiance. Conveniently, many onsens are just a short walk from Atami Station, making access a breeze for day-trippers.

When selecting an onsen, consider that each offers a unique atmosphere, number of baths, and design, some feature open-air baths for a natural feel, while others have enclosed settings for more privacy.

It's generally advisable to opt for an onsen that uses directly sourced spring water, ensuring the freshest and purest bathing experience. For those seeking intimacy, many onsens provide private baths ideal for couples.

For day visitors not staying overnight, here are a few recommended onsens in Atami:

  • Ryori Ryokan Nagisa-kan: This venue boasts eight different baths, including six private ones. Its standout feature is the open-air bath with sweeping ocean views.

  • KKR Hotel Atami: Known for its private baths sourced straight from the spring and scenic outdoor baths overlooking the ocean.

  • Nikko-tei O-Yu: A historic onsen that retains its traditional ryokan charm, offering gender-segregated indoor and partially outdoor baths that switch daily.


Atami Onsen Relaxing


Things to Do in Atami

Experience Traditional Hospitality at a Ryokan in Atami

For those spending a night or more in Atami, a stay at a traditional ryokan is highly recommended.
These classic Japanese inns offer a deep dive into Japan’s rich customs, exceptional hospitality, and distinctive cuisine, providing an immersive cultural experience that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.

Relax at Atami’s Public Foot Baths

There are many public foot baths scattered around Atami where you can enjoy the town's renowned hot springs for free.

Conveniently located right in front of Atami Station is the Ieyasu no Yu foot bath, named after the famous shogun. Another charming spot for a quick soak is at the Atami Plum Garden, where you can unwind and enjoy the scenic surroundings.


Leyasu no Yu Foot Bath


Exploring Atami Castle

A visit to Atami Castle is a must for sightseers. Built in 1959 as a tourist destination, the castle remains a picturesque site, particularly beautiful when the plum trees blossom in the spring.

The best way to reach the castle is via the ropeway near the ferry terminal, which itself offers fantastic panoramic views of the area.


Atami panoramic views from the ropeway


Come discover Art at the MOA Museum of Art

For art enthusiasts, the MOA Museum of Art is a treasure trove of East Asian artistry. Located atop a hill north of Atami, the museum houses an impressive collection of Japanese and Chinese art, featuring everything from intricate ceramics and skillful calligraphy to exquisite paintings. This cultural gem is a must-visit for anyone interested in the arts.


MOA Museum of Art


Traveling to Atami Onsen with the JR Pass

Atami's accessibility from Tokyo makes it a favorite destination for day trips. With the Japan Rail Pass, you can board the Tokaido Shinkansen at Tokyo and arrive at Atami Station in under an hour.
For those who prefer a slower pace, regular trains on the Tokaido line are also an option and offer a scenic route.

Taking the Saphir Odoriko train to Atami will add a touch of luxury to your trip. This deluxe train enhances the travel experience, turning the journey itself into an exciting part of your day. The Saphir Odoriko is known for its exceptional service and comfort, making it a standout choice among Japan's special trains.


Saphir Odoriko train


Tips for Visiting the Atami Hot Springs

When visiting the hot springs in Atami, you'll find that entry fees vary widely. Generally, prices range from 1000 yen to 2000 yen. If you're looking for a bit more privacy, be prepared for additional costs for private rooms. Onsen operating hours are usually from late morning until about 8 pm, so plan your visit accordingly.

To ensure a pleasant experience for yourself and others, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the customs of Japanese onsens. This knowledge will help you avoid any potential faux pas during your visit.

If you're planning to stay at a ryokan, aim to arrive around 2-3 pm. This allows you ample time to check in and settle in, ensuring you can make the most of your relaxing retreat.