Sanjiro Minato

Beautiful design, such as old accessories and retro architecture. Invitation to a different space, such as if beyond time and space. SENTO(Bathhouse,public bath) be attracted attention in recent years in many cases. However, most of them are like special events for us, it is not daily. Speaking of scene that we go to SENTO, when you took a friend who visited Kyoto sightseeing, or when you stop by on the way back that was hiking around the city. Everyone of us were thinking this way, the daily of SENTO is the place for that old man of the tenement residence without a bath at home.


When we met him, he was introduced  himself  “sento activist”, it was very odd and funny title even for me,Japanese. His name is Sanjiro Minato, motto is this, “sento is usual place”, “sento is fashion”,  “sento is lifestyle”. He is a man who know all of the public bath in Kyoto city,  he is natural-born SENTO lover.  Also he has another face that his job is a fashion adviser,he is the regulars at the snap of fashion magazines. We tried to talk for that what of SENTO to attract him,  for the person who very fashionable and city boy like him.





 <Photo taken at KOTOBYKI YU 寿湯>

He began to move as activists was a student of Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. As the first president of SENTO circle, he went about bathing all the SENTO of the surrounding. There is a SENTO to more than 200 in the only Kyoto city, and knowing all of them.  “This SENTO and if filming of that movie” “There is a SENTO has bathhouse paintings” no fool for information about a maniac bathhouse indeed.

a part of SENTO memo from Sanjiro

—Curtain is hung at the entrance of each men and women,its a kyoto style. Osaka style is comes one peace of curtain.

—Most are using well water SENTO in Kyoto.

—Wall paintings of Mount Fuji as depicted east culture. The rarely seen in Kyoto. The carp are drawn to the bottom of the bathtub Kyoto style.



” I’m a sensation, such as drop in cafe.  In the doorstep, it can be a little relieved, SENTO I’m a place like that. Than the goodness of specs and beauty of modeling, it has been attracted to the feeling air of patrons and personality of the owner to make. Cultural property that has been existing together in the daily life, do you have the other? I want you to feel better more SENTO, for the younger generation, and that it will be cool style there.”

Also he is dreaming to make “SENTO lifestyle space”. There would be a place to meet nice goods for daily use, a place to presentation fashion, a place to feel new inspiration, whatever. Mixed with an atmosphere in the SENTO .

By using the sense of modern things good old, such as going to inherit naturally fused with art and fashion, a lovely movement. It’s feeling hybrid of Japanese culture is likely to proceed in the field of SENTO.


















 <Photo taken at HINODE-YU 日の出湯>





-Where is your favorite SENTO in Kyoto?

Goshiki-yu, Imomatsu-onsen, Asahi-yu is my favorite place, it’s super close from my house, go every day.  Funaoka onsen its famous for heavy construction and retro interior and Nishiki-yu nearby to Nishiki Market are too standard to as  tourist destination, so I would recommend very rusticity SENTO. I chose those place for this interview also was a place where you can enjoy the local feeling.


 -Do you have any advice for traveler when they go to there?

Keep absolutely rules. Please check out basic bath rules before you visit. Does not break the atmosphere with SENTO is the key to enjoy more, say hello when you went on the porch.

THE RULES/Wash body before soak the bathtub/Take your shampoo and body soap/Don’t put in the bathtub your towel/Wipe off the body before you go to dress room/etc


-How do you spend your holiday?

Go to SENTO! Also I love traveling around ,the plan always started from which SENTO should I go… In Kyoto I like to strolling with my bicycle, always keep in mind to go small street because its funny to lost my way, isn’t it.  The shop I go frequently is Inperial(used&vintage close), Romantica(antique shop), Dabadaba(cafe)and Ichimian(izakaya) .


-Where do you guide your friends in Kyoto tourism?

Around Keihan st.chushojima is nice for tourist. It’s gonna be fun to walk around shopping street or visit Sake factories. There are good SENTO such as Takara-yu, Shinchi-yu because its water is very clear.




























Sanjiro Minato

SENTO activist, living in Kyoto. SENTO in Kyoto, of course, travel to seek public bath nationwide. To tell SENTO culture to young people mission. It is also a fashion addict unrivaled.

-more info

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Kyoto SENTO site Artistic view naked


interview&text:Miho Yamamoto

photo: Ryoma Otuska


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