Onsens and sex museums? Mmmm I did say I was up for an adventure on my onsen journey, but I did not necessarily picture this unexpected combination of discovery along the way. Nevertheless, I was up for it, and it made for a pretty interesting day trip to Atami Onsen! I promise to keep in G-rated!
Atami Onsen can be easily reached by a 48 minute Shinkansen trip from Tokyo station. It is a seaside resort town, surrounded by mountains. As with most onsen destinations, there are plenty of onsen ryokan to stay at overnight, or day travel options. I had not done much research about the area, so I completely went with the flow (well – with a little help from Google) to see what I was to discover.
Hihokan – Adult Museum
This was not on my radar to begin with, but it popped up on my search when I was looking at the rope way ride. There was an optional package that included the museum visit so I though why not?! An interesting paradigm shift to see from the Japanese viewpoint, and a few giggles to be had I was sure.
It took about 45 minutes to wander through the various exhibits ranging from artwork and various paraphernalia to some more high tech exhibits using holograms. A number of the exhibits were interactive including a “peep hole” through a brush fence to look at the wax model of a beautiful woman enjoying an outside bath. As you peeked through, you got an automatic “eyeful” of water squirted at you, but you are saved being soaked by the glass partition. I had a smile to myself thinking that there was indeed a twisted link to my onsen quest! Overall the museum was pretty old – but an interesting diversion to say the least!
After the morning adventure, I was ready to revert back to my regular theme of onsens. The Tourist information centre provided me with a useful list of Onsens with day use facilities. I chose the KKR Hotel as it had an onsen & lunch package for under 2000 yen.
The onsen at the KKR Hotel is located on the 7th floor with beautiful views overlooking the sea. Unfortunately I was unable to take any pictures of the bathing area, but here is the view from the room outside of the bathing area, where people sit and relax as they unwind.
There is a large well maintained indoor bathing area, including spa baths, as well as a smaller outdoor bath on the deck outside all with the same amazing view. Overall, it was a very relaxing and serene experience.
The lunch package really was amazing value, providing you with a choice of a Japanese or Chinese course lunch. I chose the Chinese course with “Ebi Chilli” (chilli shrimp), fried rice, spring roll, egg soup, pickles, steamed dumplings and annin tofu (almond tofu). It is amazing how the onsen experience does stimulate your appetite for a decent meal afterwards, and it was great to enjoy the restaurant experience with good service in beautiful surroundings. Well worth the package deal with an onsen as often you would pay 1500 yen just for the meal and a further 1000-1300 yen for an onsen at this level of hotel.
From Tokyo, the quickest route is to take the Kodama Shinkansen to Atami station (48 minutes) Alternatively you can take the Superview Odoriko (78 minutes) or the Tokaido line (107 minutes). Be sure to take in the city and sea views from the Atami Ropeway which is 15 minutes by bus from the station. The Adult Muesum is definitely an option (!) but if you go, make sure you get the package for 1800yen which includes the rope way vs 1700 standard entrance fee. Atami Castle is also a 3 minute walk from the top of the ropeway.
KKR Hotel is a 10 minute walk from Atami station.