Oedo Onsen Monogatari: Hot springs theme park
2-57 Aomi, Koto-ku +81 (0) 3 5500 1126
11am-9am (7am last entrance for bath)
Oedo Onsen Monogatari combines two of Japan's favorite loves -- superfluous theme parks and the onsen hot spring baths -- into one accessible complex.
Opened in 2003 out on the man-made and barely-accessible island of Odaiba, the Oedo Onsen theme park is designed in pseudo-traditional Japanese style, with old-fashioned shops and restaurants lining the main street. Visitors can even try their hand at old-time games, including archery and scooping up goldfish from a tub, and eat old-time resort town snacks.
But everyone is there for the hot spring baths, separated of course by gender. The water is pumped up piping hot, from 1,400 meters below the surface. Each area has a washing section and a series of different pools, including some outside beneath a wooden pagoda.
The women's side of the onsen has okeburo, (individual barrels filled with steaming water), as well as sunaburo (sand baths). A large communal garden has another series of pools, some containing herbal balms and one where fish nibble the skin from bathers' feet. They are all extremely relaxing and get you prepared for the stressful transit ride back to Tokyo proper.