Traditional Japanese public baths, lovingly known as sento, are dwindling nationwide due to the shortage of successors as well as the increasing privatisation and consolidation of many small, independent bathhouses. To breathe new life into this Japanese tradition, lifestyle retailer Beams Japan has teamed up with manga artist Yamazaki Mari (‘Thermae Roma’ and ‘Pline’) and Cow Brand Soap Kyoshinsha to give the humble sento a modern, stylish makeover. Called ‘Sento no Susume’, the bathhouse rejuvenation project kicked off in 2019 to promote the culture of public baths to the younger generations.
For this year’s edition, Kotobuki Yuu, a local bathhouse in Higashi-Ueno, has been transformed with a new, contemporary mural and noren (traditional Japanese fabric curtains) designed by Yamazaki Mari. The bold black and white illustration combines the iconic Mt Fuji with Olympic sports and ancient Roman characters.
In the meantime, Beams Japan stores in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, are hosting pop-ups, offering sento merchandise designed by Yamazaki as well as limited-edition Cow Soap bath goods.
Kotobuki Yuu will feature the new art mural and refreshed design until September 15. Entrance will set you back a mere ¥470.
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