A beautiful natural hot spring in Chichibu, Seine no Yu is a private natural hot spring that is popular among tourists and locals alike.
Hot spring in Chichibu
On a recent trip to Ogano, which is just next door to the Yoshida area, we decided last minute we wanted to go to a hot spring rather than use the facilities at the cabin we were staying at. A quick search on Google Maps brought up several options with a 20 minute drive. The Chichibu District is abundant in hot springs. However, on closer inspection the hot springs in the area we were staying, on the Ogano – Yoshida border, only offered their hot springs for day trippers until 3 pm in the afternoon! Thankfully, unlike most of the other hot springs in this area of Chichibu, Seine no Yu opens until late at night. ‘Late’ by Japanese standards though, not Irish standards! It closes at 11 pm.
Seine no Yu
Seine no Yu is very well known within Chichibu. It has always been popular as a relaxing place for a hot spring in the Yoshida area of Chichibu. But lately, it is also insta-genic. If you visit at night they now light up the little river in the rest area with fairy lights. Setting off the red moon bridge brilliantly. There are carp in a pond on the other side of the bridge.
Photos are not allowed in the hot spring area, which is a pity but completely understandable. The area with the hot springs is really nicely done two. There are two different hot springs area. One is themed on the moon, one on the stars. Each week they change which area is for men and which is for women, so you get to see both if you visit more than once!
In the “Forest of Stars” area, one of the outdoor springs (rotemburo) has blue water, called the Ramune hot spring. Ramune is a lemon flavor fizzy drink popular in Japan. The bath is made of cypress wood. If you are the only one using Ramune hot spring you are allowed turn off the light in this area so you can get a better view of the stars above. There is also another rotemburo in this area, also made of wood. In the “Moon Rock” area, the outdoor baths are made of stone.
There is a common / rest area that has no extra charge. It is a tatami mat room with low tables and cushions. There is a TV, which is pretty standard in rest rooms all around Japan! You can drink / eat anything you buy on the premises in this rest area. There are vending machines in at least two different areas and there is even a small shop beside the reception area. You can buy delicious flavored milk from one of the vending machines! They work on a tab system – you scan the arm bracelet you get when you check in and pay your whole bill on the way out.
Private room with rotenburo
You can hire a private room with its own, small, outdoor spring. Its ideal for families, but may also appeal to couples and / or a group of friends. You can rent it for two hours for about 3000 yen. Prices are subject to change so do check the official website for the most up-to-date charges. If you arrive before 5 pm you can borrow a set of robes without charge. After 5 pm there is a small charge for the spring’s robes.
Beyer hotel / Restaurant
The hot springs also have some beds that you can rent during the day, much like a capsule hotel. Their website also has a page with information for staying overnight. However, they told us that currently they are only offering the hot spring. Unfortunately, they didn’t elaborate. It looks like a lovely place to stay, so hopefully the overnight accommodation option will return someday. The restaurant is operating though. We haven’t eaten here, but for what its worth, it has an excellent reputation. Supposedly all the vegetables they use are grown on their own farm.
Address: 468 Shimoyoshida, Chichibu, Saitama 369-1503. View on Google Maps.
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm Sunday to Thursday and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Cost: basic entry at night costs 800 yen for adults, 600 yen for children. It is more expensive during the day, but you can stay longer. There are various extras with different prices.
View on Google Maps. Natural Hot Spring Seine no Yu is approximately a 25 minute drive from Chichibu City. There is a free shuttle bus from Seibu Chichibu station and Chichibu Station. There is also a free shuttle bus from Nagatoro and Minano Stations. More detail on the shuttle bus with timetable.