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Let’s go to an Onsen (hot spring)! How to enjoy Sento (public bathhouses)

Japanese Culture


Let’s go to an Onsen (hot spring)! How to enjoy Sento (public bathhouses)

Do you know what a “ スーパー銭湯 (せんとう) Super Sento” is?

銭湯(せんとう) is a public bathhouse. If you pay money, you can take a bath in a hot spring.
スーパー “ means “great,” so a スーパー銭湯(せんとう) is more than just a bath house.
There are restaurants, manga corners, massages, and many other services in addition to the baths.
スーパー銭湯(せんとう) have been popular in Japan for several years.
In the past, public bathhouses were considered to be for the elderly, but スーパー銭湯(せんとう) are now also becoming a dating spot for young couples.
For about 2,000 yen, you can enjoy yourself all day long.

Now, let me show you how to enjoy a スーパー銭湯(せんとう).

The first step of enjoying Super Sento

The first step of enjoying Super Sento

There is a shoe box at the entrance. First, take off your shoes.

Lock (key) the shoebox. This picture is of a wooden shoe box. The key is also made of wood.
The key has a number on it, so you don’t have to worry even if you forget where your shoes are.
Once inside, there is a reception desk. In most cases, the receptionist will keep the keys to the shoe boxes.

You can borrow towels. Some places offer free towels, and some charge a fee.
I go without any, but my friends bring towels, shampoo, and body soap.
You will receive a belt with a key, so put it on your wrist or ankle.
You can put the key inside, just like in the picture.
You can use this belt to shop and pay when you leave the store.

What is “のれん”?

What is "のれん"?

There are separate men’s and women’s baths, so make sure you enter the right one.
The public bathhouses have a cloth called “のれん Noren” (curtain).
In most public bathhouses, blue is for men’s baths, and red is for women’s baths.

Take off your clothes in the changing room (だついじょdatsujijo) and put them in a locker.
After locking your locker, it is time to enter the hot spring.
Before getting into the bathtub, take a shower to wash off your body.
Be careful not to get your towel into the hot water, and enjoy the hot spring bath.
No swimming!

The most exciting time for me is after bathing in the hot springs.
There is a vending machine (じどうはんばいき jidohan-baiki), so I have a cold drink.
Milk, fruit milk, and coffee milk are popular, and my favorite is coffee milk.

Caution at Super Sento

Caution at Super Sento

At スーパー銭湯(せんとう), you can freely move between the hot spring section, manga corner, and restaurant.
You can enjoy the hot springs as many times as you like while resting with manga and food at rest areas.
One thing you should be careful of is that tattoos are not allowed in many Japanese hot springs.
Please check the スーパー銭湯(せんとう) rules carefully and ask the staff at the スーパー銭湯(せんとう) if you are unsure about anything.

I hope you could understand how good my favorite spots are.
If you ever come to Japan, you should definitely visit a スーパー銭湯(せんとう)!

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