There are a lot of retro public bathhouses in Japan, but Asakusa Kannon Onsen is very old and antiquated hot spring. It is worth visiting and it should be considered a place of local heritage. Archaic facilities thrill us and make feel nostalgic. Antique maniacs should go.
You might miss it despite it being located in the middle of Tokyo, because it blends in with its environment. In Asakusa, a tourist town in Tokyo, Asakusa Kannon Onsen is just behind Sensoji Temple, right next to Hanayashiki Amusement Park.
Asakusa Kannon Onsen is on the ground floor of four-storey old building with rusted neon sign that no longer works. This hot spring was built in 1957. The building is covered densely with ivy and you cannot see most of the wall in summer. Asakusa has many tourists on holiday, but most of them pass by this old building.
You can enjoy different appearances of Asakusa Kannon Onsen changing throughout the four seasons. In summer, the ivy grows thickly and the wall is very shaggy.
In fall, the leaves change yellow and the building looks melancholy.
In winter, the leaves wither and you can see all signs of Asakusa Kannon Onsen building. The signs reading “Drink Sapporo beer silently if you are men”, and “Enjoy singing and dancing in Asakusa Kannon Onsen” ooze nostalgia and melancholy. The sound of singing and dancing have not been heard here for many years.
Asakusa Kannon Onsen reduced its scale of operation gradually, and only the public baths on the first floor are open now. There were once large banquet halls to enjoy shows and popular theater on the second floor. You maybe cannot imagine it was crowded with people, as it was a long time ago.
You might feel scared and hesitate to go inside this building. How about going inside bravely because Asakusa Kannon Onsen has a genuine natural hot spring?
Asakusa Kannon Onsen opens from 6:30 in the morning every day and it is good to bathe in hot spring in the morning.
The bathing fee is 700 yen.
The notice says, “Don’t bathe, people who are durnk and too dirty! Don’t bring in alcohol!” Here, in Asakusa, there are too many drunks.
You can rent a towel at 150 yen and get back 100 yen when you return it. The wall of the front hall is painted with the scenery of the countryside in Europe.
There are old shoe lockers that have a large capacity, for 189 pairs of shoes. Some lockers are for people who come regularly. The upstairs is blocked off with shoe lockers. The banquet halls for enjoying songs and dancing were closed.
It was built in 1957 indeed and the inside of the building is also too old.
When you turn left along the shoe lockers, there are dressing rooms which lead to the public baths.
Foreign tourists come here occasionally and there is a notice, written in English for foreingners.
The hot spring is wonderful and you probably can enjoy bathing in an old Japanese bathhouse. Asakusa Kannon Onsen is old but interesting, because there remains of traditional and nostalgic atmosphere in Japan.
If you stay near Asakusa, how about bathing there? It is closed on Wednesday.
[How to go] a 10 minute walk from Asakusa Station (浅草駅) on the Ginza Line, Toei-Asakusa Line, Tobu-Skytree Line, and Tsukuba Express
Asakusa Kannon Onsen (浅草観音温泉) : 2-7-26 Asakusa, Taito (台東区浅草2-7-26)
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