天山湯治郷 (TENZAN TOUJI KYO) is located in the mountains of 箱根 (HAKONE). If you visit here from Tokyo, the best way is to take 小田急ロマンスカー (ODAKYU ROMANCE CAR) from 新宿 (SHINJUKU) and it takes 85 minutes to reach 箱根湯本駅 (HAKONE YUMOTO Station), the final stop. You can take hotel shuttle bus from this station which departs every 30 minutes. Get off the bus at 天山入口 (TENZAN IRIGUCHI Stop), then TENZAN TOUJI KYO is right in the front.
Here TENZAN TOUJI KYO has 2 湯治 (TOUJI) facilities for day trip, 1 facility for long stay, and 1 soba noodle restaurant. This kind of complex with multiple ONSEN is generally called “温泉郷 (ONSEN KYO)”, but here it’s named as “湯治郷 (TOUJI KYO)”, as the facilities of this complex are specifically for TOUJI.
Related article: Your first experience of TOUJI – Enjoy different way of ONSEN trip
Even the entrance itself gives me good impressions. It’s felt like sophisticated and full of hospitality.
This time, I came here on a day trip. One day trip visitor can choose either one of “ひがな湯治 天山 (HIGANA TOUJI TENZAN)” or “かよい湯治 一休 (KAYOI TOUJI IKKYU)”. On weekdays, you can visit both of them just by paying 100 yen extra, but on the weekend, you have to pay each fare respectively. Since I visited here on the weekend, and I wanted to spend slow time at one place, I decided to enter only HIGANA TOUJI TENZAN.
ひがな湯治 天山 (HIGANA TOUJI TENZAN)
Men’s and women’s bathrooms are properly separated, and each of them has a variety of large outdoor bathes. Since the spring quality is alkaline simple spring, it’s very smooth and gentle to the skin, where all ages of people can enjoy. This may be why this place has been loved by so many people for so many years. This place has 50 years history.
Other than ONSEN, there is a very comfortable rest area “まちあい (MACHIAI)”. Oh, I want to lie down and read some books here. Soon after I felt like this, I found another place for reading “あまやどり (AMAYADORI)” as well as a place for nap “ざしきぼっこ (ZASHIKIBOKKO)”. Also there are 2 restaurants; one is “山法師 (YAMABOUSHI)” where serves nutritious foods, and the other is “楽天 (RAKUTEN)” where you can enjoy しゃぶしゃぶ (SHABUSHABU) with using drinkable ONSEN! In addition to that, there are so many spots where you can enjoy whole day such as a cafe “うかれ雲 (UKAREGUMO)”, a gift shop “酒落亭 (SHARETEI)”, and a massage “瀬音 (SEON)”.
What is special about this facility is that it is not like cheap one-day-visit ONSEN facilities or Super SENTO facilities at all. I don’t know why but people gathering here are not rushing and not coming here only to bathe in ONSEN. Seems like they are coming here to spend slow and calm time. The impression I got at the entrance was correct. It’s not popularized and I felt time passed very differently here.
Detailed information of the facilities here: http://tenzan.jp/tenzan/
かよい湯治 一休 (KAYOI TOUJI IKKYU)
Here is very simple. The sales copy in their official website also says like this. “There’s only ONSEN flowing in the cypress bath”. Yes, this is true. However, it’s a very peaceful cypress bath which makes me want to keep bathing long with viewing the mountains of HAKONE. Just facing ONSEN and just let myself being there. It is as if doing ZEN meditation. Next time I’ll definitely come back here.
逗留湯治 羽衣 (TOURYU TOUJI HAGOROMO)
This is a lodging facility. Although it is a small lodging facility with only 8 rooms, its design and hospitality into detail is so nice. This facility only accepts the guests who staying here more than 2 nights as the concept of this facility is for healing purpose. The meal they serve is healthy menu with vegetables and brown rice. Their hospitality is to refrain from too much service and let guests stay without any stress. This kind of hotel / ryokan are not often seen in Tokyo, and also there are few accommodations for TOUJI like this in Tokyo. Since 箱根 (HAKONE) is very close to Tokyo and its spring quality is good, so many people visit HAKONE from Tokyo to enjoy ONSEN for leisure purpose, but I would recommend this kind of TOUJI purpose stay to heal your mind and body fully.
The recommended RYOKAN “SAWANOYA” in Tokyo: SAWANOYA RYOKAN; Japanese typical RYOKAN in Tokyo
Commitment to its fresh ONSEN
This TENZAN TOUJI KYO brings ONSEN through pipeline from the 7 spring sources nearby. ONSEN brought from the sources is directly flowed to bathtubs without kept or stocked anywhere. Its yield is 20.820 liters per hour, means 499.680 liters (approx. 5 hundred tons) per day. This plentiful yield keeps ONSEN here always fresh.
Among 7 spring sources, 5 are alkaline simple spring, pH8.6, which water temperature is 65.4°C. Another one is alkaline simple spring, pH8.9, drinkable, which water temperature is 53°C. The other is sodium chloride spring, pH7.8, which water temperature is 70°C. All of them are so mild and good for all ages of people. Since it has huge yield, they are capable for so many people. Moreover, they clean the bathrooms everyday so that everywhere is clean.
When this TENZAN TOUJI KYO started its operation, there were only an outdoor bath at the edge of SUKUMO River and a simple shed. It has been 50 years since they welcomed their first guests then. Japan has made a lot of changes through this 50 years, but through this period, TENZAN TOUJI KYO has spent its 50 years with keeping selecting what should be changed and what should not, with just facing fresh ONSEN. Although I only stayed here for one day, why I came to understand this place this much is because I fully read the paper named “みだれかご (MIDAREKAGO)”. Through reading this paper, I was moved by their attitude that they sincerely welcome guests as well as blessings of nature and ONSEN. Man of principle has straightforward attitude. This serious and straight attitude make a trust.
Taking a example of their sincere and straight attitude, they treat the guests having tatoo like this. “Since this facility is for the guests who want to cure diseases and injuries and maintain health, we don’t refuse the guest having tatoo as long as coming alone. However, we refuse the multiple guests having tatoo coming together. Please come alone and focus on curing or healing calmly. However, if the guest has some trouble with other guests, we will refuse your stay any longer. We hope all the guests spend peaceful time here”. Although most of the ONSEN facilities refuse the guests having tatoo, they accept them as long as coming alone to purely heal himself. Don’t you think they are so straightforward, do you? What is important for them is whoever comes here could heal themselves by ONSEN. That’s it.
じねん蕎麦 すくも (JINEN SOBA SUKUMO)
There is also a hand-made SOBA noodle restaurant where you can view 須雲川 (SUKUMO River) flowing right in front.
“自然 (Nature)” is pronounced as “SHIZEN” in Japanese at the present day. However, it used to be pronounced as “JINEN” and it means “Natural feeling” which Japanese people have cherished for long time. It is “to give yourself upto how it naturally goes”. This SOBA restaurant was named as JINEN under their thought that they want to make purely natural feeling SOBA noodle.
Water plays an important role when SOBA noodle is cooked. This restaurant uses ONSEN instead of water to cook it. Generally many of ONSEN are hard water, but ONSEN here is super rare soft water which doesn’t contain any magnesium. Moreover, its soft alkaline spring (pH9.3) best fits to cook amazing SOBA. It is very interesting to get ONSEN inside the body with SOBA noodle.
I had a lunch at 山法師 (YAMABOUSHI) restaurant at HIGANA TOUJI TENZAN because I heard that they serve nice lunch set including SOBA noodle from this JINEN SOBA SUKUMO as well as TEMPURA, brown rice, and とろろ (TORORO / Grated yam). Brown rice is several times more nutritious than white rice. In addition, here the brown rice is served in おひつ (OHITSU / wooden container for cooked rice) and the guests are to serve rice from this OHITSU to their own bowls by themselves, which is Japanese traditional way. The reason why Japanese people traditionally use OHITSU to have cooked rice is because it keeps the warmth and moisture of cooked rice. Therefore even though it gets a little cold, it still keeps moisture so that you can eat it very tasty. This is one of the Japanese traditional wisdoms.
After bathing in ONSEN long, have a rest in the nature, then eat nutritious meal once become hungry. This made me full of happiness mentally and physically. This might be a real TOUJI.
Zero reset from minus. Regain yourself. You might ask if there’s really such a magic? Yes it is. Trust the power of natural ONSEN.
I would like you to give yourself upto ONSEN in such facilities or hotels where commit the quality of ONSEN. It really makes your body and mind relax and gets yourself back. This is the power of ONSEN you should definitely try.
Related article: Your first experience of TOUJI – Enjoy different way of ONSEN trip