Heiwajima onsen is a hot spring in Ota Ward close to Haneda International Airport. It’s located in BIG FUN Heiwajima—a dated entertainment complex inside which you can find discount stores, a bowling alley, cinema, pachinko, and a host of other activities. The less-than-glamorous location is kind of fitting for this onsen: the facility has a timeworn comfort about it and seems to be a place loved by the locals. The large bathing area, which echoes like an auditorium, looks as if it was abandoned for a decade and has only just started being used again. For some reason, I found it easy to relax here (at least partly because I was there late at night when there were few other bathers).
The male and female baths are identical. There are seven hot baths (including a jet bath and carbonated bath), a dry sauna, and a hot stone spa (no extra charge). Each bathing area is split into two rooms with one set up as a sort of television-viewing area;, and the other quieter without any distractions.
Heiwajima Onsen must be one of the biggest public baths in Tokyo. There’s a floor map on the wall as you walk in which shows you clearly where all the different rooms and sections are located: relaxation room, smoking room, massage room, restaurant, manga room, relaxation room, napping room, premium relaxation room, and so on. The reason why it has expanded so much is simple: the onsen is a 15-minute drive from Haneda Airport and offers guests with a late night arrival or early morning departure a package whereby you can sleep at the facilities (essentially use the relaxation rooms as a dormitory) for a modest ¥3,500. That includes use of the bathing area, a shuttle bus to/from the airport, and breakfast, depending on the package. I’ve used it before for an early morning (7:30am) flight out of Haneda and it really does make sense versus getting out of bed at some ungodly hour to pay double that amount for a taxi across Tokyo.
The chairs in the relaxation room fold almost flat but you can also sleep in the napping room on thin futon pillows or in the “Multi-Purpose Room” where they lay out foam futons with built in headrests. Blankets are free and available at reception. And if you’re still worried that you won’t get a good night’s sleep, they offer access to the “Premium Lounge” for an additional ¥1,500 where the chairs fold fully flat (think first class plane seats) and access is restricted. Note these are onsen relaxation rooms and so mens and women are mixed in the same room. There is a separate female section in the main relaxation room and a female-only premium lounge. Luggage can be stored at reception and there are barcode lockers for small, valuable items. Why stay at a dormitory for the same price?
Details on the “Late-Night Packages”
They have three packages:
- Stay Course. You can stay between 8pm and 10am the following day. Includes breakfast.
- Flight Course. Stay from 6pm until your shuttle bus in the morning.
- Welcome Course. Similar to the Stay Course, but you can stay for 14 hours from your late arrival (latest 2pm the next day). Includes breakfast and a shuttle bus from the airport.
All packages are ¥3,500 which includes a nightgown and towel set (¥3,800 for the Stay Course on Fridays, Saturdays, and before Bank Holidays). Reservations are required for the Flight Course and Welcome Course. These can be made on the website in English.