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.
Kashida Onsen in Takatsuki. Super hot spring up in the mountains. Typhoon damage.
Yodogawa Onsen near HigashiMikuni Station.
Sawai-yu in Asahi-ku. Only went once but liked it.
Yu~raku in Juso. Costs became too high.
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.
June 3, 2022
It's been more than half a year since my last update. In that time I have completed writing a thesis and with that finished a master's degree! I would often visit cafes to study and write then hit up a sento on the way home. This study and sento pattern led to a ton of new places in this update but also delayed this update.
There are so many places in this update of 77 new places it's hard to comment on all of them here but below are a few of the many, many highlights.
I've found some amazing retro places like Mukaijima-yu and Takara Onsen in Kyoto, or Masa no Yu and Mandai-yu in Osaka. Sakura-yu in Kusatsu shows that having a cold well can be just as good as a hot one. Deshiro Onsen in Nishinari-ku and Sakae-yu in Ikuno-ku reminded me not to judge a sento from the outside. If you are looking for a natural hot spring experience, I have two recommendations in this update. First, the remodeled/reopened Shigi no Yu in Sangō Village, a rural area in the mountains between Nara and Osaka, is offering up some great natural hot-spring water and close up views of the planes making their final turns to land at Itami Airport. Further away, Kumatori Onsen in Shingu, Wakayama is a hot-spring hotel that was affordable and friendly while also having a superb spring that you can drink! Lastly, you've got to check out Suehiro Onsen in Hirano-ku if you love really hot baths and interesting signs.
There are also more than a few closures in this update. Yu~raku near Juso being a big one, but also Saiwai in Asahi-ku. For those sento that closed, I wish their owners happiness and health in their retirement.
While the COVID-19 situation is in flux, maintaining additional manners is still the thoughtful thing to do. Please keep on masking in the changing rooms and abiding by 黙浴 (silent bathing) requests as much as possible. Also remember that many sento have changed their operation schedules. Please confirm the information here with resources like Google Maps or, even better, make a phone call to confirm.
As always thanks for checking out the site! I hope you find it helpful as you explore the many great sento here in Kansai.