Written by Chiara Mischke
Yumori No Sato - Unique Black Water Hot Spring In Tokyo
Black water hot springs are a phenomenon unique to Tokyo. The pitch-black water makes your body completely invisible underwater and offers many healing benefits. Yumori no Sato is a mysterious black water onsen getaway in Tokyo with delicious food and healing crystals souvenirs.
What is a Black Water Hot Spring?
There is something enticing about bathing in water so dark that you can not even spot your own hand underwater. Bath bombs turning your water pitch black have been popular for a couple of years now, but did you know you can also bathe in a black hot spring?
To experience the kuroyu, or black water onsen, you don't need to travel deep into the mountains in rural Japan. Black water hot springs are something unique that can be found at Yumori no Sato in Tokyo.
Yumori No Sato - Relax in Black Onsen in Tokyo
Yumori No Sato is a black water onsen located in the Chofu in Tokyo. It is tucked away in a quiet area mainly known by locals. It can only be reached by bus, car or twenty minutes on foot from Keio Line Chofu Station. There is also a free shuttle that departs from the north exit of the station.
From the outside, it might not look like much, but once you step inside you will feel you left the busy city and entered a small oasis. You are immediately greeted by the warm wood interior and the distinct mineral scent of the hot spring.
How to Enjoy the Black Water Onsen
Remove your shoes after entering and store them in a locker. Bring the key to the reception desk and choose your desired hot spring course.
Use of the building without a time limit is 1,000 yen (600 yen for children). If you stay less than sixty minutes, it will cost 800 yen (500 yen for children) on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, it is 1,100 yen (650 for children) for unlimited use that day and 900 yen (children 600 yen) for up to sixty-minute use of the building.
There is also a night plan. Between 21:00-22:00, you can enter for only 500 yen (children 250 yen) on weekdays and 600 yen (300 yen) on weekends and holidays. Yumori no Sato is open every day from 10:00 until 22:00.
It is possible to rent a towel set for an extra fee of 250 yen.
Once you choose your bathing plan, your shoe key will be exchanged for a locker key. The key comes with the number of the locker you are meant to use once you enter the changing room.
The bathing facilities are separated between males and females. The blue curtain leads to the male bath and the red one to the female. In between the two entrances, find a small booth where you receive the towel set if you chose the additional option.
Like other hot spring facilities, you undress and wash yourself first, before stepping into the bath. While all of the baths are kuroyu, they each serve different purposes. One has a small waterfall that can be used for massaging, another one is a wood bath infusing the air with a relaxing scent, and there is even a red cave thought to bring special healing benefits.
Only one of the baths is indoors. All the others are rotemburo, or outside hot springs. Greenery and trees encompass the outdoor area, which makes it quite unusual for a city hot spring. You can not see the surroundings of Yumori no Sato, making it feel like you stepped into a hidden oasis inside a forest.
The black water offers a rather unusual sensation. Some Japanese hot springs are milky-white in color and will hide your body to some degree, but it just takes one step into the kuroyu for your foot to disappear. Once you sit in the dark waters, you need to raise your hand close to the surface to even see it. It is rather tempting to play with the water.
The reason the kuroyu is black is due to the humic acid in the spring water. Humic acid is a substance that forms during the decaying process of organic matter, such as plants and trees. Humic acid offers many skin benefits. It can relieve dryness and itchiness caused by dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Some even believe it reduces the appearance of dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
The water appears pitch black, but the actual color is closer to dark brown than black, which can be seen where the bubbles form just underneath the surface.
If you visit with kids, it should be mentioned that some may be scared when their bodyparts "disappear" inside the dark waters. I saw children refusing to step into the strange, liquid black hole. Be prepared to take turns with other family members enjoying the bath so someone can watch the children if this happens.
Yumori no Sato also has a sauna and a cold bath. The cold bath is not black, but the ground is covered in power stones, or healing crystals, which is rather unique.
If you are ready to leave the bathing facilities, don't forget to rinse your body before getting dressed. While the spring water is beneficial for you, leaving it on your skin to dry can cause discomfort and the dark water might stain lighter clothing.
Take your Time to Relax
Yumori no Sato has an area to relax after your bath. There are also toys, books, and even a tent for children to play. This might be a fun place to go to if the previously-mentioned bath refusal happens.
If the weather is nice, you can even sit outside in a comfortable hanging chair. There is also a little resident bunny you can watch nibbling its lettuce in the sun.
The foot bath, or ashiyu, connected to the relaxing area. The water flowing through the footbath has a milky color and is not black. It is a great place to stay warm after your bath.
Finish Your Experience with Homemade Food
The second floor houses another relaxing area as well as a restaurant. The restaurant serves in-house made food that includes local soba dishes as well as nutritious food to further boost your wellbeing.
I chose yushi dofu and herb tea from the health food menu. Yushi dofu is a tofu soup with rice and soft tofu which is usually found in Okinawa.
I also tried the gohei mochi. Gohei mochi is also a dish rather rare in Tokyo. It is a soft, grilled rice cake with walnut miso paste.
I have tried both yushi dofu and gohei mochi in the regions they originated from, and Yumori no Sato's versions are just as delicious. The dishes at the restaurant are on the larger side, so I recommend coming here with an appetite.
The herb tea I chose had many different herbs and nutrition-filled ingredients. I left it to steep while I had my meal. The taste was pleasant, and the heat helps to maintain the warmth from the bath to maintain a little longer. There is enough for three generous cups, so it can be easily shared between two people.
Using the Benefits of Power Stones
Yumori no Sato houses a small shopping corner around the entrance. Here, they sell local crafts, produce, as well as healing crystals that are thought to bring health benefits to those who have them. The shop mainly focuses on crystal bracelets which have notes attached them what stones they include and what powers they are meant to have.
At Yumori no Sato, as mentioned before, some places in the bathing area even have them included in the ground. This is not only beautiful to look at but also meant to boost the healing properties of the hot spring. This makes Yumori no Sato even more appealing for those who believe in the powers of natural stones and crystals.
You will also find the power stones throughout other places in the facility. The restaurant has a beautiful citrin tree on display. Citrin is thought to increase happiness.
The Perfect Getaway in Tokyo
Yumori no Sato offers the perfect place to relax without leaving the city. With the delicious food and plenty of space to relax, it is possible to spend a whole day here to recharge for new adventures.
The black water hot springs are something unique in Tokyo. It makes your skin noticeably soft and supple and it can be great fun to disappear and reappear in the water.
Don't miss out on this unique onsen experience when visiting Tokyo
In cooperation with Yumori no Sato