Ryūgū Onsen is a well-equipped neighbourhood sentō not far from Nijō Castle. Most of the facilities are fairly stock-standard, however the jacuzzi with its minuscule bubbles is worth a mention. The tiny bubbles are said to cleanse the pores. The nearby Nijō Castle grounds are popular with runners, and this public bath is one of the spots where many come afterwards to rinse off their sweat.
This relatively simple sentō front far from the Horikawa-Gojō intersection is surprisingly popular. On most nights the baths are filled well, something not all neighborhood sentō see anymore. It’s popularity might be explained by its state of maintenance. While simple, the bath house is kept in good repair and the owners take cleanliness very seriously.
As one of the few public baths in Kyoto, Hakusan-yu Takatsuji features round bath tubs, one deep and one shallow. While fairly unique, they are not entirely practical. A round tub accommodates less people at the time than a square one would. Hakusan-yu Takatsuji features a medicinal (and herb) bath with daily changing herbs. The have a collection of 13 different herbs and other ingredients, including rosemary, lavender and olive that they cycle through in the same order.
Daikoku-yu is located in the heart of Gion, Kyoto’s Geisha district. Whether the Geisha bathe here is a mystery, as is everything else surrounding these white-faced creatures. Perhaps the biggest clue that the Geisha do, or at least did bathe here is the size of the bathing areas. The women’s baths at Daikoku-yu are more spacious than the men’s side.
Kinugasa Onsen is housed in a nondescript concrete building, like you see anywhere in Japan. The family that runs it though have been running a bath house at this location since the Edo-era. It is still a popular place for the locals to meet and for tourists to get a sense of what Japanese bath houses are all about.
Like every sentō, this bath house has its own unique selling point: a cold sauna. Cool down in this icy cold room before dipping into one of the hot tubs. It is a very pleasant sensation.