Kentaro Imai - sento and design
A really enjoyable piece recently in Time Out Tokyo featured an interview with architect Kentaro Imai whose mission has been to revitalise Tokyo’s public bathing culture.
One of the pleasures of going to Japan is a visit to the Onsen or the Sento. The Onsen is a natural hot spring bath whereas the Sento is a heated water public bathhouse. Recently there has been a surge in so-called “super sentos”, which are large facilities with multiple baths but sometimes little character. Imai has dedicated his career to drawing people back to the small, neighbourhood, family-run sentos with his creative and thoughtful designs.
Most Japanese houses have one bathroom which everyone shares and if you ever stay in Tokyo, especially in an Air BnB, where 6 or more people share one bathroom, remember there is normally a local sento to relieve some of the pressure!
A favourite of ours is Atami-yu in the lovely Kagurazaka neighbourhood which still has a wood fired boiler to heat the water.