Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Asakusa Onsen, Edo Era Onsen (Hot Spring) in Asakusa (浅草温泉), Tokyo

Asakusa Onsen (浅草温泉) could be one of the best hot springs in Tokyo, but the management is letting this historic and cultural gem go to waste. Should I recommend it or not? Please read the positive points and the negative points listed below. Then, let me know what you think.

A Friendly Patron of Asakusa Onsen

POSITIVE POINTS
  • Within a three-minute walk of Tokyo's oldest temple, Senso-ji, also known as the temple of the Asakusa Kannon
  • Colorful tile murals that might not exist elsewhere
  • Thick brownish water that is full of mineral elements
  • Some of the hottest water in Tokyo. Water in one section was 45 Celsius, or 113 Fahrenheit
  • A long history
  • A spacious interior
  • Close to restaurants and public transportation
  • Amusing Sign Written in Imperfect English (see below)
Easy to Understand Directions?
  • Broken tiles and faucets
  • The toilet was clogged and would not flush on my visit
  • Dust on the tops of lockers
  • Admission is 700 yen while other nearby springs are 450 yen


Do You Want to See This When Bathing?

After reviewing my notes and reading what I have written, my conclusion is to stay away. If the facilities are not properly cleaned and restored,the water might not be hygienic. 

My recommendation is to visit a nearby hot spring named Jakotsuyu, which is kept clean and well maintained, instead. Jakotsuyu also has a long history, is close to the same historic area, and is cheaper.

Visiting Asakusa Onsen could be an incredible experience if only the management showed a caring attitude toward the building and its guests. The power of maintenance can never be understated, especially when dealing with steam and the mineral elements within hot springs, many of which can corrode building materials.