How to 日帰り温泉

Japan is clearly viewed as a nation of hardworking people. The “play hard” view of Japan is less well known, and the “relax hard” view is even more hidden. This side of Japan can be found in the onsen, saunas and sentō where Japanese spend hours during off-days; the rest rooms floored with tatami where they drink jars of coffee-flavored milk and smoke cigarettes afterwards; and the restaurants they then retreat to for beer and eats.

This isn’t true of all Japanese, of course. I’d say this applies mostly to older people who live slightly outside of the major metropoli. But even younger people and those who live in cities take their hygiene and relaxation seriously.

While most people stick to their local onsen and sentō, higher quality springs and scenery draw people on 日帰り(ひがえり)温泉 trips. Break it down and it’s a ghost of a trip – you’re traveling long distances to do very little other than have a bath. However once you’ve done a couple and become accustomed to the whole group bathing phenomenon, they’re hard to live without.

Travel agencies offer package sets that generally include round-trip train fare, lunch, and entrance price for one of the baths. These can run anywhere from 5000 – 9000 yen. Not a bad deal, but using a Seishun 18 Kippu will cover your train fare for five separate trips for 11,500 yen. Read more about the ticket here.

Here’s one example of a trip out to 長寿館 in 法師温泉 – one of the least accessible onsen ever made:

How to Higaeri Onsen from Daniel Morales on Vimeo.

7 thoughts on “How to 日帰り温泉

  1. That sounds about right–you spend that money and do all of that traveling just to take a bath.

    But hey, it’s fun.

    Yesterday I bought this break’s Seishun 18 Kippu and used it to go to Kitakata just to eat a bowl of ramen, yet… it’s still fun.

  2. This trip was slightly pricier than normal – inaka buses are pretty damn expensive…560 yen for 7km, and 830 yen for 12. Other than that, 3000 yen sounds about right.

    Loads of fun! Although last week’s trip to Atami was less draining…didn’t have to get up at 4:30am.

  3. enjoyed your video. good background music. we’ll have to go to one when we go back. dad

  4. What a great little video! You mentioned on my friend Brian’s blog that you found a few Haikyo Onsens on your seishin 18 travels … any chance you could give me a hint as to where to find them?

  5. Thanks, Paul. I saw a bunch out at Minakami Onsen in Gunma Prefecture, although they were all pretty close to the town-center. Also saw some on the bus ride between Gokan Station and Sarugakyo. I think you’d find some at any of the decently-sized onsen towns that aren’t hugely popular anymore. Took a look at your haikyo photos – cool stuff!

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