A romantic onsen experience is often on the bucket list for couples traveling to the wonderful and exciting land of the rising sun. With that being said, with over 3000 onsen options to choose from across the country, who even knows where to start when it comes to deciding on where to go, where to stay, what to expect, what to pay, and so on.
Images of open-air baths with views of the night sky as well as private onsen baths with views of distant mountain peak will fill your screen if you simply search on “onsen in Japan”, but how do you really know which one is suitable for you and your partner to get the full experience?
Well, look no further because we’ve got the answer right here.
Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku, located in the lush region of the Minakami Onsen in Gunma, is one of the most picturesque, serene onsen baths that exist in the country. It’s an absolute gem, from its gorgeous exterior to traditional interior, to its remote location and even all the facilities and services offered that just enhance the experience by ten-fold.
It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a romantic getaway for a day and want to get away from Tokyo for a few hours, or if you’re looking for an easy overnight trip with your significant other to get back in touch with nature.
We highly recommend reading on as Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku really ticks all the boxes.
As it takes roughly just under three hours to get there, please plan your itinerary properly beforehand.
From Tokyo Station, you will need to catch the Joetsu Shinkansen Toki towards Jomo-kogen Station. This will take 66-minutes. From Jomo-kogen Station, you will need to catch a bus towards Minakami Station which will take approximately 25-minutes. From Minakami Station (platform 4), you will need to catch another bus towards Yunokoya. Alight at Takaragawa-Iriguchi or Takaragawa Onsen. This bus only operates twice daily, once at 10:45am and once more at 1:35pm.
There is also a shuttle bus that you can hop on from Jomo-kogen Station towards Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku between 1:00pm and 3:00pm. The bus trip will be covered if you book a night at Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku.
However, if you’re planning to explore the area over the next few days, you can purchase the Minakami Area Pass (three-day pass for buses in Minakami), either at Jomo-kogen Station for 2,000 yen per person, or you can also pre-book the ticket online here.
We recommend the Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku if you want the full onsen experience. The location deep in the mountains makes the views like something out of an anime, and it’s considered one of the best day trips from Tokyo by the locals.
If you have time, we recommend staying overnight at this accommodation as just ambling around on the grounds, taking in the sights, breathing in the fresh air, and experiencing the traditional Japanese inn is an experience in itself. It offers authentic and elegant guest rooms that are super spacious in size, featuring gorgeous Japanese artwork, shoji sliding screens, and decor and breathtaking views. Feel like royalty in the gorgeous yukata robes provided.
It’s the epitome of what an authentic Japanese ryokan should be.
However, guest rooms and such aside, the onsen itself can be visited by day-trippers who just want a small slice of heaven, and yes there is a reason why it’s voted as one of the top onsen day trips in all of Japan.
It features four outdoor baths, with three of them being mixed gender, or konyoku, and the last one for females only, and indoor baths, where males and females have their own separate sections. What’s great about the mixed gender baths, and definitely one of the reasons why this is a popular option amongst couples, is the fact that visitors are allowed to use the onsen’s rented towels to cover their bodies for a bit of modesty.
If you didn’t already know, most traditional onsen do not allow you to cover up at all, even with a towel or a bathing suit, and this deters many westerners from experiencing it due to their own bashfulness. Having the option to not only bath in a stunning onsen with your significant other but also be comfortable whilst doing so is not something you come across often, thus many couples take advantage of this.
If we had to choose a season to recommend, it would definitely be either autumn or winter, purely for the breathtaking views you’ll be able to witness. Due to its location surrounded by nature, the momiji leaves during autumn will blanket the forest around you, and in winter, the pure white snow carpeting the floor and hanging on the roofs will make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.
For those with tattoos, you may be allowed in the onsen but only under certain conditions: if they’re in areas on your body where it is not easily visible to the public eye, then you can enter. However, if they are on areas such as your arms or parts that can be easily seen by other people, you will need to cover it up with some plaster, tape, or bandaids.
For a getaway where you’ll be able to just simply appreciate your time with your other half, be in harmony with nature, be surrounded by great views day in and day out, live as though you’ve stepped out of a historical Japanese movie, the world class Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku is the perfect choice.
PS: Check out this link to discover more unique onsen towns in Japan.