Adults ¥480, age 6-12 years ¥180, under 5 years ¥80, bath towel rental ¥50
- 3 Chome-32-3 Koenji-kita, Suginami, Tokyo
- Distance from Station:
- 5 minutes on foot from JR Koenji Station, North Exit
- 03-3337-6198 (Japanese only)
- Weekdays & Saturday 3:30pm - 1:45am. Sundays 8:00am - 1:45am, Closed Thursdays
- http://www13.plala.or.jp/Kosugiyu/ (external link)
- Japanese, English, and Chinese speaking staff available
Koenji’s Melting Pot, and a Pot to Melt In
[updated February 2022]
Add to the soothing waters of Kosugi-yu a drop of family laughter, a mellow retiree, a flock of chatty high-school students, two tipsy “salary men” and a handful of larger-than-life local personalities and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a successful and very much loved neighbourhood bathhouse. Established in 1933, Kosugi-yu was registered as a National Tangible Cultural Property in January 2021.
Like the eclectic neighbourhood of Koenji it services, Kosugi-yu opens its doors to all passersby. Miho, the ever smiling and energetic face of the sento, welcomes you into her ‘second home’ and invites you to relinquish that piece of technology from the palm of your hand, forget about those niggling issues at the back of your mind and melt away into a steaming bath of hot water.
Servicing the community for the better part of 85 years Kosugi-yu is oozing in local history but it’s the sento’s progressive attitude towards catering to Koenji’s diverse subcultures, acceptance of tattoos, and transformation into a dynamic entertainment space that really sets it apart from the more traditional bath houses in the greater Tokyo area. Also be sure to check their variety of baths including the milk bath, jet bath, and daily changing baths.
Sporadic collaborations and events with musicians, artists, local businesses, farmers, and craft brewers all make for a very edgy and entertaining visit. Alternatively, if you’ve been bitten by the running bug, take advantage of the ‘Hashiru Kosugi-yu’ initiative which involves dropping your belongings off in a provided locker, pounding the streets of Suginami and freshening up with a shower and a relaxing soak on return. With the decline of sento attendance well documented in Tokyo and property vultures circling the prized land on which these properties sit, it’s collaborations, community involvement and initiatives such as these that breath new life and interest into the traditional sento business model.
Strong family connections and close knit friends is what keeps this sento’s boiler room operational, soap dispensers full, towels laundered and the grout sparkling clean. But it’s the gang of neighbourhood regulars that will make you feel right at home here in Koenji and Kosugi-yu, whether it’s your 1st or 400th visit. Just don’t forget to enjoy that post-bath bottle of milk or can of beer while flipping through the extensive bath themed manga in the inviting communal lounge!
*For helpful public bath rules and customs, check out our “how-to manga” about using public baths here.