Unique use of Kyoto bathhouses

1. Reflecting Kyoto’s unique culture, the sento (public bathhouse) is often used as a performance venue.

2. Nishikiyu is well-known for holding Nishiki Yukai Yose. This is a popular rakugo (comical storytelling) event hosted by the famed rakugo performer Ensho Shofukutei, who has fans in the United States. Other events such as musical performances and used book fairs are also held from time to time.

3. Funaoka Onsen is famous for its interior, which has been registered as a tangible cultural asset. Once you enter the dressing room or the bathroom, you encounter many fabulous carvings that depict various auspicious occasions. These carvings were created by a single artist over a period of 10 years. More than 70 years after completion, they still watch over the bathers.

4. Sarasa Nishijin is a café in a renovated 80-year-old bathhouse. The exterior of the shop looks like an old-fashioned traditional Japanese sento while the interior is decorated with made-in-Japan majolica tiles that give it a quaint look. It is so comfortable that you could spend hours here — while not feeling dizzy at all like you would at a regular sento!

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