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Welcome to one of Tokyo's many public bathhouses called "Sentō" they're usually very distinctive looking buildings around neighborhoods with high chimneys
We're going to get naked and show you what makes Tokyo's bath houses worth a visit
Tokyo Sentō all have the same price, but they're certainly all different than unique
As the industry changes from the past to the future, it's an exciting time right now to take a bath in Tokyo
Welcome to Takara-Yu, this is one of Tokyo's most famous Sentō, sentō being a public bathhouse
Takara-Yu is famous for kind of maintaining that retro style that they have decades and decades ago
But that's not the only attraction, of course, there the baths and to help me explain it all
He is a Sentō master, Machida-san
I think he has just arrived
This isn't your first visit here for you?
Of course not. I've visited here so far, nearly 300 times
Oh, great!
By the way, when this building has been constructed?
About 80 years old
It's characterized by its Japanesse traditional style
That's right. Very traditional Japanese looking
What's kind of attraction is there in this Sentō?
This Sentō highly appeals to
its high ceiling
There is also a very beautiful and spacious garden and the traditional painting
This is a vast area you can't enjoy in your own house bath and a lot of tradition lives here
So the purposes of Japanese bathing are half washing the body clean and half relaxing
So Takara-Yu has a lot of attractions to it of course every Sentō in Tokyo has an attraction
Something that makes it special Takara-Yu
it's the building itself and the garden not many Sentō have space for real nature in the city and
Then there's the building
External appearance, it resemble a temple
If you're wondering why it's because this is Paradise!
It's Paradise!!
Let's go!
Takata-Yu is a pretty typical Japanese bath house under its roof the showers with faucets under to fill the buckets for bathing
Rather than Mount Fuji, Takata-Yu highlights the other side of Japan the painting done by Machida-san himself
Wait a moment!
Oh, we haven't changed yet !
It's time to change
This is much better
Yeah, so now that we changed you're ready for the bath
This bath room - the ceiling is pretty high
This is one characteristic of Tokyo Sentō
The roof is high to let the steam out
On the outside where the waterfall is made of the rocks from Mt. Fuji
Machida-san is telling me that a piece of Mount Fuji exists outside that window
It's not obvious at first but Fujisan is there -- sort of
You see outside that window, there's a big boulder that was actually brought to the bath from Mount Fuji
Do you see it, it's hard not to feel the power of Mount Fuji here
Every Sentō in Tokyo pays homage to Mount Fuji in one way or another
But it's still a Sentō, and we still have to get into the bath
Wash your body before getting in the quick rinse is usually enough
Bathers must be completely naked when entering the bath, but for this video, we're wearing towels
Sentō aren't typically hot springs the water is heated before entering the bath
Machida-san and I went into the back to see a demonstration on how they used to heat the Sentō baths in the past
They did it with wood and fire
This heater is the last of its kind in Tokyo and now Takara-Yu uses gas and electricity to heat the baths
The heater produces a lot of heat and a lot of smoke
There really is a lot of smoke
That smoke is why Sentō have those high chimneys.
They're no longer necessary but many keep them up because it's easy to see the center from far away
Chimneys are also a symbol of the bathhouse you can see that the wood generates a great deal of smoke
The Sentō has changed a lot over the years
Japan is rich in water and has high temperature and high humidity
so that is why Sentō grew in numbers
Also Japan has a lot of Onsen
so people are used to getting into baths
Tokyo used to have about
2,000 Sentō more than
2,000 Sentō over the last 15 years or so the number has been declining now there's about 600 remaining in Tokyo
People have baths in their houses
They're also much busier have busy escapees Sentō bathers have changed a lot over the years
But fewer bathers these days Sentō have made more space between the showers
How long does one stay in the bath
It depends on a person, but they stay in for 30 minutes or so
30 minutes? Some people even longer
So how is the price of the Sentō decided?
From way back, it has been the same as one bowl of Soba
Right about 400 yen in current currency
Same since the Edo period (1603-1868)
So a simple bowl of soba noodles decided the price when bowls got more expensive, so did the entrance fee in Tokyo it's now
460 Yen
Takara-Yu's garden is also a big draw you can watch the carp swim by
The building is also an attraction constructed in the 1930s the outside maintains pretty much as it was back
Then the bath is family-run and the owner showed me some of the history of the bath
This is around 1937 or 1938
This picture shows the ceremony for putting the ridge-timber in place of this bath-house
A bunch of the carpenter specializing in temple, shrine etc. construction are lining up
You haven't used the second floor at all, haven't you?
timber construction
No machnines or cranes were used. By only "Ningen (human) power"
This is a picture of the well
to bring the water up manually
Water was brought up by wells to fill the baths a labor-intensive job
This is my uncle's family
Sentō are almost always family-run businesses going back generations. There's a love for the community it brings in
Ceremony of the day the Sentō opened
This was the day that Takara-Yu Sentō opened
The neighborhood may have changed around it, but Takara-Yu has stood strong throughout the years
The Sentō is more than a public bath these days. It's also a community spot for events like music performances and art exhibits
That's sort of the place I want to make here
This is not just a bath, it's a different kind of place
There's a connection between bathing and drinking milk, coffee milk is Machida-san's recommendation
From way back, kids came to the Sentō for coffee milk
When you get into the bath, you get dehydrated
and you want something sweet
In old days, they only sold normal milk
but since kids came, they started to have this
Kids think coffee something adults drink
so when they drink it, they feel mature
All kids want to be adults and adults love the nostalgia
Delicious! Totally satisfied
What a incredible feeling! Felt great, didn't you
We are totally refreshed!
This is just one experience one Tokyo Sentō
There are hundreds more to explore as I said each one is special and another Sentō master was waiting for me across town
Right away, you can see that the building is modern almost looks like a museum
This is Hisamatsu-Yu and it's been remodeled to fit today's style
Since everyone has a bathtub in their house these days bathers look for an enhanced experience
You pay and get your key, which is a card in this case welcome to the 21st century
It's used for the locker
Oh, this is Shimokitazawa-san, you can tell from his t-shirt that when it comes to bathing he means business
Change into your birthday suit and make your way to the baths
The showers are the lazy man's way to rinse yourself be careful not to splash your neighbor Shimokitazawa- san prefers the tap and bucket method
Shimokitazawa-san invites me to try it out everything looks fine another relaxing bath
until things go totally wrong
Pulsing in the water is an electrical current. It's like he planned the whole thing
After a few minutes he convinces me that it's good for my health and to give it another go
Of course, I'm skeptical about the whole thing, but maybe I didn't give it a fair chance
Yep, it's still shocking and still rather funny to my friend
The current runs between these two bars, so now you know
Hisamatsu-Yu, also has an outdoor hot spring bath that bubbles
I think you really need to have this open air when you're in a real Onsen because that the cold air and the hot water really
Penetrates your soul like it gives you energy doesn't
Good for your health. Yeah, very good for your health!
Everyday, everyday, EVERYDAY!
Do you go to Sentō everyday? Of course, everyday.
Besides good health what's the attraction for him?
It's very interesting because it's quite different in places,
with the exterior, interior and the water itself and the people as well
People coming are so different in every Sentō
Hisamatsu-Yu was also an incredible Sentō experience and I'm starting to see why bath tourism is popular with Japanese
Each one is like entering a new world
Shimokitazawa-san knows about my final destination Daikoku-Yu, but while I'm travelling there
Let's take a look at some other Sentō in Tokyo as I said before the industry is changing to meet the times
This is the newly remodeled Sakae-Yu, the new style is modern giving bathers a totally different experience
Beautiful white walls of the changing room as you can see lighting is important to set the mood here
it looks like a scene from the future a bath from the Year 2050 and
The sound on has incredible art on the ceiling
Bathing has gotten a lot more exciting at Sakae-Yu
Another style shift is to go back in history to another era
Hasunuma-Onsen is newly remodeled as well, but in the 1920s Taisho era look
The Mount Fuji mural usually over the bath is now in the lobby so people can take photos of it
The ceiling is high
surrounded by stained glass and antique looking lights
The bath has painted tile making it seem like a theme park the main bath pays homage to japan's oldest bathhouse
Dogo-Onsen and Matsuyama where I was unclear this episode
This is a hot spring water with natural minerals coming from deep underground
Japan's four seasons painted above the showers going back in time is just as fun as going to the future
But there is one modern touch here the carp swimming under the floor. It's digital
Welcome to Daikoku-Yu and Oshiage near the Tokyo Skytree
Come on in it's an inviting place for locals and tourists alike
Leave your shoes in the locker and get a ticket from the vending machine
Like everywhere else it's 460 yen
Bring your own towel or pay a little extra to rent one. You'll also get a key for your locker
The setup is a little similar to Takata-Yu
There's my good friend Fujisan on the wall above
Grab a bucket and a stool and rinse yourself then pick a bath
The Super Jet
The Body Massage
The Sitting Bath
The Waterfall
The Medicinal Bath
The Walking Bath
This one's Daikoku-Yu has Wow many different varieties including
And Onsen, Daikoku-Yu pumps up water from the ground to bring it Onsen experience to the bathers something unique
That's not in people's homes
You can also go upstairs to a lounge to cool off and relax
At 643 metres high the Tokyo Skytree looks over the neighborhood
There's also a sauna here
But my favorite place in this Sentō is the retro hairdryer no instruction manual needed
Plonk your head under the hood
Pay 20 yen -- or 15 cents
And enjoy a three-minute blow feels like you're inside an airplane turbine
The feeling is better than a double espresso
People with body art will be happy to know that Tokyo Sentō are increasingly becoming
tattoo friendly the Sentō is open to all and it's just
460 yen you can take your first step to be a Sentō master, it's not just a bath. It's a relaxing experience
That's good for your health part of the culture and history and one of those experiences that is certainly only in Japan
Enjoy your soak
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Inside Tokyo's Bath Houses | Sento ★ ONLY in JAPAN

35 Folder Collection
Erina Hagi published on November 25, 2019
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