Translated by Sandy Lau
Access From Skytree And Senso-ji Temple! Three Bathhouses In Asakusa
Written by takagi
We’ll introduce 3 popular bathhouses in Asakusa-Oshiage which is known for sightseeing areas like Tokyo Skytree and Senso-ji Temple. There’s Jakotsuyu which has koi fish, Mikokuyu where you can see Skytree, and Daikokuyu for its large outdoor baths.
２. Mikokuyu: See Tokyo Skytree from Semi-Outdoor Baths
Mikokuyu, located a 20 minute walk from Tokyo Skytree, is famous for having a view of Tokyo Skytree from their rotemburo.
Mikokuyu is a building-type bathhouse with the first, fourth, and fifth floors being used by the bathhouse. The first floor contains the front desk and rest area while the fourth and fifth floors are where the baths are located.
The fourth floor is made in the image of a cavern while the fifth floor has a high ceiling and is quite spacious. The fact that the atmosphere completely changes depending on the floor is a feature of this bathhouse. Additionally, the men’s and women’s baths are separated depending on the floor; if the fourth floor is the men’s bath, then the fifth floor will be the women’s. What floor is which switches every week, so if you’re unable to use the bath that you wanted to try, then please try visiting the following week.
By the way, the bathhouse was reopened after complete renovations in 2015, which has made the facilities both modern and exceptionally clean. A Japanese-like atmosphere can be felt throughout the building from the bathhouse’s courtyard, and the oil painting of Mount Fuji, to where the warmth of the wood can be felt in the entry hall and changing rooms.
Mikokuyu advocates the theme of “usage for the elderly and handicapped.” The entire bathhouse is barrier free and the height of the bathtub edges were made low so that those with weak legs and backs are also able to use the facilities without any worries.
The Open Fifth Floor Baths
The fifth floor was created with a high ceiling and a sense of spaciousness. You can see Hokusai Katsushika’s (*4) oil painting of “The Surface of the Water at Misaka in Koshu” from the Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series here.
Skytree can be seen from the large glass windows of the semi-outdoor baths. The fact that you can spend time luxuriously as you look out at Skytree while soaking in the baths is a charm of Mikokuyu.
*4 Hokusai Katsushika: an ukiyo-e (wood block) artist from the latter half of the Edo period.
The Calming Fourth Floor Baths
The fourth floor is made in the image of a cavern. Light gently shines onto the baths, giving the area a very calming atmosphere.
The lukewarm hot springs, which can only be entered on the fourth floor, is a bath that is set at around the same temperature as your body. It is the most popular bath as many people like to soak in the water for long periods of time.
A Concept Bath That Changes Daily
The medicinal baths, located on both the fourth and fifth floors, are a concept bath that changes daily. When the bath is filled with fresh herbs, a fragrance similar to herb tea fills the air, making the bath a place where you can become very relaxed.
Other types of baths include days when fresh fruits are added in correspondence to the seasons, making it become fun to visit every time while wondering, “I wonder what kind of bath it is today?”
Depending on the bathtub, a natural hot spring called Kuroyu is used. Kuroyu is a hot spring that will result in beautiful skin and is also recommended to those that wish to rejuvenate their skin.
Instructions original to Mikokuyu available in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese are also provided at the front desk for overseas visitors so that those entering the bathhouse for the first time can enter with ease.
It is also possible for those with tattoos to enter the baths. An all-in-one set (200 yen plus tax), rental towel (30 yen plus tax), and rental bath towel (50 yen plus tax) are also provided.
The all-in-one set comes with a towel, toothbrush, razor, and nylon towel.
Body soap and shampoo are always provided.
3. Daikokuyu: Enter a Large Outdoor Bath Ten Minutes from Tokyo Skytree!
Daikokuyu, located a ten minute walk from Tokyo Skytree, is a renowned bathhouse that was established in 1950. After its renovation in 2014, the bathhouse was newly installed with a large rotemburo, wood deck, and a concentrated carbonated spring and is loved by a wide range of guests.
Despite its renovation, the ceilings of the changing rooms and its exterior are just as they were in the 1950s. The appearance of a bathhouse from the olden days has also remained.
A Large Rotemburo Full of Minerals
Daikokuyu has a large outdoor bath, salt sauna, two concentrated carbonated spring baths, and men’s and women’s baths that change daily (each area is furnished with their respective showers and indoor baths).
Super concentrated water from Le Furo is used in the large outdoor baths. Le Furo water contains more than 70 kinds of minerals and is a bath with very strong components in comparison to other hot springs. By soaking in Le Furo water, your body will take in the minerals that you are prone to lacking, raise your body temperature, and improve your immunity. It is a unique bath created with the concept of “wanting customers to come to the bathhouse and curing (their bodies) with the hot springs (*5).”
There are also various other baths prepared such as a steam salt sauna (a separate fee of 200 yen plus tax) and hokofuro (*6). The rotemburo has a vaulted ceiling, giving it a spaciousness that is very pleasant.
*5 Toji: to recuperate from illnesses and other pain by entering a hot spring.
*6 Hokofuro: a bath with a deep tub where you can exercise underwater.
Chairs and a hammock are placed on the wood deck so that you can rest your warmed body. Additionally, if you look up at the sky from the wood deck, you can also see Skytree.
Please come here not only in the afternoon, but also at night as you can see Skytree lit up at night. Why not visit and experience a slightly different atmosphere than the afternoon?
Concentrated Carbonated Springs: Want to Take Your Time?
In another bath, you can enter the concentrated carbonated springs.
Carbonated springs are a type of bath where carbon dioxide has been dissolved into the water. Carbonated springs with a strong concentration of carbon dioxide are called concentrated carbonated springs. They are effective for promoting blood circulation and giving smooth skin.
The concentrated carbonated springs of Daikokuyu are characterized by a bathtub that is spacious in comparison to other bathhouses. The water temperature is set at a lukewarm 38 degrees and is most suitable for long baths.
Additionally, both baths provide the same medicinal baths as Mikokuyu. As all the baths are natural hot springs, the water is mild, and you can expect it to be effective for beautiful skin.
Complete with English Support
Daikokuyu’s official website is available in both English and French. Many overseas visitors come to visit the bathhouse.
Price lists are also written in English while an English bath manners sheet is given to overseas guests.
Towels are available for rental (50 yen plus tax) while shampoo and body soap are always available in the baths, so the baths can be visited with ease.
It is also possible for those with tattoos to enter the baths at Daikokuyu.
The bathhouse also conducts all-night operations (until 10:00 the following day) and is the first in the city to do so as a bathhouse. As such, this bathhouse is ideal to use for a late night or morning bath.
Visiting a Bathhouse at the End of the Day
These are bathhouses where you can experience a bathing culture that is unique to Japan. However, there are special rules that exist that overseas visitors may not be familiar with.
For those that are unaware of the bathing manners of bathhouses and feel uneasy, we recommend visiting after reading the article “10 Manners You Must Know To Properly Enjoy Sento (Public Baths).”
How about relieving your fatigue after sightseeing at a bathhouse and enjoy an aspect of Japanese culture?