Having visited countless onsens across Japan, few rival the hidden gem of Hanasaki Spa in Haraichi, a short train ride from Omiya, Saitama’s central hub. Omiya is easily accessible in just over 30 minutes from central Tokyo with the express Saikyo services running from Shinjuku. From Omiya, get on the New Shuttle and in ten minutes you will arrive at Hanasaki Spa.
Just as the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo begins to wane and green spaces appear, Hanasaki Spa makes use of the space to provide a large complex with natural hot spring waters, saunas, hot stones and jacuzzis. Few Japanese will have heard of the quiet town of Haraichi which means the entrance fee of 850 yen is far cheaper than the services warrant and you could expect to pay a far higher fee for any similar facility in the Tokyo area.
Pumped from 1,500 metres below ground the natural waters are heated to different temperatures depending on the season with baths in excess of 40 degrees during the cold winter season. There is a large showering area with complimentary shampoo, conditioner and body soap as well as large indoor baths which feature seasonal scented aromas of various oils or flowers such as jasmine, lavender or eucalyptus. Additionally, there are a range of different jacuzzis, an electric bath (be warned, it’s strong), a cold bath and a sauna indoors to relax your tired muscles.
Hourly fanning sessions in the sauna are offered where members of staff will fan individuals creating a blast of hot air (be warned again, it’s almost unbearably hot). If you can stand the heat, the relentless staff will go around everyone for the second time and by that point you’ll see why a cold bath is offered just outside the sauna ready for you to escape the heat.
In the outdoor area, set on the roof of the complex, there are three large baths of varying temperatures, the cooler one features a large screen TV to enjoy a bizarre game show or some sport while bathing. A hot stone area offers a more serene place to lie down and doze whilst individual stone tubs are available for some additional privacy. Numerous deckchairs are also situated around the large outside area where you can relax in the peaceful garden.
Downstairs, for an additional fee of 600 yen you can enjoy a number of hot and cold rooms with various different power stones which are supposed to promote health, beauty and energy. If you pay the extra fee, bedrock clothes are provided and must be worn as this area – unlike the onsen upstairs – is mixed gender. There is also an exercise area where yoga classes are offered, a private terrace, as well as large relaxation areas complete with magazines and Japanese manga comics, alternatively you can use the reclining chairs here to take a nap.
Throughout the ground floor, there are drinks bars where you can purchase healthy smoothies and juices whilst the large restaurant offers a wide range of food and drinks suited to western and Japanese tastes. The wide selection of the bedrock areas and the onsen, as well as the restaurant, means this is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day.
There is no time limit or additional fee for a longer stay and the facilities are open from 10 am to 1 am so customers are welcome to spend an entire day enjoying all that Hanasaki Spa has to offer including massage services. Towels can be rented at a fee of 250 yen but if you want to go for just the basics then bring your own towel and you can enjoy the onsen, relaxation area and restaurant for 850 yen on weekdays or 900 yen in the weekend.
900yen (weekend and holidays)
Hanasaki Spa Website*Japanese Only
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