tamagawa onsen entrance

The entrance to Tamagawa Onsen (Photo from: Tamagawa Onsen)

Imagine stepping into a time machine and being whisked back to Japan's Showa era (1926-1989) – that’s the feeling you get when you visit Tamagawa Onsen in Saitama Prefecture. Tucked away in the Tamagawa Country Club, this onsen offers more than just stress-melting hot springs – you can evoke past-era nostalgia at this Saitama onsen, too. 

tamagawa onsen shop

Some of the vintage snacks on sale at Tamagawa Onsen. (Photo from: Tamagawa Onsen)

As soon as you arrive, you're greeted by charming relics from Japan’s yesteryears: an old three-wheel drive, a vintage mailbox, and even a retro soda machine. Peer inside and it's like you’ve stumbled upon a museum of Showa-era memorabilia, with posters, snacks and subtle echoes of '60s Japanese tunes that transport you back in time.

Chill out in a cosy library or grab some delicious Japanese home cooking at Tamagawa Shokudo, the main cafeteria that serves crowd favourites such as soba (buckwheat noodles) and oyako don (Japanese chicken and egg dish with rice), and unique offerings such as Himokawa Udon or a yuzu-infused curry.

Or, simply kick back in the outdoor area with hammocks. If you've been out hiking around Saitama, such as at the Chichibu Tama Kai National Park, a dip in the onsen is the perfect way to unwind.

akira no yu

Akira no Yu, one of the two onsens at Tamagawa Onsen. (Photo from: Tamagawa Onsen)

Speaking of dipping in the onsen, the hot springs there are worth a note – Tamagawa Onsen boasts two main areas: Akira No Yu and Nagomi no Yu. Water is pumped from a whopping 1,700 metres underground and works wonders for your skin and stress levels. For the ultimate indulgence, the onsen offers mud packs – instructions are available only in Japanese, but simply leave it on for 10 minutes before rinse-off – that will leave your skin feeling supple and baby-smooth. They switch up the baths between men and women every week, so everyone gets a chance to enjoy both.

tamagawa terrace

Tamagawa Terrace repurposes an old bathhouse into a unique cafe experience, with a charming illustration of Mount Fuji in the background.  (Photo from: Tamagawa Onsen)

Aside from Tamagawa Shokudo (the main cafeteria), the onsen offers a unique cafe experience in the form of Tamagawa Terrace. It’s a one-of-a-kind addition to the onsen where repurposed tiles, guard stands, callans, and other items from a nearby closed public bath surround this space, preserving the essence of the Showa era. Immerse yourself in nature's embrace as you sip on drinks while surrounded by nostalgic memorabilia!

tamagawa shokudo

One of the many meals you can enjoy at Tamagawa Shokudo, Tamagawa Onsen’s in-house cafeteria. (Photo from: Tamagawa Onsen)

Whether you're a history buff, a wellness enthusiast, or just looking for a unique getaway, Tamagawa Onsen has got you covered. One of the coolest things about Tamagawa Onsen is how they've managed to preserve that old-school atmosphere while still offering all the modern comforts one would expect. It's a little slice of retro paradise in Saitama Prefecture. Once you have experienced it for yourself, you'll understand why it's a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike.

Tamagawa Onsen is accessible from Tokyo's Ikebukuro station to Musashi-Ranzan Station via the Tobu-Tojo Line. Then, transfer to a bus bound for Juuoudo-mae Bus Station before taking a short 15-minute walk to the onsen.