If you did not know it already, Takahata is a fabulous getaway for those fatigued of the big city grind. With exceptional restaurants, charming hotels and a stellar winery to visit, one really does not need any further reason to book your next JR East ticket to the country town – but I will throw an extra one in, for free. The Takahata train station has its very own spa.
Picture this: you hop on the shinkansen to Takahata. You spend a day exploring on foot or by bike, sampling new foods and exciting wines, shopping at boutique stores and encountering friendly locals. Perhaps it is winter, and you have spent the day braving the snow. What is the one thing that will make this entire experience even more memorable, comfortable and luxurious? A relaxing dip in a steaming onsen, right before your train back to Tokyo. The idea is genius, and perhaps may even sound too good to be true, but true it most certainly is!
Takahatamachi Taiyokan is a quality spa based right in the Takahata train station. For a small sum, you can enjoy a few hours relaxing or defrosting in a pleasant onsen, all without the stress of rushing your train. Lockers are available for a refundable deposit of ¥100, and can fit a sizable bag, meaning that you can soak assured that your valuables are secure. Free shampoo and body soap is provided, as well as hair dryers in the spacious locker room. There is also a sauna adjacent to the inside bath, and if all that steam gets too much for you, you can pop out to the cold outside bath, or simply take a breather on one of the external wooden benches.
If you fancy making the most of your time in Takahata, why not book yourself in at the Hotel Folkloro Takahata? Guests at this hotel can enjoy this onsen at no extra cost to their room booking. Simply enquire at reception for a free token.
If you ask me, all train stations should consider having an onsen as fine as Takahatamachi Taiyokan as a standard part of their structure. Travel has never been more of a pleasure when you can factor a relaxing soak into your train journey.