Local Independent: Totoken, Nihonbashi

Totoken is a compact sauna with a well-stacked fridge. Run by the team behind web magazine Girl Houyhnhnm, this space is situated in a renovated concrete structure which sits alongside the Sumida River. Designed to complement the group’s running club, runners can head to the sauna post-run, and finish with an ice-cool craft beer.

The sauna itself is simple, with the focus on quality, not quantity. It’s also quite reasonably priced. In addition to the sauna, there are two mizuburo, or cold-water baths. As any regular visitor to a sauna knows, the quality of the water bath is as important as the sauna itself. It has a great community vibe, so visit Totoken with a friend or alone. Everyone is welcome, including those with tattoos.

Sauna Theme Park: Saunas, Shibuya

Saunas is situated between Shibuya and Daikanyama in a gray-walled building that has a trendy vibe. Almost completely unmanned, Saunas has everything a sauna-goer needs to have a distraction-free experience. Check in and receive a key, similar to a hotel-type system. Once inside, head up to the sauna area, which includes four saunas, two water-baths, showers and bucket-showers.

For those who want to truly relax, there is a Bed Sauna, with the temperature kept lower, allowing visitors to lie down and spend a longer time at the facility. There is even a Music Sauna, with specially curated music by local digger Chee Shimizu, designed to enhance the overall experience. Across from that, there is a Kelo Sauna, which smells amazing. Of course, you also have a great outdoor space and a teeth-clenching cold-water bath.

When you’ve finished sauna-ing, head downstairs for some brilliant vegan food, provided by Michelin-starred kaiseki chef, Yusuke Nomura of Daigo.

For anyone with tattoos, you are only allowed entry on Tuesdays, so it can become quite busy.

SaunaLab Kanda’s Ike (Pond) Sauna

Oasis in the City: SaunaLab, Kanda

SaunaLab is an adorable space in Kanda. With both male and female sections, each side is a little different, so it switches on Wednesdays. Tattoos are totally fine at SaunaLab and there is also a café and eat-in space. The complex is perhaps the most homely we’ve found in Tokyo, with no gray in sight. Wood, branches and more wood decorate its interior, and that’s not just for aesthetic purposes.

Both sections of SaunaLab include a “Forest Sauna,” a space decorated with different natural branches to imbue the sense of forest as you aim for that natural high. Another standout is the ice sauna. Kept at -30 degrees, the ice sauna is there for balance, to mimic the cold Finnish weather from where its concept was born. There is also a unisex relaxing space with some very cool wooden seating and a sauna market selling a range of related goods, including English-language books.

SaunaLab prioritizes reservations, so it’s worth booking online before you go, to ensure you can enter.

Sauna&Co relax space

Private Retreat: Sauna&Co, Kuramae

This is ideal for couples who want to sauna together, or friends who want to make noise and choose their own tunes in private. Sauna&Co offers several options to enhance the private sauna experience, from Bluetooth speakers to post-sauna parfait. With löyly saunas, visitors are able to select their own scent to pour over the heated stones and radiate the room.

The best part about Sauna&Co, aside from the sauna itself, might be its relaxation space, which is filled with plants. While the concept of the sauna was born in nature, many newer saunas, especially those in Tokyo, are severely lacking when it comes to greenery. Sauna&Co adds nature vibes with plants hanging all around. The chairs, which fit up to three people depending on the type of sauna, act as a cocoon for chill-out time.

As it’s a private sauna, those with tattoos needn’t worry.

Booking is necessary.

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