I Love ゆ
湯 (ゆ/yu) means hot water in Japanese. Bathing in natural hot springs is done throughout the world wherever the geothermal situation has allowed springs to develop. Japan is fortunate to have springs located across the nation and a culture of bathing has grown up around them from the beginning of history.
In Japan bathing is a national pastime and an attraction for tourists from around the world. Bathers have a choice from remote springs in the mountains to grand hotels. This site focuses primarily on the area around Osaka called Kansai. Information on local sento (銭湯) bathhouses, the larger more commercial supersento (スーパー銭湯), and other less classifiable hot springs. Some of these locations just use the municipal water, some augment their water with radon gas or water softeners (軟水), lastly some have wells or springs that fill tubs with groundwater.
I began going to hot springs while at university in the United States and found it the best therapy for my upper back pain and mental health issues. Since moving to Japan, I have also found bathing as a great stress reliever and conduit to explore the country.
February 7, 2021
Some older links might be broken. Having Japanese characters in the URLs was creating issues, so I rearranged all of the pages and fixed the URLs. I am also trying to put in the long vowel markers on new reviews. Some words like sento or common place names like Osaka will be kept the same, however.
New Reviews Added
A bunch of baths in Osaka city in this update. Ogon-yu, Tachibana-yu, and Shōchiku Onsen are three sento in Hirano-ku. Ogon-yu has a keyhole shaped outdoor bath that looked really nice but is broken and closed. Hondō-yu, Shirataki Onsen, New Miyoshi-yu are three more in Asahi-ku. Thanks to the JR HigashiOsaka Line completion connecting Hanaten to Shin-Osaka to opening up access to this area. Hondō-yu has some of the best tile art murals I have seen while Shirataki has a very unique bath design. Taishō-yu in Taishō-ku was an amazing living history sento, highly recommended. Tatsumi Onsen in Sumiyoshi-ku is my first bath in this ward and quite a unique place. Only my second review from Tsurumi-ku, Shichifuku Onsen has a top-5 best cold water bath in the city for how it is filled by a tall, wide waterfall. Shin-Akebono Onsen in Ikuno-ku is another sento that is a strong all around example of what a sento can be.
In Osaka Prefecture there were a few new places. We made it to Yukai no Yu in Neyagawa for the first time since the ownership change and hot spring reconnection. This was a favorite of ours back in the day and it has only gotten better with a climbing wall and all you can drink soda water. Suishun - Higashikōri, also in Neyagawa was a place I think I have been to before but did not write a review so we went back. Like all Suishun outlets, this was a quality supersento with a good, very noticeable natural spring. Another supersento in the area with a surprisingly good natural spring was the Gokuraku-yu outlet in Hirakata. Besides the natural hot spring, there is a top-notch cold water bath here. Coming back from a hike Asahi-yu in Sakai was a great sento in a very useful location if your hiking off the Nankai Kōya Line. Lastly, Ponpoko Onsen in HigashiOsaka has a cute name and an interesting design, but I think you should avoid this one.
In Hyogo Prefecture there are only a few places I have not been to which remain. Higashi-yu is a lovely very family friendly sento in Akashi. Take no Yu Onsen in Miki looked beautiful on the outside, but was somewhat disappointing on the inside. This was a bummer as there is not much else in the area.
Two places in Kyoto Prefecture. Hijirone is a middling supersento far away from any train station in far south Kyoto city. The hand painted murals and jet baths were cool, but not really worth going out of the way for a trucked in hot spring. Nagaokakyō has a single public bathing facility and it is the municipal Fureai no Yu. Small but nice enough with some good shower heads.
Changes and Closures
Gokuraku-yu in Nara closed. Not surprised.