Note: Unfortunately, this place closed down in 2021…
Those familiar with Tokyo may be rather surprised to see an Oedo Onsen Monogatari post on a blog typically dedicated to off the beaten path destinations. After all, the facility isn’t really much of a hidden gem and remains a perennial favorite among tourists and locals alike. Despite its reputation though, we’ll be taking a look at an alternative way to enjoy Tokyo’s most famous onsen. Anyone up for overnighting at the place?
Before we get into the details of why you should consider staying the night, let’s first dive into what the Oedo Onsen Monogatari complex is and how to get there. Please take note that unfortunately those sporting tattoos will not be allowed to enter the facility so consider yourself forewarned. If you’re already familiar with the attraction, feel free to skip to the sections below. Go ahead, it won’t hurt my feelings.
Moving on, the Oedo Onsen Monogatari facility celebrated its completion in 2003 and is more than just your average onsen. This hot spring theme park features an interior resembling Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868). The onsen was designed to mimic the aura and vibe radiating within Japan’s numerous festivals. Therefore, Oedo Onsen Monogatari is sure to deliver an eclectic assortment of entertainment ideal for tourists, dates, or wanderlusts.
One of the coolest things about Oedo Onsen Monogatari is that all visitors are given a yukata to wear upon entry. After checking in, you’ll need to select a specific sized yukata. Be sure to know your height in centimeters to choose the proper fit. Many tourists consider wearing a kimono or yukata a must-do experience and a visit to this themed onsen is a great way to kill two birds with one stone! Be sure to read up on how to wear a yukata as doing it the wrong way signifies that you’re a corpse! Yikes!
Oedo Onsen Monogatari is also the perfect spot for those hankering for a first-time hot spring adventure. Let’s face it, one’s first onsen experience can be nerve racking and those cautious of committing a faux pas can easily be intimidated by the process. After all, changing rooms are not really the best environment for asking questions! Luckily though, Oedo Onsen Monogatari provides ample documentation of the entire process in English for newbies.
Before moving on, one quick warning. In Japan, it’s totally normal for children of either sex to accompany mommy or daddy into the bathing area. Please don’t be surprised if you see a young girl and her father walk gleefully into a room full of stark naked men! While you may not choose to expose your children to the naughty bits of other genders, it’s definitely not something the locals are worried about.
How to Get There
The trek to Oedo Onsen Monogatari is child’s play when compared to the journey to onsen towns such as Kusatsu or Beppu. All you’ll need to do is take the Yurikamome Monorail from Shimbashi Station to Odaiba’s Telecom Center Station! As always, to figure out the best route for you, be sure to consult with Jorduan or a similar service.
While there ARE buses that come from Shinagawa and other locations, accessing these routes might prove to be a significant challenge for most tourists. Seeing as the Yurikamome Monorail can be pretty expensive, you’re welcome to try the bus option but be sure to do your research first!
While the buses will leave you off at the front door, those taking the train will have a short walk ahead of them. Luckily, the Oedo Onsen Monogatari complex is only a few minutes away from Telecom Center Station. Information can be found here on Oedo Onsen Monogatari’s official website.
And, here’s a link to Google Maps to follow just in case….
Overnighting at Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Enough about Oedo Onsen Monogatari itself. What’s all this talk of overnighting? Well, unlike most hot springs, Oedo Onsen Monogatari is open almost 24 hours a day (11:00 AM to 9:00 AM the following day to be precise). This means there’s nothing stopping you from staying at the onsen until the morning. That said, do note that if you stay past 2:00 AM there’s an extra charge of approximately 2,000 yen. Whether to stay or not is totally your call; sometimes, it can be cheaper to just consider a taxi depending on where you’re staying and the size of your group.
Personally, I like to spend an entire Saturday night at Oedo Onsen Monogatari whenever I am feeling super stressed. Usually I’ll do cycles of hour-long sessions in the hot springs followed by an hour of journaling while munching on some food in the common area. I’ve learned along the way that if you check in after 10:00 PM you can save a few hundred yen off the entry fee. The only downside to the later entry is that a few of the attractions like the outdoor foot bath close on the early side so try to arrive as close to 10:00 PM as possible.
For those who are looking to get some shut eye while staying at Oedo Onsen Monogatari, you have two options available. You can either make an official room reservation or find a quiet spot to pass out on the premises (more on this later). I, and many other patrons, tend to opt for the latter in the event we do sleep. Again, your call, you might be more comfortable relaxing in a reserved room within the onsen.
If you decide to book a room, the cheapest option by far is the Kurofune Cabin Capsule Inn. These can be reserved at the front desk for a mere 4,200 yen but are apparently limited only to men. Sorry ladies, you’ll have to shell out for the regular room rate which can run 20,000 yen or more. Unless you’re in a group and are going to share the cost, you might as well just taxi back to your hotel for that much!
Thankfully, for those who don’t want to shell out for a room, there is an alternative! There are a series of relaxation rooms located upstairs above the onsen that are great for catching some ZZZ’s. Here you’ll discover a collection of reclining chairs chairs that have their own private TV and headset. The lights are dimmed at all times of the day too so it’s pretty easy to nod off. Oedo Onsen Monogatari has two of these relaxation rooms — one general purpose and one for women only.
The fine print… There’s a downside when planning on passing out in the relaxation room. The chairs are NOT guaranteed! Usually there are a handful of chairs available even on weekends but there’s always a slight chance you may not find one. Should you find yourself in this situation, you have two available options: you can go downstairs and wander about the premises looking for an open tatami mat or bench or go full #YOLO mode and hit up the onsen again.
In closing, while not exactly as luxurious as a five star hotel, staying overnight at Oedo Onsen Monogatari is a fun way to simultaneously experience a hot spring while getting some shut eye. While I wouldn’t suggest doing so in the midst of your Tokyo excursion, a visit to the onsen can make a good bookend before catching a flight or train to your next destination. You can savor a full meal, rejuvenate in the onsen, and pay up your sleep debt all for less than an average night hotel stay in Tokyo.
Until next time travelers…