Miyazawako Onsen offers a tranquil bathing experience with their outside infinity baths overlooking Lake Miyazawa framed by the Chichibu hills in the backdrop. Located in the west of Saitama, this serene onsen is easily accessible from central Tokyo in around one hour. From Ikebukuro take the rapid Seibu Ikebukuro line to the final stop, Hanno (about 50minutes) and then from the north exit of Hanno station you can get a bus straight to the onsen (about 10 minutes). The majority of the buses from the station are the orange/green services run by Kokusai Kogyo but look for the grey eagle bus which will go directly to the onsen. The bus runs roughly every half hour.
There are two options upon entry, the simple (simpuru) course which gives entry to the baths for 1000 yen or the yuttari course which includes the use of the bedrock, hot stone area. The simple course includes a large bath towel and small face towel whilst the yuttari course also includes two sets of clothing, one for the bedrock area which is located upstairs and one for use in the restaurant and the rest of the facilities. The simple course will allow you to use the restaurant and other areas as well but you’ll just have to wear your own shabby clothes.
The bath area features showers complete with shampoo, conditioner and soap as well as two indoor baths and two saunas. The rotenburo (outdoor bath) is the real highlight with great views over Lake Miyazawa from a large stone bath and a larger square infinity bath complete with individual stations to sit back and enjoy the view. There are also hot stones with a thin layer of water to lie on which soak up the afternoon sun perfectly (even in winter). The only slight downside is the absence of any jacuzzis but you can forgive that because of the spectacular views from the outdoor baths.
The restaurant is also worth a visit for their all you can eat and drink course at 1,580 yen for 90 minutes. Alcohol isn’t included but can be ordered separately. There’s a good range of foods with curry, fried chicken, tempura, soba, rice as well as a salad bar, various tofu dishes, hamburg steaks, potatoes and (if you have any room left) ice cream, yoghurt, cakes and fruit for dessert. The drink bar has fresh juice, fizzy juice, coffee and a wide range of loose leaf tea. Definitely well worth the money.
In warmer weather the restaurant’s terrace offers great views over the lake and surrounding hills whilst inside there are various relaxation rooms, massage chairs, and massage rooms offering treatments for extra fees in addition to the bedrock area upstairs.
There’s plenty on offer to spend a whole day relaxing (and eating) making it the perfect day trip from Tokyo.