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Beautify your Skin in a Black Hot Spring: the Three Best Kuroyu in Tokyo

Beautify your Skin in a Black Hot Spring: the Three Best Kuroyu in Tokyo

Update: 13 July 2017

Did you know that Tokyo is home to hot springs and bath houses with muddy water, called Kuroyu in Japanese? Kuroyu roughly translates to black water, and is a cold mineral spring of humic acid that draws its minerals from leaves and grass, remnants of the Palaeozoic era that dissolved into the ground water. Abundant in minerals, these kind of hot springs are also called “beautiful skin springs” due to their positive effects on skin. A Kuroyu also warms you to the core of your body, you surely won’t have the issue of freezing right after stepping out of the dark waters!

Tokyo has its own black hot springs, and this time, we’ll introduce our three favorite Kuroyu: one in the sightseeing district of Asakusa, one in the ramen battlefield of Ogikubo, and one at Chofu’s Jindai-ji Temple. No need to go all the way to Hakone to soak your body and beautify your skin!

Jakotsuyu – Asakusa’s favorite Kuroyu

Jakotsuyu – Asakusa’s favorite Kuroyu

A five-minute walk away from Asakusa Station, Jakotsuyu is a well-established public bath, estab-lished as early as the Edo period. It has a very interesting name; literally translated, the bath house is called “Snake Bone Bath” and this name isn’t just made up to sound edgy. In fact, the area was populated by craftspeople who lived in row houses called “Snake Bone Houses” and some theories even say that long ago, snake bones actually have been unearthed there as well.

The ticket machine right at the entry isn’t just operating in Japanese but also in Chinese, English, and Korean – Jakotsuyu is a very tourist-friendly public bath and one of the few ones that is per-fectly fine with tattooed guests as well. Shampoo and body soap are available at the showers them-selves and towels can be rented for 140 yen, so you don’t even have to worry about bringing any-thing. Looking at all of these extra services and features of the kuroyu, it isn’t hard to imagine how the public bath became a favorite among both locals and tourists.

Renovated eight years ago, Jakotsuyu is both modern and clean while maintaining a wonderfully traditional atmosphere, with a beautiful picture of Mount Fuji adorning both the male as well as the female bath. Not only the large bath is filled with black water that is drawn up from a hot spring underground but even the showers make use of this kuroyu water. The bath itself has been partinioned and split into a high-power jet and a body jet. Even the outdoor bath is filled with the beneficial black water, although its temperature is a bit lower than the inside bath. A small pond filled with lively carps will make you forget the busy surroundings of modern-day Tokyo and instead make you feel like you’ve slipped back in time to the Edo period. A sauna is also available to use, so Jakotsuyu is just the right place to recharge your energies!

Hours: 1:00 p.m. – midnight
Holidays: Tuesdays
Size: 33㎡
Facilities: indoor bath (1), electricity bath (1), cold bath (1), open-air bath (1), sauna (1)
Admission: 460 yen
Shampoo: available (free)
Towels: rentable (one set for 140 yen)
Tattoos: allowed
Language support: Chinese, English, Korean

  • Jakotsuyu
    • Address 1-11-11, Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0032
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Tawaramachi Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
      3 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3841-8645

Nagomi no Yu: the Natural Hot Spring at Ogikubo Station

Nagomi no Yu: the Natural Hot Spring at Ogikubo Station

Hearing the name Ogikubo, the majority of people who are familiar with the area will think of it as a fierce ramen battleground. But what is better after enjoying a delicious bowl of ramen than soaking your body in a natural hot spring? This is a real Only in Japan experience! To enjoy this amazing combination for yourself, head over to Musashino Natural Hot Spring Nagomi no Yu, only a one-minute walk away from Ogikubo Station’s West Exit.

The spacious hot spring makes use of a thick, blackish brown kuroyu water, said to warm your body for a long time even after stepping out of the water. Nagomi no Yu also has an open-air bath for women called Fuka no Yu, and one for men called Tsuboyu. This kuroyu hot spring actually also has one-person open-air baths that were made by one of the six oldest kilns in all of Japan, offering a marvelous view at the sky above while soaking your body.

With a total of four different kinds of indoor baths, there’s much and more to experience as far as Japanese bathing culture goes. One of them is the carbonated spring bath with millions of tiny bub-bles that both warm the body and remove any kind of excess sebum and thoroughly clean your pores. On top of that, a jet bath, a cold bath, and a seasonal event bath that changes every week can be enjoyed for no extra charge.

The only thing that does require an extra fee to be paid is the bedrock bath while the sauna is free of charge. With dedicated rooms to relax in, cool down from a bath, or simply take a nap, Nagomi no Yu and its kuroyu water is incredibly popular among both locals and tourists. A separate space for women only is available as well.

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (until 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays)
Holidays: always open
Size: 6 floors in total. Space for a maximum of 530 people.
Facilities: open-air bath (2), indoor bath (4; carbonated spring bath, jet bath, whirlpool bath, cold bath), bedrock bath (1), sauna (5), rest area (1), restaurant (1)
Admission: 2,000 yen (including tax and bathing set)
*The bathing set includes face & hand towels, and garments.
*The Healing Spa (bedrock bath) costs 450 yen extra (for special clothes and towels)
Shampoo: available (free)
Towels: available (free)
Amenities: available (free)
Tattoos: not allowed
Language support: Chinese, English, Korean

  • Musashino Onsen Nagomino-yu
    東京荻窪 武蔵野天然温泉 なごみの湯
    • Address 1-10-10 Kamiogi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 1670043 Japan

Yumori no Sato: Relaxation amidst Rich Nature

Yumori no Sato: Relaxation amidst Rich Nature

The quiet residential area of Chofu, a suburban town of Tokyo, isn’t particularly known among tour-ists, especially not international ones. However, the town has one of the metropolitan area’s most atmospheric natural hot springs to offer, filled with the characteristic kuroyu black water: Yumori no Sato, a natural hot spring. It earns much to its calm atmosphere to the fact that it is rather secluded from both Keio Line’s Chofu Station and JR’s Musashisakai Station but a free shuttle bus will take you to the hot spring from both stations. The bus from Chofu Station leaving at the top of every hour between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., while the one from Musashisakai Station leaves every 30 minutes from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The kuroyu water of Yumori no Sato is jet black, drawn to the surface from a natural spring 1,500 meters deep in the earth. As there is no extra water added to the spring and due to the kuroyu’s con-centration of salt being the same as that of the human body, this hot spring is incredibly easy to en-ter and hardly puts a strain on one’s body. The bath itself is made out of natural materials such as bamboo, charcoal, and stones said to be high in vibration, believed by some to have a positive im-pact on immune powers and to realign one’s Chi.

In total, nine types of baths can be enjoyed at Yumori no Sato, each with their own individual posi-tive effects. The Binchotan charcoal bath for men, for example, is said to have a detoxing effect and to help maintaining youthfulness. The women’s Takami bath, on the other hand, helps against both a tired mind and body with cypress, believed to have golden power according to feng shui. Choose a bath that you feel will benefit you the most and let tiredness and toxins be washed away by the hot water!

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Holidays: always open
Size: 150㎡
Facilities: open-air bath (7), indoor bath (1), foot bath (1), sauna (1), bedrock bath (4, extra admis-sion), restaurant (1)
Admission: 1,200 yen (including towel set & garments)
Shampoo: available (free)
Towels: available (free)
Tattoos: not allowed
Language support: none

  • Jindaijitennen Onsen Yumori no Sato
    深大寺天然温泉「湯守の里」
    • Address 2-12-2 Jindaiji Motomachi, Chofu City, Tokyo 1820017 Japan

When coming to Japan, experiencing authentic bathing culture is a must – and why not do so in a kuroyu onsen or bath house? Soak your body in the characteristic black waters of Tokyo and experi-ence how relaxation is done, the Japanese way.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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