Japanese Culture

What is a Super Sento?

A sento is a public bath. Not to be confused with onsen, which is a natural hot spring.

A super sento is a very large health spa.

They offer many facilities other than hot baths, such as restaurants, hairdressers, cafes, and massage.

At a super sento, you’ll enjoy a variety of whirlpool baths, steam baths, and open-air baths.

Many will offer a variety of sauna rooms at various temperatures and humidity.

And some will even have a cold room for you to cool off after the sauna.

Enjoying a super sento is easy:

Take off your shoes, get a key (usually on a wristband), and change in the locker room (using the locker for the key).

Then you’re free to explore.

Some sophisticated super sento will use your wristband to pay for facilities within the sento. 

You’ll simply walk around and buy food, drinks, massages, etc. using your wristband.

Then pay at the end.

And lookout for the gift shop. Many super sento have unique souvenirs you can only buy there.

Perfect for taking home and showing off your experiences in Japan.


Public bathing at the onsen is by no means a recent phenomenon in Japanese culture. References in the Kogiji—the oldest extant chronicle in Japan—show that Japanese have been bathing in the hot springs for well over a thousand years, and there are many historical accounts of feudal lords having their own favourite onsen spots (kakushiyu) where they may have let their samurai bathe after battle (the onsen has long been known for its healing qualities). —Japanistry

Once you’ve boiled as long as you can stand it (beware of fainting from the heat), head back to the locker room and retrieve your pajamas. Now you can rejoin any companions of the opposite sex and explore the other facilities together. You can grab a drink in the bar, a snack in the restaurant, dabble your feet in the rooftop footbaths, or take a nap in the warm relaxation room – essentially a low-temperature sauna where you get to keep your clothes on. —UnmissableTokyo

Rooted in Japanese tradition, bath houses are still very much a part of daily living here, although sadly we’re seeing more and more closing down since modern homes are now equipped with baths. Still, no-one’s going to dispute the absolute heaven of stepping into a steaming healing bath, especially in the middle of winter. —TimeoutTokyo

It’s no secret that Japan is one of the most seismically active places on Earth. But this is also a good thing when you take one of the country’s most valuable assets into consideration: the Onsen, which is Japanese for hot spring. You can find hot springs all over Japan, and indeed whole towns have been known to capitalize off of their proximity to the geothermal boilers. —MoreThanRelo

Here’s the largest super sento in the Kanto region of Japan