Glossary (Phrase list) >> Onsen, Sento

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Onsen, Sento (public bath)


 Terms of Japanese public bath 


  It's said that the Japanese public bath began when temples let people use the baths for the monks in the ancient times.  Then, common baths came to be placed out of the temples.  We still enjoy public bathing at the places called Koshu-yokujo and Kyodo-yokujo.

  When you hear the word of Sento, that means "paid bath".


Koshu-yokujo: 公衆浴場 means "public bath".

Kyodo-yokujo: 共同浴場 means "communal bath".


Sento 銭湯:  When Japan began to modernize in the early 20C, only limted numbers of houses had the bath and many ordinary people still went out daily to the neighboring public paid bathhouse called Sento.  銭 pronounced "sen" or "zeni like Zeniarai Benten Shrine" means money or payment.

  The number of Sento has been decreasing rapidly these days.


Super Sento スーパー銭湯: It's a new type of Sento that has various baths like steam-bath, hot stoned spa etc. in addition to the regular large bath.  Some of them are even installed dinning room and cut salon.

  While the simple Sento is declining, Super Sento is being popular and increasing.


Dai-yokujo:大浴場 means "large bath".  This term is also used for a large shared bath in accommodations.


= Note =

1) Users are required to share a big bathtub in the public bath.

2) Most places prepare the baths for men and women separated, but a few places provide a large bathtub used by both gender together.

3) Some places allow the guests to enter those rooms with the swimwear on, but most places do not.

4) Usually, water in those shared baths is hot compared with western baths.


 Onsen hot spring 温泉 


  Onsen means hot springs.  We enjoy Onsen bathing at the above mentioned public baths mostly at many Onsen Resorts such as Hakone 箱根 etc. , while most of bathhouses and accommodations in many of the city have just hot water.

  Onsen water has various features such as chemical composition, temperature, liquidity (pH), color, smell, etc. depending on the place, which also has the different benefits for health and skin condition.


= overview =

* There are also Western-style Spa in Japan.  Some Super Sento and bathhouses in Onsen resorts are similar to that.  But more public baths are different from Spa and Japanese public baths are for cleaning and warming body first, rather than for relaxing.


 << Onsen in Kamakura>>

Inamuragasaki Onsen 稲村ケ崎温泉  (Jp)




Related page:"Jp Bath & Toilet" -Glossary-

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