Translated by Hilary Keyes
Everyone Bathing Together?! Travelers Check Out A Japanese Public Bath
Written by Ramona Taranu
Visitors to Japan have their first trip to Japanese public bath! This tour was organized by Emblem Hostel in Nishiarai; read all about Matsu no Yu, the public bath they visited, and learn what they thought of the experience here!
Hot springs are one of the first things that come to mind when speaking of Japan! But, even if you don't have the time to travel to one of the many famous hot spring resorts, you can still enjoy a great bathing experience in the greater Tokyo Metropolitan area.
Sento, or public baths, have been used for many years in residential areas throughout Japan. Although the overall number of these public baths has decreased in recent years, those who want to soak in a large comfortable bath still prefer to visit their local sento.
The Adachi ward in Tokyo has a great number of public baths, about forty of them in total. Here you will find a wide variety of public baths, from those that originated in the Showa era all the way to contemporary, modern designs mixed in a way that you can only find in Adachi.
Today via a program created by Emblem Hostel Nishiarai and some of their guests from overseas, we visited the public bath with the longest history in Adachi ward, Matsu no Yu.
What kinds of experiences did these overseas travelers enjoy at their first public bath trip in Nishiarai?
Matsu no Yu Opened in 1936!
Matsu no Yu is a public bath that first opened its doors in 1936. The current building was constructed about 60 years ago.
A historical atmosphere; you can tell right away that this sento has been well-loved and used by the locals regularly. One of the biggest attractions of Matsu no Yu is its old-fashioned public bath appearance.
There is also a small garden on the premises, which you can enjoy viewing leisurely after your bath.
The First Public Bath Experience in Nishiarai
Those who took part in this public bath tour were travelers from Canada, America, Germany and Singapore.
While on our way to Matsu no Yu, I asked the participants what their image of a public bath was, but no one was able to give me an answer. As everyone had come from countries where public baths are not very commonplace, they didn't have a set image of what a Japanese public bath might be in the first place.
Many of the tour members had heard that "you can relax in hot water", "it will relieve your fatigue", and decided to participate in this tour out of curiosity.