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Monday, October 3, 2022

Japanese bath houses find new ways to stay afloat

Japanese bathhouses are closing quickly but some such as Inariyu have been given a new lease on life through renovations, drawing younger customers.

TOKYO: Just before it opens each afternoon, elderly residents gather outside one of Tokyo’s last remaining old-style bath houses carrying flannels, soap and shampoo for their regular soak.

With its communal naked tubs, bright mural of Mount Fuji and sliding wooden entrance under a pointed roof, Inariyu is a classic example of a Japanese public bath, or sento.

Once ubiquitous in crowded urban areas, sentos are now closing quickly as more people take baths at home and owners struggle with faltering machinery, high gas prices and a lack of successors, tempting them to…

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