Super Spas

view from Spa LaQua's relaxation area
beer girl
beer girl at Tokyo Dome by the spa
Tokyo Dome baseball game
Giants supporters cheering inside Tokyo Dome
Spa LaQua is quite pricey but very nice - the ultimate super spa. Take Exit 2 of Metro's Korakuen Station 後楽園駅 and walk towards the mall. Make sure you use the elevator with wooden doors marked "Spa LaQua" to the 6th floor because escalators and other elevators in the mall won't get you to the spa. When you enter, the staff has tablets/pamphlets with English/Chinese/other languages to explain everything.

Wednesday is "Lady's Day" so women get 366 yen off the spa entrance fee (¥2268 instead of ¥2634) as well as some other discounts in the shops. The entrance fee gets you access to a few decent but pretty standard gender separated indoor and outdoor brown hot spring baths as well as saunas. Clean, but nothing overly special. I enjoyed the low temperature saunas as well as the 2 standing showers that spray mists 360-degrees / from above.

You get to choose 1 out of 3 outfits to wear on the 5th floor's "relaxation zone" which has lots of awesome lounge chairs with built-in speakers and TV or tablets with games/books/comics, of course all in Japanese. The whole place is very modern so you don't get the traditional feel of wearing a yukata like at Oedo Onsen in Odaiba. You can also purchase food and drinks with your wristband then pay when you check out. There is no wifi (I asked).

I would definitely recommend paying another ¥864 to get access to the unisex "Healing Baden" upper floors which has additional saunas and very nice fancy beach hotel-like relaxation areas (and heated floors!). You get another (kind of ugly) outfit to wear for this area. Other than the usual, there's a small cold 5°C "sauna" with an aquarium full of jellyfish and a 27°C planetarium-like dark relaxation room with projections of clouds/stars. There are also small outdoor areas to sit by the pool (can't swim in the pool though). It is very busy, even on a weekday afternoon, but in most saunas, you're not allowed to talk so it's still quiet and relaxing.

There are tons of pricey spa services you can pay extra for and also late night charges. Their website has pretty detailed info. Without getting any massages, you could easily spend a couple of hours or more here. I quite enjoyed this place and personally liked it more than Manyo in Yokohama. After 5pm, LaQua also had some nice illuminations in the winter.

One thing to keep in mind is that the spa is very close to the Thunder Dolphin roller coaster so even though it's relatively peaceful, the place vibrates every once in a while when the roller coaster passes by. By the way, if you're thinking about riding the roller coaster, Thunder Dolphin is very cool but equally scary, mostly because there are no over-the-shoulder restraints - you just get a seemingly flimsy seat-belt. The view is amazing though. Also, going through a hole in the building is pretty awesome.

Since you're already in the area, why not catch a baseball game at Tokyo Dome before/after the spa? Even though I have zero interest in baseball, I recommend checking out a baseball game while in Japan!! For me, watching any sport is basically like watching paint dry, but the atmosphere at Japanese baseball stadiums is just wild! Everyone's just so into it!! There is a little chant/song for each player that everyone seems to know 'n people are decked out in costumes and all sorts of baseball/team-related stuff.... not to mention the cute beer girls with cubic backpacks coming around to serve you drinks!! If that's really not your thing, have a snack with the Moomins, also just steps away!

Tokyo Dome baseball

oedo onsen
Oedo Onsen in Odaiba

Roof-top mini golf close to Manyo
Oedo Onsen 大江戸温泉物語 is fun onsen theme park. It's a nice way to spend a couple of hours. You get to pick your yukata (included in the price) and experience different types of hot springs in the public ponds (some outdoor as well). There are little seats and shampoo/conditioner/shower gel for you to take a bath in public (same sex). Of course you have to be naked so keep that in mind. There are a lot of people inside-it's quite cool to see everyone in yukata in the food court area (nicely decorated like old Japanese streets). The outdoor hot spring foot bath is quite nice as well.

Manyo 万葉倶楽部 is in Yokohama! Even though I thought the place smelled like a pool and was really crowded, it might still be a good experience if you have never been to one of these. To be honest, I was kind of disappointed, but there was nothing majorly wrong with the place except that the water smelled a lot of chlorine, kind of like Yunessun 箱根小涌園 ユネッサ in Hakone.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in December, there was a huge line going in so it was quite busy inside as well. I enjoyed the “salt sauna” and the herbal saunas (one even with a TV inside!) The outdoor hot spring pools were decent but a bit crowded and the view wasn’t that great. Decent amenities. Overall an okay experience, but not overly relaxing with quite a few people chatting right next to you. The view of the ferris wheel from the 9th floor foot bath was nice, but it was a bit cold and wet in the winter. There are free shuttle buses to and from Yokohama Station. There's free wifi but it only works on certain floors.

S p a s    n e a r    K a w a s a k i    S t a t i o n

Shirakunoyu 縄文天然温泉 志楽の湯 is a 15-minute cycle from Kawasaki Station, fairly straight forward - or a short walk from Yako Station. With your own towels, it's just 880 yen to enter on weekdays & a bit more on weekends -towels are also available for 110~210 yen. Not crowded at all on a weekday afternoon. Beautiful wooden interior with rocks, a bit dated but I think that's the look. There's a decent-sized steam sauna on the women's side. The wooden bathtub had roses floating around in it - nice touch! The onsen pools have salty brownish hot springs from underground. The outdoor one is simply gorgeous, with a wooden roof covering the center and a couple of flat raised rocks around where you can lie down, half covered in hot spring water, looking up at the sky through lush green leaves, listening to the birds and water flowing into the pool. Even though it's in the burbs, it's as good as any outdoor onsen in the country side. The "resting area" is quite small but there's spa as well as a cafe for food/snacks and a restaurant next door.

Also 15 minutes away by bike is Raku Spa in Tsurumi らくスパ 鶴見, which is really nice yet cheaper than similar super spas! You can also take their hourly free red shuttle bus from Kawasaki Station or Tsurumi Station. They use the cashless bracelet system where you can buy food and drinks inside and pay at the end. Admission includes an indoor outfit and towels as well as toiletries. A variety of gender separate indoor/outdoor baths with a few different types of hot springs can be found on the 2nd floor, even an "electric" daily bath that changes every few days... plus a salt sauna (rub on to exfoliate) & a sauna. Everything is labelled in English and Simplified Chinese. The 3rd floor has 6 types of mixed gender stone baths (like dry sauna) where you sit/lie down wearing your indoor outfit, in addition to relaxation areas with Japanese magazines and comic books.