Japan Trend & Travel Guide Japan Hot Now!



lifestyle tokyo


Fun yet bizarre socialization tradition in Japan―Public Bath House Tours(2/3)

Bath houses,or "sento" in Japanese,have been loved by the Japanese for hundreds of years,stretching back to the Edo period. One can enjoy a spacious bath for only 450 yen in these locations,which function as a valuable healing spot for common folk and a place to relax for local residents. An increasing number of facilities have recently undergone bold renovations and are attracting an even larger fan base! By all means,take a tour of these bath houses,which have taken on vibrant personalities,and see their charm for yourself. First we'll cover the traditionally-styled "Musashi-Koyama Onsen Shimizu Yu."

"Musashi-Koyama Onsen Shimizu Yu"
Enjoy the Luxury of 2 Types of Hot Springs

This indoor bath, which uses granite, has a high-class feel. Kuroyu Onsen, which now uses nano-bubbles (extremely minute bubbles), allows visitors to enjoy a jet bath, an electric bath, a Jacuzzi, and more.

We heard that for a shared bath entrance fee of 450 yen you could enjoy 2 types of hot springs and came here, to "Shimizu Yu." It's so popular that customers line before the 12 PM opening, even on weekdays. We're told that in addition to the regular customers from the area, many people also drive here from other prefectures.

Established in 1924, the ownership of the bath house is now in its 3rd generation. The bath house originally used regular well water, but in 1994, the 2nd generation owner succeeded in digging up the source for "Kuroyu Onsen" (black bath hot springs)! 13 years later, the 3rd generation owner further dug up the source for "Ogon no Yu" (golden bath) from a whole 1,500 meters underground.

The water at Ogon no Yu is rich in iodine, which is effective for a wide variety of conditions, such as cuts and chronic skin diseases. We also hear that some people come to gargle the water, which they say helps their sore throats. Kuroyu has a sodium bicarbonate spring, which is effective for retaining moisture and heat. We're also told that many people have reported that their physical condition has improved by repeatedly entering both baths.

The open-air bath, where you can bathe while looking up at the sky, is flowing with Ogon no Yu for 100% of the source. There are also deck chairs nearby for resting.

The outdoor bath for Kuroyu Onsen is a cool water bath with a spring temperature of 19℃. By switching between this and the warm baths, we're told that it's possible to activate your skin cells.

Besides getting your fill of the various baths, such as the open-air bath, the bath house also offers plenty of enjoyment after you leave the bath in such forms as a tatami resting area and massage chairs. We guarantee the time will just fly by. We recommend having plenty of extra time when you visit.

In the daytime, bright sunlight pours into this pristine bathroom. The shower in the washing area is equipped with a head spa function.

Experience even more healing by using the massage chairs when you leave the bath.

At the resting area in front of the counter, you can relax while gazing at a tasteful garden.

Inside the facility, a bedrock bath for ladies (1,300 yen to enter the bath and use the bedrock bath) and a sauna (400 yen) are also equipped.

The homemade hot spring-cooked eggs, boiled in the waters of Kuroyu Onsen, are 50 yen apiece.

Bottled cafe au lait, the standard drink for after baths (130 yen), is sold, along with lemon soda (100 yen), an old-time classic.

"Musashi-Koyama Onsen Shimizu Yu"
3-9-1 Koyama, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo Phone: 03-3781-0575 Hours: 12 PM - 12 AM (from 8 AM on Sundays) Closed: Mondays (open on holidays) Access: 5-minute walk from Musashi-Koyama Station (Tokyu Meguro Line) Bath Entrance Fee: 450 yen for adults