What is Sento?
Sento (銭湯) is a public bathhouse in Japan. Sen (銭) means money, and To (湯) means hot water. If you pay the fee (460 yen in Tokyo), You can enjoy various big bathtubs and relax.
Sento is different from Onsen, hot springs, and runs on tap water (Some sentos have baths with natural hot springs water, though). Unlike onsen, sento can be found everywhere within walking distance from where you live or stay. In Tokyo, there are around 650 sentos.
Though a lot of residents have their own baths today, quite a few people still enjoy sento to get relaxed in a big bathtub or to enjoy interactions with friends, family members, and even strangers.
What is Sento Society (銭湯同好会) ?
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Sento Society (東京外国語大学銭湯同好会, Tokyo Gaikokugo Daigaku Sento Dokokai) was founded in June, 2014 by three sento lovers.
As of July, 2016, we have around 30 members and enjoy sento in various ways such as visiting sento together and sharing information on sento.
We also have two major goals as follows,
1. To encourage young people to visit sento.
2. To spread sento around the world.
The number of sentos is dramatically decreasing these days. The speed is so fast that one sento is driven out of business per week.
The main reason for this decrease might be that a lot of residents have their own baths today. Especially the younger generations have had no chance to use sento because they have had a bathroom in their house since they were born.
We have set the first goal "to encourage young people to visit sento" in order to help them become familiar with sento and experience the healing, refreshing power of big bathtubs and realize its value.
The second goal has been set as "to spread sento around the world," considering that we are based at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, where many students study foreign languages or cultures.
There are cultural differences around the world concerning bathing. Some of you may not be familiar with the idea of the public bath.
We are planning to introduce sento in other languages so that people from all over the world should get acquainted with sento, one of the Japanese cultures.
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Sento Society put a high value on feeling attractions of sento and showing them to the young and the world.
Click here for the annual plan.