By Sarah Chaney
Fukushima is home to many great hot springs, which are treasured for the great scenery throughout all four seasons. Although there are many clusters of hot spring hotels in famous areas such as Higashiyama and Ashinomaki Hot Springs, there are also some great finds in the city. In particular, there is Yuya Aizu Hot Spring Hotel, which is fifteen minutes from Aizuwakamatsu train station by taxi or car. This hotel is part of a larger chain found across Japan called Oedo Hot Spring Monogatari.
This hotel offers not only a relaxing soak in a natural hot spring indoors or outdoors, it also has a buffet restaurant, an arcade, massage room, kid's play area and a souvenir shop with locally grown vegetables for sale. The best part? You can get a buffet and hot spring set for the decent price of ￥1400 for adults, ￥９００ for elementary age kids, and ￥５００ for kids over three years old. You can also opt for buying the hot spring entrance fee or the buffet, separately (please see the picture of the vending machine, I explain which buttons to press). You can also rent a face towel and body towel, or you can bring your own.
Hand the staff your ticket that you purchase from the vending machine on the right hand side of the entrance hall when you first walk in, and then continue past the counter. Please take off your shoes before the carpet area and store them in the shoe lockers. To your right is the children's play area, which costs ￥３００ for 30 minutes per child, or ￥５００ for an unlimited amount of time. Each guardian accompanying the child is ￥２００. The play area is quite large and includes various playhouses, activities, and play equipment to entertain the kids.
Directly across from the children's play area is the entrance to the hotel lobby. Although day visitors are welcome, you can also choose to stay at the hotel for a reasonable price per night. Please note, the hot spring hotel is not within walking distance of any local attractions, so please be aware of that if you are interested in booking a hotel for an extended stay.
Straight ahead, past the shoe lockers, is the arcade. To the right is the massage room and the left is the buffet, which is open from 10am until 2pm, so please take that into account when you decide whether to soak in the hot spring first or have lunch first. I personally enjoy the buffet, not only for the variety of food available, but the rotation of food. Although certain dishes remain the same, nearly the entire menu rotates on a regular schedule. The content of Japanese food is always changing, in addition to being accompanied by a rotating schedule of foreign foods. I have seen Mexican, Italian, American and Indian food at the buffet, sometimes with a multiple selection at the same time. There is also a selection of great deserts, melon and grape slushies, and drinks. The buffet is sure to have food that kids will enjoy as well as it is a very family-oriented establishment.
The hot spring is at the very back of the building (from the shoe lockers, walk straight through the arcade and continue straight. The buffet is on your left). Just outside of the hot spring entrance are three massage chairs, a vending machine for milk and soft drinks, and a waiting area. The red curtain leads to the women's side of the hot spring, and the blue curtain is for the men.
Yuya Aizu Hot Spring Hotel is suitable for a nice relaxing day trip for a reasonable price which includes a delicious rotating buffet and the hot spring entrance fee. If you are interested in this chain of hotels, they are also available across Japan under the parent name of Oedo Hot Spring Monogatari, with some hotels offering different amenities and attractions from others. You can check out their English website for their Tokyo hot spring here!
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Greetings! I am currently sailing through my second year living in Fukushima. In the four years I've lived in Japan, I have realized that Fukushima is Japan's best kept secret. With JapanTravel.com, I look forward to helping people be able to learn more about Fukushima and also assist with translating Japanese articles into English. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message!