ART MEETS SENTO アートX 銭湯
Sento refers to “public baths”, facilities much adored around Japan since the 17th century. These public baths are not merely places to go to wash your body, but rather places where locals and travellers gather socially to soak away their exhaustion. Many people have undoubtedly seen the familiar sight of Mount Fuji painted near one of these baths. A sento craze has been slowly taking hold of people young and old recently, with a number of unique baths popping up that have incorporated art, whilst preserving the traditional overall style. Furthermore, there’s nothing quite like downing an ice-cold bottle of milk after warming your body in the bath! Whether you’re drenched in sweat from the sticky summer air, or chilled to the bone on a winter’s day, make some time during your travels to visit a public bath in Tokyo.
HOW TO CORRECTLY NAVIGATE A SENTO
1. Take your shoes off at the entrance and place them in thex shoe cupboard.
2. Pay the entrance fee at the bandai (reception).
3. Soap, towels, and other bathing amenities can also be purchased at the bandai.
4. Baths are divided into separate male and female bathing areas. Generally, the red curtain leads to the female area and the blue curtain leads to the male area.
5. Take off all of your clothes, including your underwear, before entering the bath.
6. You must wash your body before entering the bath. Sit on the provided stools to scrub your body.
7. Pour hot water on your body before entering the bath. This is known as “kake-yu”.
8. Sit back and relax in the heated waters.
Seven thousand different manga (Japanese comics) are available for you to read to your heart’s content at this sento featuring the longest trading hours in the city at 22 hours every day! Make sure you check out the walls in the baths covered in bright and colourful paintings of Japanese lucky charms. Lofts and individual rooms can be found in the lounge for you to flop down and relax after a good soak in the baths. You can also take advantage of the sauna to relax in at no additional charge. This sento has become the talk of the town with the fun experience offered with different toys such as sushi and octopuses floating about. All the soaking got your tummy rumbling? Snack on some ice cream, beer, instant noodles, takoyaki (octopus balls), and other tasty treats. Feel free to also park your bicycle inside the facility if needed. The bath waters are tapped from 100% high-quality well waters.This public bath lets you laze about in your home away from home.
The idea behind Fuku-no-yu is to provide patrons with an experience to bring happiness to the body and soul, as well as impart some measure of good fortune by soaking in the spacious baths. This is what paved the way for the “sento of good fortune” concept. Feng shui aspects have inspired the interior colour scheme, with the Seven Lucky Gods forming the theme of the bathing rooms. The baths featuring strong jets streaming high-quality well water, and those steeped with natural herbal medicines are particularly popular.
This sento was newly renovated on November 1st, 2017 and is located near Tetsugaku-do Park (park of philosophy), which is the inspiration behind the facility’s concept of being a “public bath of philosophy”. The baths here are lit up in four beautiful colours, each corresponding to a different philosophy-related figure – the yellow Buddha sauna; the blue Kant bath, the purple Socrates bath, and the orange Confucius bath (semi-outdoor). Escape the distractions and mainstream concepts of city-life by resetting your mind, and find yourself again in this space away from the daily grind.
大塚記念湯 OTSUKA KINEN-YU
A cosmic wonderland graces the ceiling of this relaxing oasis. This particular sento is a retro retreat deeply-rooted in its local surrounds. It was built during the Taisho period (1912 – 1926) and was bestowed the new name “Kinen-yu” (commemorative bath) to commemorate the changes over the Taisho period to the Showa period.The sento was renovated into a building-style bath and is now run by the bath madame and mistress. Travellers, and public-bath amateurs are welcome with arms wide open! Rock up without any gear required. Tattoos are also a non-issue here and the free Wi-Fi is a welcome addition. There are also baths with the temperature dialled down for people of all ages and genders to enjoy!