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.
Closure Update*These are the ones I noticed over the last few months. Sadly, there may be more.
Daikoku-yu, Kobe. Owner passed away. Lovely couple too. So sad.
Tachibana-yu, Kobe. https://youtu.be/zp5Db-6RBtE
Shinmachi Onsen, Kawanishi, Hyogo. Never got to visit this one. Sad.
Kureba-yu, Ikeda, Osaka Pref.
Takatsuki Kashida Onsen, Osaka Pref. This was a hot spring in a city run forest park. I went to once but never put it on the site. The facility was damaged in a typhoon back in 2018 and never re-opened.
Nov 4, 2021
Huge update here. 46 new sento but sadly a bunch of closures too.
New Reviews Added
Two new places in Mie. Great, friendly retro sento in Matsusaka plus Yasuragi no Yu in Tsu that has one of the best springs I've experienced. It's going on the top ten list when I finally write those.
Near Tsuyama in Okyayama Pref. is Setogawa Onsen. A great cold radon spring. Really outstanding but more of a hot summer day place.
Ebisu-yu in Kurashiki is a living history sento worth checking out.
I live near Itami, Hyogo but only now got to Tachibana Onsen. What a pleasant surprise.
The other Hana no Yu outlet in Himeji is not worth it.
Kami Town up on the Japan Sea coast has a day use hot spring which got remodeled just after my visit. Nice view from the rotenburo.
Two places in Moriguchi, Osaka. This town has a bunch of well maintained sento.
Ikkyu's main facility in Jōyō, Kyoto (near Uji) is very fancy but the baths are meh.
Kyotango, Kyoto up on the Japan Sea coast has a great day use hot spring called Hanayuumi. Worth including in a day trip.
Hana no Yu is a supersento in the center of Kyoto but there are so many good sento in the area, I don't see the appeal while Magobashi-yu near Sanjyō is the smallest sento I've experienced.
Maizuru's two historic sento, Hinode-yu and Waka no Yu, are well worth the trip.
Near Amanohashidate in Yosano Town is Kuahouse Iwataki. They have a pool.... with a slide!
Two hotels with day use available for their hot springs, Nara Park Hotel and the Kampo-no-Yado in Yamato Heguri. First one is so-so. Second is a hidden gem.
Shimamoto Town, Osaka has a single lovely retro sento, Showa-yu. Worth checking out after a hike.
The Tonda area of Takatsuki, Osaka is an interesting place to walk around and home to Settsu Onsen a great sento.
The Gokuraku-yu outlets in HigashiOsaka and Sakai both are pretty good. The former is only ¥490 and boasts a surprisingly good spring while the latter has some super-strong jet and a good spring. These two raised the image of the chain for me.
Hōtoku-yu in HigashiOsaka is another well maintained modern Osaka sento. Loved the radon bath.
In the Ikuno and Higashinari wards of Osaka, I went to six new sento. Mostly great places but Megane Onsen and New Kiyotake Onsen stand out as the ones to try in the area.
Senjyu Onsen is down near Tanabe station on the subway in Higashisumiyoshi Ward. Good place with a ton of white marble! Felt like Las Vegas in there.
Three new reviews for Nishinari Ward. Tamamizu Onsen being the best for its superb herb steam sauna.
In Minato and Taisho wards I added three new reviews. Interesting places but nothing worth going out of your way for.
Found a place near Tennma I had not been to. Club Onsen has a really unique and open design. Great to know it is in the area.
Kotobuki Onsen in Joto Ward is in walking distance from the Kyobashi area and highly recommended.
Hanaten Station is another center for great sento. Shin-Asahi just across the border in Tsurumi Ward keeps up this reputation.
Okumoto Onsen is a calm and relaxing place near the new-ish Aeon Hanakita Mall in Sakai.
Toyonaka's Shichifuku Onsen is hidden in a residential area and a great option near Kanzakigawa Station.
In Wakayama Prefecture I tried out two supersento. Takara no Yu in Gobō and Kiraku-yu in Hashimoto. Both were without natural hot springs and neither worth making a trip for but good options in their areas.
Kainan's sento are amazing. Went to the two retro Taishō-yu and Takara-yu both worth checking out along with the historical district.
Yuasa Town in Wakayama has a municipal bath called Hōei-yu. Interesting design from the outside, basic and clean on the inside.