Before planning my trip to Tokyo, I made a note to visit Ooedo Onsen Monogatari and spend a night there.
My other plan was to overnight at a cybercafe but chickened out and stayed at a budget hotel instead.
The icing on the cake was when I found out that there was an event for my favorite anime/manga Gintama at Ooedo Onsen and that I would be there during the last two days of the event.
For me, staying overnight at Ooedo Onsen meant saving one night’s stay at a hotel. Since I already want to soak in hot springs, adding on the extra 1,700 yen wasn’t too bad. But if you are travelling in pairs, this might be a more expensive option for accommodation.
Since I was going to spend the rest of my night at Ooedo Onsen, I decided to pay for the evening entrance (past 6 p.m. 1,680 yen) instead of day entrance fees (from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2,180 yen). I also bought my tickets from 7-11 so there was a 180 yen discount.
Before heading to the ticket counter, visitors need to put their shoes in shoe lockers.
After putting away my shoes, I went to queue with the rest of the people. Since there was still about 10 minutes before 6 p.m., everyone had to wait patiently.
About 5 minutes before 6 p.m., a lady dressed in traditional outfit came out with a pair of clappers and said lots of things in a sing-song tone.
I remember from their Web site that she’s the kanban-musume Oshino. This literally translates to “Signboard girl” which means she’s the attraction of a business.
Too bad I wasn’t too sure what Oshino was saying. I guess it was to welcome all of us to Ooedo Onsen.
Soon, the counters opened for the evening session. I handed over my my coupon and was given a wristlet with a barcode taped over and a key.
Before heading into the changing room, everyone gets to choose a yukata. There are different designs and sizes of yukata. I picked on with purple flowers.
After yukata choosing, it’s time to hit the lockers. Find the locker corresponding to your wristlet. It’s in Japanese so if you don’t read hiragana, you might need help.
The size of the locker was enough for my backpack.
At the lockers, strip down to your underthings and wear the yukata.
Remember that the left side needs to be on top, or else you are wearing the bathrobe as a corpse would.
Strolling on Edo street’s
In my yukata, I went out to the fake Edo streets. There are plenty of food stalls around so don’t worry about being hungry. There’s also free hot tea and both hot and cold water so you won’t go thirsty.
When I was there, there was a performance at 7 p.m. I think the shows change every season.
Soaking in hot springs
I couldn’t take photos at the onsen or its changing room so I can only tell through words.
Before heading to the ladies’ hot spring area, we need to put our things in another changing room. There’s other lockers here to put yukata and underthings in before heading to the hot spring area.
In the changing room, there’s a corner with samples of makeup remover, toner, face lotion. There’s also hair bands and toothbrush provided.
Before heading to the hot spring, take everything off. Everyone strips naked so no need to be shy.
The hot springs are divided into indoor and outdoor pools. There’s a large section where everyone washes their hair and body. Free shampoo, conditioner and body soap is provided too.
After vigorously washing and conditioning my hair, I headed to the pools.
There were a variety of pools and areas:
- Ooedo Onsen hot spring which was real undersea hot spring, instead of just hot water. The color was a bit rusty. There was also a side with recycled Ooedo Onsen hot spring which didn’t have a rusty color.
- 40 degrees Celsius pools
- Massage jacuzzi pool
- Pool with frothing machine which makes the water much more “fine” and is good for the skin
- Cold water (brr)
- Outdoor pool
The pools outdoors were limited. There was only a large pond and an area with a few fake vintage bathtubs.
Off to bed
After soaking in the pools for the longest while, I head to the changing rooms and bought myself a small glass bottle of milk.
At about 11 p.m., I decided that it is time to find a place to sleep.
Ooedo Onsen has a capsule hotel but it’s catered only to men. The private rooms are too expensive for me.
I think there are also large halls where they layout tatami for people staying over. This I’m not too sure though.
My choice was the ladies’ lounge on the second floor. Here, they have reclining chairs with mini TVs. They even provide blankets.
Most of the chairs were taken by the time I got there. I found a chair with a broken TV and settled there. A mother and her young son slept one chair away.
I put on my eyemask and ear plugs and tried to sleep on the 150 degrees chair.
Suddenly as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a loud rumbling noise. I took off my eyemask and discovered an older lady snoring in the seat next to mine.
It wasn’t easy blocking her snores out even with my earplugs but I managed to sleep.
In the morning, I woke up and realized that she was gone. I was also surprised to find that it was almost 7 a.m. which meant that I had less than 1 hour before the pools close for cleaning.
I went back for a last soak of onsen. Soaking in the morning and at night was different. I could see the blue sky in the outdoor pool while at night everything was a blur because I wasn’t wearing glasses.
After the soak, I changed back into my real clothes and checked out.
Stayed: Ooedo Onsen Monogatari
Pros: Save on entertainment and accommodation; fun
Cons: Snoring seatmates; not having a real bed