The best public bath you can feel Japanese Sento style in Kyoto through its appearance.
Text : Hiroki Hayashi / Photo : Tamami Tsukui
There are about 120 public baths in Kyoto City nowadays. There is one that has the most Japanese bath style appearance out of all those baths and I think it is Eiseiyu. I published ‘Kyoto Gokuraku Sento tour guide’ which shows about 50 recommended Kyoto public baths and I chose a photo of Eiseiyu for the front cover.
It is about 5 minutes to get to Eiseiyu by walking up north from Shimogamo-jinja Shrine which is registered as a cultural site of world heritage. Once you get off Shimgamo main street, you will see a street with a tofu store and old restaurant on the sides with trees around.
An arched pine tree covers up at the entrance above the gate and I see Kyoto style 2 curtains divided to man and woman right in front of the building which was built in 1928.
I feel already a sense of elegance at this gate, and moreover I see a pond that has big carps swimming around after the gate. As a matter of fact, the approach to the building is actually a stone bridge that is crossing above the pond and when I stand on top of the bridge, I definitely feel like I am in the exquisite traditional Japanese garden.
The second owner, Yoshie Nishida, runs this Eiseiyu. She welcomes you cheerfully all the time and you are going to feel like you visit your relatives home or something.
She didn’t like me to take a picture of her portrait, but she allowed me to do it with her daughter and also her beloved dog, Larti in front of their shop curtains.
The reason I took this photo was that the attractiveness of Japanese public bath is mostly relying on its owner, so I really needed to. I should thank them more I guess. I see Japanese flower arrangement casually at a dressing room and also a seasonal decoration around. This is why I really love Eiseiyu that has thoughtfulness from owner and her daughter here.
Now, I have to get myself inside the bath room right? I needed to wait till their opening time and I totally enjoyed the bath with regular customers, and I am really sure that taking a bath in an early and bright time is totally amazing.
I see the oasis of the city in the space that has a sunlight of afternoon through a steam releasing filter. They use underground water here, and going back and forth between hot and cold baths, it will give you a great joy and relaxation perfectly. You can take some underground water through cold bath back home in a plastic bottle. I can see that a Japanese public bath in Kyoto has amazing high quality through it.
After taking a bath, I drunk a cold coffee milk straightly. I went outside in a refreshed feeling and now I see my favorite garden again. There is a sign saying, “We have it today” which means that we are open today. I hope that I can see this sign forever and ever.
ADDRESS : 1 Shimogamo Kashiwabe-cho Sakyo-ku Kyoto City (MAP)
PHOTO : +81(0)75-781-0744
HOURS : 3:00 p.m. ~ 11:00 p.m.
CLOSED : Monday