The Japanese have perfected the art of onsen, or hot spring baths, for centuries. Traditionally, men and women would bathe together in the same facility, but these days the baths are segregated by gender.
Today, konyoku (mixed-gender onsen) are hard to find, with places like Tokyo having bans on such establishments. Experiencing this one-of-a-kind Japanese tradition before they disappear completely is highly recommended. Use this quick guide to find mixed-gender onsen in the central Kanto region. All of these make for a great weekend getaway from Tokyo.
Takaragawa Onsen sits alongside the Tone River, surrounded by greenery and beautiful stone. This hot spring is well known throughout Japan for being scenic year-round, with high traffic during the autumn season. With three outdoor baths for both genders and one secluded bath for women only, you can easily spend hours soaking in this outdoor oasis. This is one of our Top 10 Winter Hot Springs Destinations!
Gorokaku is a ryokan (Japanese inn) located in the mountain city of Numata in Gunma Prefecture. This family-friendly facility has three outdoor baths. Handsome bamboo structures and rock formations surround the hot springs, making it a beautiful destination no matter the season.
A perfect destination for outdoor folk, Hotel Kojokaku is located in Gunma’s adventurous town of Minakami. Conveniently close to ski slopes and ample hiking trails, Hotel Kojokaku is a great place to relax after a long strenuous day. The open-air bath of this hotel is mixed-gender but there is a separate time reserved for just women.
Yumori Tanakaya lies in Nasushiobara City in Tochigi Prefecture. This ryokan is only an hour away from Utsunomiya City, making it a quiet escape from the busy prefectural capital. Take the path down 300 stone steps to reach two outdoor baths nestled alongside a river. There are no high-rise buildings to obstruct the stunning view, resulting in a pure, tranquil atmosphere.
Honke Bankyu makes for a historical bathing experience having been established in 1573. For over 400 years, descendants of the Heike Dynasty have run the ryokan housing guests who seek to cure their illnesses through the hot spring’s water. Though there is only one outdoor mixed bath, Honke Bankyu offers a traditional, luxurious experience.
Also known as Hama-no-yu, this outdoor mixed onsen is one of the most popular on the Izu Islands, which are technically part of Tokyo. Swimsuits are mandatory here—good news for those apprehensive about going full commando in front of the opposite sex. This is the perfect destination for less seasoned onsen goers. You’ll have to take a boat from Tokyo to get here, but the expansive view of the ocean makes it more than worth it.
Situated right next to the sea, Ashitsuki is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. This onsen is open 24 hours a day and offers a view of the sea and nearby harbor. Bathing suits are also required here, which makes it another great introductory hot spring for those who may be a bit shy.
Located in Tokyo’s neighboring prefecture of Saitama, Miyako Ryokan is a fantastic place to escape the city’s busy streets and neon lights. This intimate mixed bath has a lower temperature than most onsen, clocking in at about 16°C (about 60°F). This makes it great for soaking with friends for hours on end.