The Setouchi Sauna Club is a group of people who originally gathered in a paid online community and wanted to do something to contribute to the local sauna scene. They propose events and projects to facilities, and create videos for them. These members came up with the idea of a “sento” tour in Hiroshima.
Public baths in Hiroshima are known for their "three-tiered bathtubs”. It is so rare in Japan that some tourists come all from far away to visit for this reason. In Tomonoura, Fukuyama, there is a public bathhouse with a sauna and mixed bathing for men and women, which is rare in Japan, taking advantage of its location in the Seto Inland Sea.
In this tour, we will introduce you to public baths where you can fully enjoy "Hiroshima-ness" in one night and two days.
Heisei Iroha Maru
Travel time : 5 minutes
While learning about the history of the area, take a ferry to the island.
A place associated with Ryoma Sakamoto where the Iroha Maru Incident occurred.
We took the Heisei Iroha Maru ferry from Tomonoura in Fukuyama to Sensuijima. The ferry is modeled after the Iroha Maru, the steamship on which the “Kaientai”, led by Ryoma Sakamoto, boarded. The sight of its pitch-black body, with steam gushing out of the chimney is kind of cool.
It’s pretty cool to take a boat to have a bath, isn’t it? Inside the ship, there are displays of materials and photo related to Sakamoto Ryoma, making it look like a petite moving museum. It's a short boat ride of about five minutes, but you can experience something extraordinary.
5 minutes by ferry
Sensuijima Edo Bath
Travel time : 180 minutes
A bath with a spectacular view and a satisfying sauna.
Ice your overheated body with seawater!
Enjoy an extraordinary public bath experience with eight different baths.
There are eight baths in the facility, and the receptionist can tell you the bathing order that will satisfy even the first-time visitor.
There are many unusual baths, such as three steam baths using Yomogi (mugwort), seaweed, and biwa (loquat) leaves, the "mother's womb bath", in which salt is added to seawater to make the body float, and the "sea and seasonal baths" that change monthly.
After visiting each of these baths in order, have a cold bath in the ocean that is laiding out right in front of you! This is the big attraction of the Edo Baths. Furthermore, men and women can enter together, which is refreshing since this is rarely the case in ordinary hot springs.
Ondo Hot Spring
Travel time : 120 minutes
Natural hot springs in Hiroshima's best shopping district.
You can start your trip with a public bath.
The only public bath in Hiroshima where you can enjoy hot springs.
Ondo Hot Spring is a natural hot spring that the owner, who used to run a public bath, dreamed of having. He started digging in his yard in 1972, and after 12 years of hard work, he found a hot spring 850 meters underground. The fact that the hot spring is located in the middle of Hiroshima's busiest shopping district is simply amazing.
The hot spring water here is a medicinal mixture of dozens of Chinese herbs from China's historical herbal medicine, and it will warm you from the core. The deep and wide bathtub is a rare three-tiered tub in Japan. The bath is deep enough for an adult to soak up to his or her chest, so take your time and don't panic.
There is also a sauna and a cold-water bath to satisfy even the most demanding sauna aficionado. The baths are designed to satisfy.
The baths are open from 1:00 p.m., so you can enjoy the best part of your trip, soaking in the hot spring, from midday.
15 minutes by Streetcar
Travel time : 60 minutes
A symbolic presence of Hiroshima public baths.
A long-established public bath that has been loved by the locals.
This is the best place to enjoy authentic "sento" (public bathhouse) in Hiroshima!
Located not far from the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Park, this public bathhouse has recently been visited by both domestic and foreign tourists, as well as local customers.
Although the chimney was exposed to the atomic bombing, it did not collapse. It has been repaired and continues to be loved by the locals. This is a bathhouse where you should stop by after thinking about peace.
This bath also has a three-tiered bathtub. The sauna room is slightly tepid with a sauna heater. There is no TV, so you can take your time to meditate and face yourself. Of course, a cold-water bath is also available.
Inside the facility, there is a guardhouse, old-fashioned advertisements, and, in the women's changing room, hair dryers and massage bed are available. You can enjoy the feeling of an authentic public bathhouse as if you were back in the Showa period.
It's not often that you get the chance to visit many public bathhouses, but if you visit Ondo Onsen, which opens at 1:00 in the afternoon, you can experience two bathhouses in one day! Also, in the town bathhouses where there are many local customers, you can hear the Hiroshima dialect being spoken, so you will definitely feel more like you are traveling.
Representative of the Setouchi Sauna Club
Mr. Nakaoka is a jewelry store director and sole proprietor. In addition to his main business, he is the leader of the Setouchi Sauna Club, a group for sauna lovers. He also has a blog and sells goods as a character named "Saunya".