Daiko Onsen is a rare community sento in Nagoya, located in the working class neighborhood of Daiko, near Nagoya Dome, on the north side of Nagoya Dome-mae Yada Station on the Meijo Line of the city subway.
Small family-run sento have largely disappeared in Nagoya, replaced by larger, out-of-town, so-called “Super Sento” – which offer bigger and more varied baths, massages, free Wifi, slot machines and even in-house restaurants.
It came as something of a shock to discover this small, somewhat ramshackle establishment, so I decided to put its healing and cleansing powers to the test as soon as possible.
The changing area looks like someone’s (untidy) living room circa 1970 with a fridge for soft drinks and beer, and a large ashtray surrounded by green sofas. Smoking in the male section seems obligatory.
Inside, the bathing area has a number of different baths and a small rotemburo in a tiny garden, just outside.
The sauna was an extra charge but starred two fully-tattooed and rather fat yakuza discussing their day. From what I could overhear, they had attended a funeral by car and were pleased they had saved on the shinkansen fare.
A soccer-mad, half-Japanese, half-Danish lad, who was in Japan visiting family in the area, struck up a pleasant conversation, which we continued in the “lounge” over a beer before he was called home by his grandmother.
If you crave an authentic, “kicking it with the locals” Japan experience while in Nagoya, seek out Daiko Onsen before it is confined to sento history.
3-15-6 Daiko, Higashi-ku
Tel: 052 721 7601
Admission is 420 yen for adults over junior high school age, 150 yen for junior high school students and 70 yen for infants.
Hours: 3.30pm to 12am with last entry at 11.30pm; closed Mondays.
As is usual, there is a coin laundry next door. Parking available for 11 cars.
If you are interested in discovering other public baths (sento) in Nagoya, the Aichi Prefecture Public Bathroom Association publishes a map of their locations (in Japanese): aichi1010.sakura.ne.jp
Goods From Japan delivered to your home or business