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Have a royal time after the bath
In the past sento used to be places where everyone in town would go. Thus they were typically large structures, not to mention lavishly decorated.
Teikokuyu, established in Higashi Nippori in 1916, is one such sento. Even now its tiled roof and large entrance curtain give it an imposing air. The main building was reconstructed in 1953, but the garden remains in its original state. The garden is surrounded by the main building, creating breezy ventilation that makes air conditioning unnecessary even in summer. It is also a pleasant place to sit after a bath, admiring the seasonal flowers.
The bathroom ceiling is a lofty ten meters high. In the early afternoon, when sun shines through the glass windows and reflects on the tiles, the whole area has a refreshing open feel. A high ceiling like this draws hot steam higher and higher towards it.
Moisture remaining on the body after the bath disappears on the spot, so even if there are many people bathing and sweating, a state of cleanliness is maintained.
The water temperature is rather high at 46℃ . It can be cooled by adding extra water, but some regulars complain that they’ll catch a cold. It is generally recommended to warm up thoroughly in the water, then gradually cool down afterwards. Go and shogi (Japanese chess) sets are available, and the fridge is well-stocked with milk and other refreshments. This sento is one you go to not only to have a bath, but for relaxing in afterwards as well.
Photography / Tomoya Takai Text / JQR