Japan - An instructional video - On the way to enter the public bathhouse for foreign tourists...

Photo Credit - onlyjaki.blogspot.com
It is certainly not news that the number of “sento” (public baths) in Japan have been on the decline for quite some time. For instance, according to an association of Tokyo, the number of public bath houses fell from 1,273 as of December 2000 to 801 in 2012. And by all indications, Japan’s low birth rate points to a gloomy future.

If there’s one possible bright spot on the horizon, reports J-cast News (Nov 30), it would be the interest in bathing being shown by foreign tourists. When one survey asked foreign visitors what they would like to try on their next visit to Japan, the most popular response, with 45.6%, was “the onsen experience.” The high interest in bathing was also reflected in responses to the question “What aspects of Japan exceeded your expectations?” After the top response of “visits to natural and scenic locations” with 62.3%, the second-place response was “bathing at onsen” with 57%.

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