Sento – Japan’s Public Bath

Posted October 18th, 2010 in Japan No Comments »

What I really missed this weekend was sento and onsen. I’d been wanting to wash my car (as it was already dusty when I picked it up from the dealer) and I finally had the chance to do it on Sunday.  I didn’t have any plan going out, so stayed home doing some cooking and cleaning.  Then, I spent my whole afternoon washing my car (and in-law’s car) in the yard.

It was pretty hot day and the sun beam was strong.  After washing and waxing the two cars, I was exhausted and sweating – all I could think of was taking a bath!

If I was in Japan, I would fill up the bath tub in the house and enjoy the early bath time, or head to the nearest sento. I used to go to sento often with my friends and stay there for hours.  (Read my last sento experience in Japan → sento)

Usually sento has several types of baths, including indoor and outdoor, jet bath, separated bath with different types of water, and also a bath of cold water to refresh.  My friend and I usually start with normal baths, then go outside to cool down a bit, enjoy the bath outside, then go back inside and enjoy another bath, then go to sauna room to sweat out, and take another bath before leaving.

After drying the body and getting dressed, we normally proceed to either relaxing room or dining room.

Most sento has massage chairs, and possibly napping room.  The floor of the room is tatami-matted, and people can just lye down and relax, cool down the body after taking hot baths.

The dining place inside sento is usually like izakaya.  It’s because people normally want to drink alcohol after taking bath.  The place is cozy, and anyone including family with kids can enjoy the food there.

It’s the best if your house is very close to the sento, as you will feel so sleepy after taking hot bath and eating the delicious food.

I do miss Yufuin onsen…  I wish I could go back to the quiet ryokan surrounded by only the nature.

(Read my trip to Yufuin in Kyushu Island, Japan in 2009 → 1, 2, 3, 4)


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