Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yamato Onsen - Well Beyond her Prime

What is remarkable about Yamato Onsen?

It is one of the few surviving onsen, dating back to Showa 2, about 81 years, so we are offered a glimpse into the public bathing experience when Japanese commonly used them, probably until about 30 years ago.

This has one of the smallest onsen bathing areas with only eight washing faucets in the men's pool area. The wall facing the sliding door from the changing room is a tiled, European, mosaic landscape with a snow-capped mountain, a green hillside, a lake with a sail boat, and white houses with brown, tiled roofs.

A ceramic, lion head orifice empties hot water into the 'electric' bath which is probably 20 cm. wider than most, at about 100 cm. When submerged equally between the two electric nodes, only a tingle is present but if you move closer to either node, the intensity increases. I mention this because this 'electric' bath offers a means to vary the intensity since it is wider.

The water temperature of the main baths seems to be about 40.5 or 41 degrees C (about 105 F) which is a 'pleasant' temperature, conducive to soaking for 10-minute periods. The proprietor includes neither a sand timer nor a temperature gage but this steam (wet) sauna feels much, much hotter than most onsen saunas and one soon perspires after entering.


1 comment:

Professor Merryman said...

The kama (furnace) broke this week. This sento is closing. So sad.