Public Bathhouses: Take a Dip in Everyday Japan

Local bathhouses—known as sentō—used to be a familiar part of everyday life in Japan. But their numbers have declined steadily over the past few decades. Recently, efforts have begun to pass on the traditions of sentō culture to the next generation. What are the attractions of a traditional neighborhood bathhouse?

“Sentō” Paradise: Ten Great Japanese Public BathhousesMachida Shinobu

Sentō expert Machida Shinobu has visited over 3,000 public bathhouses around Japan. Here he compiles a list of 10 establishments that is sure to please any sentō aficionado.
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The Story of “Sentō”: A History of Public Bathhouses in JapanMachida Shinobu

Public bathhouses have long been popular in Japan, for reasons of community as much as hygiene. But when did they first emerge and how have they changed over the years? This article provides an overview of the history of sentō.
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Tanaka Mizuki: The Young Woman Keeping the Tradition of Bathhouse Paintings Alive

Many traditional neighborhood bathhouses are decorated with huge murals, often featuring Mount Fuji. Today, this tradition is kept alive by just three specialized artists. We spend the day with one of them, a young painter looking to carry the form into the future.
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