Sento Mapp Release

The Ultimate Guide to Sento in Arakawa

Spend a day relaxing at Tokyo’s sento hub

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors

Time Out Tokyo has released the first edition of ‘The Ultimate Guide to Sento in Arakawa’ guidemap, featuring a whopping 22 bathhouses, all located in this small neighbourhood. Aside from the sento, we’ve also highlighted notable shops, eateries and activities you can visit before or after a relaxing bath session.

Teikoku-yu's gorgeous wooden architecture immediately distinguishes this venerable bathhouse from your average neighbourhood sento. In business for over a century, it's seen all sorts of visitors over the years; a bird once made it into one of the tubs, but escaped with ruffled feathers after encountering the 43°C water. 

Boasting a vaguely castle-like entrance, a certifiably retro interior and almost 70 years of history, Yamato-yu is a real blast from the past, where the basic but comfy baths are kept steamy with a wood-burning boiler. A resident turtle hangs out in the tiny garden on the men’s side. 

It's one of the least modern bathhouses around – think push-button taps instead of showers – but Unsuisen has plenty to see for art buffs. The highlight is a vivid twin mural that features Mt Fuji on the men's side and the Yatsugatake peaks on the women's, painted by the late great sento mural master Toshimitsu Hayakawa. 

Established in 1951, Ume no Yu turned a corner 65 years later when it reopened as a certifiably modern, almost spa-like shrine to relaxation equipped with an enviable variety of baths. We love the trendy and colourful noren curtains, towels and T-shirts – and they have craft beer, too.

The already high entertainment factor of an okonomiyaki meal gets turned up to eleven at this dinosaur-themed joint, where paintings of prehistoric beasts stare at you from the walls, the menu features dishes such as ‘Edmontosaurus’ and ‘Pteranodon’, and the owner, when in the right mood, treats unsuspecting diners to a mechanised ‘dinosaur show’. 

The map includes comments from Ume No Yu’s third generation manager, Kurita Naofumi, and Tokyo Sento Inc.’s CEO, Shotaro Hino, sharing their thoughts on Arakawa’s sento culture. Get a copy of this guide map now at tourist information centres in Tokyo, Haneda airport, Narita airport, and Time Out Cafe & Diner.

    You may also like
    You may also like