If you’re visiting Japan and are looking for a unique and relaxing experience, a visit to a super sento (スーパー銭湯) is a must-do activity. These bathhouses, also known as hot springs, are a part of Japanese culture and offer a range of services, including bathing, saunas, massages, and more. In this blog post, we will explain what a super sento is, what to expect during a visit, and some of the best super sento locations in Japan.
What is a super sento?
A super sento is a large public bathhouse that typically features a variety of baths, such as indoor and outdoor baths, sauna rooms, and steam rooms. They are similar to regular sento (銭湯), which are smaller and more basic bathhouses, but super sento typically offer more amenities and services.
Super sento are usually open to both men and women, but the bathing areas are segregated by gender. In addition to bathing, super sento often offer other services such as restaurants, massage services, and relaxation rooms.
What to expect during a visit?
When you arrive at a super sento, you will need to pay an admission fee, which typically ranges from 500 to 1000 yen. After paying, you will be given a wristband with a locker key, which you can use to store your clothes and belongings. You will also be given a small towel, which you can use to cover your private areas while walking around the bathhouse.
Before entering the bathing area, you will need to remove your shoes and store them in a locker. Then, you will enter the gender-segregated changing room, where you will undress and store your clothes and belongings in a locker.
Once you are naked, you can enter the bathing area. The baths are typically separated into indoor and outdoor areas, and each area may feature different types of baths such as hot, warm, or cold water. Some super sento also have themed baths, such as a bamboo bath or a milk bath.
In addition to the baths, super sento also feature saunas and steam rooms. These rooms are usually located in a separate area from the baths, and they can be a great way to relax and unwind after a long day.
After bathing, you can use the provided shampoo, conditioner, and body soap to wash and rinse off. Then, you can dry off and head back to the changing room, where you can get dressed and return the locker key and towel.
Best super sento locations in Japan
Oedo Onsen Monogatari – Tokyo
Located in the heart of Tokyo, Oedo Onsen Monogatari is one of the most popular super sento in Japan. It features a wide variety of baths and saunas, as well as restaurants and relaxation areas. The bathhouse is designed to look like a traditional Edo-era village, complete with cobblestone streets and wooden buildings.
Spa World – Osaka
Spa World is a massive super sento located in the city of Osaka. It features themed baths from around the world, including a Turkish bath, a Finnish sauna, and a Greek bath. The bathhouse also has a rooftop pool and an outdoor area with hot tubs and waterfalls.
Nagashima Spa Land – Mie
Nagashima Spa Land is an amusement park and hot spring resort located in Mie Prefecture, about an hour from Nagoya by train. The park features over 40 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water rides, and a Ferris wheel. The hot spring resort, known as Yuami no Shima, offers a variety of indoor and outdoor baths, saunas, and relaxation areas.
Gokurakuyu – All over Japan
Gokurakuyu is a super sento (スーパー銭湯) with hot springs, sauna, and relaxation areas. With a variety of facilities including hot springs, saunas, and relaxation areas, Gokurakuyu is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Unlike traditional hot springs, Gokuraku-yu often have a more modern and luxurious atmosphere with additional services such as restaurants, massages, and esthetic treatments.
If you are visiting Japan, a super sento is a unique and relaxing experience not to be missed. From the variety of baths and saunas to additional services such as massages and restaurants, super sento facilities offer something for everyone. No matter where you are in Japan, you are sure to find a super sento that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.