Above: Hoshinoya Tokyo

On the train ride from Narita airport to Tokyo Station, at the end of an 11-hour flight, the thought that I would soon be soaking in a hot spring buoyed my tired spirits. There are more than 2,000 natural hot-spring baths, known asonsen, and my partner and I planned to visit one at each stop along our journey. Our first hotel, Hoshinoya Tokyo, is billed as the only true onsenryokan(hot-spring inn) in central Tokyo. This is somewhat surprising considering the country’s extensive bathing culture, but the geothermal waters here lie far below, and Hoshinoya had to drill a kilometer-deep well to tap into them.

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Above: Hoshinoya Tokyo

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