How to travel to a relaxing hot springs resort… Without the travel part!

ByJason Gatewood
Dec 04, 2012

How to travel to a relaxing hot springs resort… Without the travel part!

Mayo Club Onsen Tokyo

It’s no secret that Japan is one of the most seismically active places on Earth. But this is also a good thing when you take one of the country’s most valuable assets into consideration: the Onsen, which is Japanese for hot spring. You can find hot springs all over Japan, and indeed whole towns have been known to capitalize off of their proximity to the geothermal boilers. However if you live the Greater Tokyo Area, you know that the chances of finding one of these natural pools is slim to none.

There are 3 choices for springs lovers in urban settings:

  1. Take a mini-vacation to places like Atami, Hakone, and Izu in Kanagawa prefecture, or to Gunma or Tochigi prefecture. These places are known for having good onsen hotels and depending on the season, you can also ski, snowboard, hike, and more. The water coming out of the ground is rich in minerals and other healing agents and its naturally heated to perfection by Mother Earth. Many of these places are resorts so they provide soap, towels, shaving kits and more. Some also have very good restaurants attached to them.
  2. Go visit your local “sento” meaning Japanese bathhouse. You can find these places in most areas around Tokyo, especially older “shitamachi” areas like Asakusa, Senju, and Kanda. I even spotted one in Ginza recently. These places were originally made out of necessity because a lot of homes didn’t have enough space for a tub or even hot water! So every neighborhood had a bathhouse. Because of this, most sento lean heavilly utilitarian in the way of facilities: places to wash up, a big rectangular tub for 8-14 people to sit in, and that’s it. You bring your own toiletries and soap.
  3. The “Super Sento” or “Super Spa”. These are a mixture of #1 & #2 and this author’s personal favorite when wanting to relax. Imagine a ginormous sento or a country onsen that decided to move to the city and snag a penthouse apartment.

The “Super Sento” brings all the amenities of a countryside hot springs resort into the middle of town.

Manyo Club Onsen in Yokohama

Recently I discovered one in Yokohama’s Minato-Mirai district called 万葉倶楽部 or Manyo Club in English. Located just a short 5 minute walk away from the Minato-Mirai line station of the same name, it carries all the amenities of a fine countryside hot springs hotel but with dramatic views of the Yokohama seaside. Actually, if you want to stay overnight or even over several days, there is an attached hotel as well.

The main draw of course is the onsen. This is a true spring; the water is trucked in 6 times a day from springs in Atami and Yugawara, spitting distance from Mt. Fuji. There are a variety of pools to soak your stress away in, from the usual and very large indoor tubs, to various rooftop outdoor pools overlooking the Minato Mirai district. There are even private tubs that are rented by the hour for those who want some “private time” with family or significant other.

In addition to the onsen, there are several other amenities as well:

  • Full service restaurants, both buffet and set menu style
  • Manga reading room and Internet cafe
  • Traditional Thai massage and British style reflexology services
  • Dry, salt, and herbal sauna rooms
  • Gift shop, meeting rooms, banquet hall rentals and more

Manyo Club is located just 30 minutes by express train from central Tokyo and can be reached directly by using either Minato Mirai station on the Minato Mirai line (Tokyu Toyoko line), or Sakuragi-cho station on JR’s Keihin-Tohoku and Negishi lines and the Yokohama City Subway Blue line. There is also free shuttle service that operates between Yokohama station and the resort from 10am until 11pm hourly.

Opening Hours 10:00-9:00 (the following morning)
Open everyday
Address 2-7-1, Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama, 231-0001
URL http://www.manyo.co.jp/mm21/
Closest Railway Station Sakuragicho Station: JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line / Municipal Subway Line
Minatomirai Station: Minatomirai Line
Tel 045-663-4126
Fax 045-671-1188
Ticket Info “Set admission (hours from 10:00 am – 09:00 the following morning) Adults (older than Junior High School): 2,620 yen Children (Elementary School Students): 1,470 yen Children (3 to under school age): 980 yen Children under 3: Free.
Credit Cards all major cards accepted
Languages Spoken Japanese, English

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Jason L Gatewood

About the author

Jason Gatewood editor

Our Tokyo based collaborator is a tech nerd, Japanophile, train nut, and a veritable fountain of information on Japan. His current goal is to watch Evangelion and actually "get it", sing every permutation of "Hotel California" at any karaoke gathering, ride every bullet train line, and sample all varieties of ramen throughout Japan. Catch more of his musings at · http://jlgatewood.com