There are generally two kinds of public baths in Japan. Sentoh and Onsen. Both can provide several large furo (baths) offering relaxation and occasionally a good conversation, but the biggest difference between a sento and an onsen is the water.
- Sen:coin toh:hot water = sentoh（銭湯）
- On: warm or hot sen:spring = onsen （温泉）
Typically sentohs use tap water while onsens use water from a natural hot spring. Therefore, onsens are more expensive and are believed to contain benificial minerals that have therapeutic properties. There are famous onsen tourist spots all over Japan that keep busy throughout the year by providing beautiful accomodations, food and onsen baths.
Did you know that Niiza has a natural onsen? It's actualy relatively close from Higashikurume station! 10 minutes by car and 15 minutes by bike. It does cost twice as much as the local super-sento (Ofuro no Osama) but yes, for onsen enthusiasts, it's worth it.
I couldn't photograph the bath area for obvious reasons but the men's side has 4 different baths and a dry sauna. If you have never been to a public bath, make sure you wash before you dunk! There are many washing stations stocked with shampoo, conditioner and soap where you wash yourself before soaking in a bath. Also included in the fee is a wash cloth, bath towel and comfortable room wear. My favorite bath is the ゆとりの湯(Yutori no Yu). It's the main bath maintained at 42 degrees C. The hot spring water is dark and seems to be a little thick. 絹の湯(Kinu no Yu) The silk bath is white and covers you with tiny micro-bubbles that the facitlity claims promotes blood flow. There is also a jet bath and water bath.
After you enjoy the furo, you can enjoy a snack at the stand located right outside the baths. If you are really hungry you can go to the full service Japanese Restaurant upstairs 武蔵野庵(Musashinoan) which serves, tempura, noodles, sashimi and rice dishes. It's a little pricey but convinient and if you know you will be eating there, you can purchase a bath+food discount ticket.
There are numerous resting areas all over the facility. Some people spend the whole day on site taking naps, watching TV, eating, drinking, working and of course bathing multiple times.
You can also enjoy various massage services on site. These services are not included in the bathing fee and are rather expensive.
-10 minutes by car from Higashikurume.
-Free bus service from Kiyose Station North Exit. Pick up in front of the laundry service across the street from Seiyu.
-5 minute walk from (新座総合体育館入り口）Niiza sougou taiikukan iriguchi bus stop.
Open: 8:00am ~ 1:00am
Child Friendly: Yes
Time: 1 hour ~ all day