It’s really quite irritating to me how this place is downgraded; referred to as cheap and tacky by the travel guide elite. Maybe it is tacky, maybe it isn’t. What is for sure, though, is it’s impossible to visit here and not have a good time. Once you get inside you’re accosted by a plethora of relaxing baths, from scalding hot ones to still-quite-hot-but-actually-bearable ones, from steaming saunas to you-know-those-baths-that-are-really-just-big-wooden-tubs. This place has it all. On a freezing winter or boiling summer day the outdoor foot baths, complete with romping couples and (on occasion) flirty and frivolous boys and girls, in utterly spectacular. If your one for relaxing you can easily spend hours or even a whole day lavishing in these luxurious surrounds. So ignore the travel guides and visit, you won’t regret it!
My first experience at an onsen was here and WHAT an experience. I loved it so much I came back a month later and took my sister who was visiting me! This place has been described as a pseudo theme park and that description isn't far off, because the old Edo setting gives the onsen a fun theme and gimmick. Go here with a bunch of friends or with one other person there are so many restaurants and desert shops to keep you busy in between dips in the baths. Both times I went after 6pm and the entrance fee was much cheaper than day-time admission at 1480. Definitely worth it. Once checked in they'll give you a wrist-band you can scan for food and drinks so you don't have to bring in any money. Choose your yukata and obi and you're good to go. Once you've changed and shed all your belongings you're transported to the streets of Edo with shops and games, and even an arcade to keep children occupied. There is a wonderful (slightly painful) foot bath, a spa offering many treatments and then the baths, about seven in total. I have never felt so relaxed in my life!! So many different baths to choose from, each as great as the next with soothing minerals and also a sauna and a steam room.
The food is also delicious, there is a range of Japanese cuisine to choose from all reasonably priced. They also serve this shaved ice concoction which is to die for! Definitely get it if you're feeling a little over-heated from the baths, remember to keep hydrated too. You can stay here overnight too which will cost you an extra 1100 after 11pm. It seems that mostly men do this because those were the only people we saw when we were leaving. SUCH a great experience, I hugely recommend.
This is an excellent spot to take your out-of-town guests for a 'dip' into the world of Japanese bathing. Set in a large indoor (dare I say Disney-like?) theme park, there are plenty of activities for those who prefer to keep their yukata on, and several different waters (memory says around 7?) for those who prefer to take them off.
My favorite highlights include:
- When you check in, you will have the option to pick your own yukata for the day/evening. Congratulations, you now look like you belong in medieval Edo (except the locals would probably have no idea what to do with you)
- The village square, complete with beer cart. Just about all of your favorite Japanese snack foods (and drinks) in one convenient area. Menus are in English &/or have pictures for pointing.
- No money required. Just swipe that handy wrist band & pay the piper on your way out. Don't worry, prices are posted.
- The baths truly are excellent, with indoor and outdoor single-sex baths, and several different waters and temperatures to experiences
- Several massage options, though if you go in the evening, make your reservation for a spot as soon as you arrive.
- The outdoor foot bath winds through a pretty garden area. There are acupressure bumps in the bottom, and some are quite insistent. Get to the end of the path and another surprise awaits - Turkish fish foot baths. These are the fish that you saw on TV, that are nature's pedicure in a pool. Those of a ticklish nature should proceed with caution.
I hope you enjoy!
Note: By the way, rumor says that you can get tickets for this sento if you are a guest at the Disney resorts. So I wasn't far off, was I?
Oedo Onsen Monogatari is a really cute (and extremely tacky) theme onsen near Odaiba. It’s a fun afternoon trip, however, because of all those tacky things that you can do there. When you arrive you are given a scan-able wrist band which you use to pay for the restaurants and bars etc inside. The best part is next, when you go and get your yutaka (casual kimono) and obi (belt) from the yutaka and obi counter. There’s a pretty good selection of (tacky) designs to choose from. Anyhow, you continue on into the mens’ or womens’ changing room, change into your yukata and exit through a different door into the main “street” of Oedo Onsen. This is an indoor replica of an Edo period street filled with bars and restaurants and little game booths. It’s really cute. After a bit of exploring, you can go to the outside walk-through foot onsen, or just head straight to the baths. In the baths they provide you with a towel, facecloth and you can put your yukata in a locker for free. There is also numerous types of massages and treatments that you can enjoy (for an additional cost and a scan of your wristband).
ALERT! This place is full of young couples. There are obviously other people but it’s a popular date spot so maybe you can bring that special someone!
I highly recommend it to anyone who’s visiting Tokyo, even though it IS really tacky. That’s almost part of the charm, in my opinion.
Supa Sento are a fabled wonderland of physical pleasure. While they have all the wonderful features of onsen, they have more spa-like features. Who wouldn't want to go to a wonderland of physical pleasure? Being a fan of onsen, I headed to Oedo Monogatari which is located conveniently close to the Terukomu sento station in Odaiba.
The name perplexed me. The "monogatari" in the name is the same one that's translated "tale" in the case of The Tale of Genji. The answer is that the Supa Sento is Edo period-themed. At least, that's my best guess. I walked in and followed the normal routine of locking my shoes in a cubby, and payed my entrance fee. Then, I selected my yukata. The selection consists of gaudily rendered woodblock print designs. Some of them are cool; some are simply over the top. Be sure to grab an obi, or sash. This article is critical if you want to keep your yukata shut. I almost forgot this critical piece of equipment.
When I paid my entrance fee, I was given another incredibly critical piece of equipment: my key. There's a small plastic fob that identifies the locker that it opens. Note, you'll find that your locker number is preceded by a hiragana character. The hiragana will correspond to a curtain in the changing room, and behind that curtain, you'll find a small room filled with lockers. If you get totally confused, you can always ask someone. Anyway, the key is on a little arm band, handy since you'll wind up walking around in your birthday suit. Notice also that the key fob has a bar code on it. If you buy anything in the Supa Sento or reserve any special services, you'll be charged via that bar code and pay on the way out.
I made my way to the baths. When I exited the changing room in my gaudy yukata, I walked into the part of the Supa Sento that's themed. Ninjas crouched in the shadows, carnival games had shuriken instead of darts, and a small mote with a mechanical dog inexplicably sitting on a raft. There were also several food stalls and a rustic seating area. I can see this part of the Sento as being a blast for kids, but for me, it fell into the "over the top" category.
The baths themselves were wonderful. Each tub has a thermometer, which is convenient, but the thermometers are calibrated in metric, which may or may not be a problem for you. The day that I went, it was raining. Is there anything as viscerally pleasant as sitting in water so hot steam is rising off of it while raindrops are falling on your head and naked shoulders? No, nothing compares.
From there, I had myself buried alive in scorching hot sand. I made a reservation at the desk in front of the entrance to the baths. There are pictures of most of the available beauty treatments, so if all else fails, you can get by with pointing. I would recommend sunaburo, the sand treatment that I had. For one thing, it was cheap compared to most of the other treatments. My sweltering fifteen minutes buried in sand cost me 1500 yen.
After that, I went for another freebie: there's a water filled walking course outside. The idea is that you walk across this course barefooted. There are differently textured and sized rocks set into the ground. Some of the sections are very difficult to walk over, so take your time.
If you have a few hours to spend leisurely, Oedo Monogatari Supa Sento is a great place to go. I would especially recommend the experience.