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There was an extremely comfortable public bathhouse in Minato-ku, Tokyo! Learn how to enter a public bathhouse at Minami Aoyama Shimizu-yu's variety of baths!

Translated from Japanese by
When you come to Japan, you must experience a sento (public bathhouse) at least once. There are also sento in Minato Ward in central Tokyo, where you can fully enjoy the unique Japanese bathing culture. In this issue, we introduce Minamiaoyama Shimizu-yu, located in Minamiaoyama, a fashionable town in Minato-ku. We will guide you through the rich variety of baths and how to enter a sento.

Minami Aoyama Shimizuyu" has a history of over 100 years

Minami Aoyama Shimizu-yu is conveniently located in the heart of the city, just a 3-minute walk from Omotesando Station and just off Aoyama-dori. It is a popular public bathhouse visited by locals and people of all ages from far and wide. According to Masataka Okura, the fourth generation owner, its history is quite old.

According to Mr. Masataka Okura, the fourth generation owner, its history is quite old: ""It was already there when my grandmother, who was born in 1903, was born, so there is no doubt that it has a history of more than 100 years. There are no documents remaining as to when it was founded, but it may have been around since the Edo period.""

It was originally located in Sendagaya-mura (now Jingumae, Shibuya-ku) in the middle of Killer Street. Later, it moved to its current location in Minami-Aoyama due to the development of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. At the time, it was just an ordinary sento anywhere, but 15 years ago, Mr. Okura, the fourth generation owner, decided to renovate it into a sento with special attention to detail.

It was aging, and we thought about closing it down. But we never thought of closing it down again,"" he said. But if we stopped here, we would never be able to run a sento again. We thought it would be interesting to have a public bathhouse in Aoyama, so we decided to stick to the current facilities.

The renovated Minami Aoyama Shimizuyu is all about novelty. The guard stand has been replaced by a front desk and a rest area has been created to create a comfortable space. The most important feature is the quality of the spring water. All the water is soft water, and a highly concentrated carbonated spring and a silk bath have also been installed. The sauna also has a reputation for being gentle on the body because it provides ample steam. It became a driving force behind the public bathhouse boom. Now, during the sauna boom, it is so popular that on Saturdays and Sundays there is a waiting list of 60 people for a numbered ticket. With its full range of facilities, the bathhouse provides us with a relaxing time.

Recommendations for bathing in a variety of baths

Let's take a look at Minami Aoyama Shimizuyu's attractive bath facilities.

●All baths use soft water
Soft water is used for all bath water and water bath water. The advantages of soft water are as follows.
・Soft water washes hair and skin moistly and does not make the skin feel clammy after bathing.
・Soap and shampoo lather more easily, and less soap and shampoo is needed.
・Less irritation, so it is safe for people with sensitive or dry skin.
・Warms the body well and does not get cold easily.
・Ion balance is close to that of sodium hot springs, which are generally known as "beauty water."
● Hot water for rinsing one's mouth

Use before taking a bath or before a sauna. The water is soft, so it is gentle and smooth against the skin.
●Silk bath

The microscopic air bubbles massage the entire body while the emulsifying action of the milky white water cleanses deep into the pores. High moisturizing power makes the whole body beautiful. It stimulates metabolism and promotes good health.
●Highly concentrated artificial carbon dioxide spring

This hot water contains carbon dioxide gas dissolved as fine bubbles. In addition to improving blood circulation, it is less stressful on the body and highly effective in relieving fatigue. It warms the body from the core and maintains the thermal effect. The water is mildly acidic and gentle on the skin.
●Jet bath

This is a jet bath with three types of variations to choose from. The stimulation of the bubbles is pleasant and refreshes both your body and your mood.

The men's Comfort Sauna is steamy and low in temperature, making it gentle on the body. The women's Rocky sauna is warm and invigorating with far-infrared rays from the stones. The sauna is equipped with an automatic low ryū, so you can enjoy a peaceful bathing experience. Both men's and women's saunas are equipped with TVs.
● Water bath

Refreshing when used in combination with hot baths and saunas. The soft water provides moisture.
●Epsom salt baths

On Saturdays and Sundays, in collaboration with Nehan Tokyo, Epsom salt baths are held in the silk baths. Magnesium bathing will help you achieve beautiful skin.
●No need to bring anything
You can take a bath with nothing since a hand-held set (320 yen), rental towels (bath towel/face towel 310 yen), and colored towels (260 yen) are provided.

● Amenities and original goods

In addition to towels, etc., pumice stone, lotion, hairbrush, razor, socks, and pants are also available. Be sure to check out the Minami Aoyama Shimizuyu original stickers and other items!
●Beer of the owner's choice

From left to right: "Hoegaarden White" 800 yen, "Malt Gut Duvel" 1,100 yen

Beer is also available after bathing. In addition to Japanese beers, there are two Belgian beers recommended by the owner, Mr. Okura.
●Rest room

Benches and tables are placed behind the front desk. You can have a soft drink or beer and rest your body after taking a bath.

It's not complicated! Guide on how to enter a public bathhouse

Even if it is your first time to enter a public bathhouse, it is not difficult. Here is a guide on how to enter a public bathhouse.
(1) Take off your shoes at the entrance and put them in the footwear box.

Do not lose your locker key.
(2) Hand over the bathing fee or bathing ticket at the guard stand or front desk.

Sento (public bathhouses) have two types of reception areas: bandai-style and front desk-style. Most bandai-style bathhouses have separate entrances for men's and women's baths.
Fees are paid at the front desk or at the bandai. Depending on the bathhouse, you can either pay in cash or purchase a ticket from a ticket vending machine and hand it in at the front desk. In most cases, saunas are charged separately.
Here are the bathing fees for public bathhouses in Tokyo
Adults (12 years and older) 500 yen (tax included)
Middle-aged (6 to 12 years old [elementary school students]): 200 yen (tax included)
Children (under 6 years old (preschool children)) 100 yen (tax included)
(3) Take off your clothes in the changing room.

After passing through the door of the men's or women's bath, take off your clothes in the changing room. Bathing with pants on or in a bathing suit is not allowed. Take off all of your clothes. After placing your clothes and luggage in the locker, be sure to lock the lock and wrap the key around your wrist before going to the bathroom.
(4) Pouring hot water over the bathtub

Washing area

When you enter the bathroom, the first thing to do is to splash yourself with hot water. It is an ironclad rule to rinse yourself in the washing area before and after taking a bath in the tub. Fill a tub with hot water and cover your head or take a shower to remove dirt. The purpose of kakeyu is to acclimate the body to the hot water. It is recommended that you wash your body before getting into the bathtub. For those who take a bath without washing their bodies, please use kakeyu to thoroughly remove dirt and grime.
(5) take a bath

Bathe in the bathtub. Avoid soaking long hair in the hot water and avoid putting towels in the bathtub. Traditionally, the water in most public bathhouses is hot, but if you cannot tolerate it, ask the person taking the bath if you can dilute the water with water.

Appropriate bathing time is 5 to 10 minutes for hot water and about 20 minutes for warm water. The standard time is about the amount of sweat coming out of the forehead. After you are well warmed up, wash your body in the washroom. Many kalans have separate hot and cold water, so adjust the hot water in the tub as you use it. When showering, make sure that the hot water does not splash onto the person next to you.
(6) wear clothes

When returning from the bathroom to the changing room, wipe your wet body with a towel. Remove water from your feet with a mat as well. After wiping your body with a towel, put on your clothes. There is a hair dryer in the changing rooms so you can dry your hair. Make sure you have not forgotten anything before leaving.
(7) Rehydrate

You sweat a lot while bathing. Before and after bathing, use a vending machine or other means to replenish your fluids.

Check out other public bathhouses in Minato-ku.

Check out other public bathhouses in Minato-ku besides Minamiaoyama Shimizu-yu.
Hours: 15:30-22:00
Closed: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, temporarily closed
Hours: 15:30-23:30
Closed: Mondays, Fridays
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 15:00-23:00, Sun-Holiday 14:00-23:00
*January 2: 9:00-13:00
Closed: Mondays (if Mondays fall on January 2, January 5, May 5, and the third Monday in September, they will be transferred to the following day), year-end and New Year holidays (January 1, January 3, January 4)
There was a public bath in the center of Minato Ward, and it was fully equipped. Experiencing the sento culture in the middle of Tokyo is also a memory of your trip. Why don't you visit a public bath in Minato Ward?
Opening hours: Weekdays 12:00-24:00 (last entry 23:30), Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 12:00-23:00 (last admission 22:30)
Closed: Fridays
* Due to congestion on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, we do not offer changing clothes or luggage storage for running use.

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