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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Modern Inaka: Sento


Frank Lloyd Wright was strongly influenced by Japanese spatial arrangements and the concept of interpenetrating exterior and interior space, long achieved in Japan by opening up walls made of sliding doors


This sento( public bath house) you are looking at is one of many such styles of communal bathing houses you can see sprouting up all over the countryside here in Japan.   Slowly fading away are the old brick and wooden public bath houses that use coal furnaces to heat the water.


It’s been over a quarter of a century now since the Japanese have  started  blending late post modern European architecture with Japanese aesthetics, and it’s paying off with very nicely designed sento like this one.


Space comes at a premium price here in Japan, so every cubic centimeter counts.  This sento makes use of every space and blends nature in with its spatial design very naturally.  You can see stone, water, wood and snow.


The milky or mineral rich onsen is rich in sulfur which, as of late, is not popular with modern young people from the major cities, as sulfur tends to leave a pungent smell on the skin for days, or even weeks.

For those of us who are mature enough and who can appreciate the therapeutic value of a real Japanese onsen, the sulfur shouldn’t be a problem.  Sulfur has been used to treat a myriad of  skin diseases and other such ailments for centuries.

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