Grotty and grim public showers in Tokyo

For all of its much touted modernity, Tokyo is also incredibly old fashioned — archaic even. An element that does have plenty of positives, not least of which is a large number of utterly endearing, lost in time bars and eateries.

Not so positive, on the other hand, is a good amount of the city’s accommodation. Places that in many ways are only a minor step up from camping, and a world away from the robot filled, high-tech toilet world portrayed in the media. Ramshackle abodes that are horrendously cold in winter, and the total opposite in summer. Plus for more than a few, there is only a toilet. No bathroom. A throwback presumably to a time when every neighbourhood had a sento (public bath).

Nowadays, however, these bathhouses are rapidly disappearing, and for those that do remain, their opening hours and time consuming nature may not be in tune with the modern world, or indeed its workforce. So public showers like this can sometimes be found.

Open most of the time.

dirty Tokyo public shower

Plus nice and quick.

dirty Tokyo public shower

If not necessarily nice and clean.

dirty Tokyo public shower


  1. George says

    I notice on the awning that they are looking for franchisees. Anyone interested? Seems maintenance and upkeep are kept to a minimum.

    • says

      Yeah, after the initial set up cost, there’s clearly not much in the way of outlay. That said, not how much money it makes either.

    • says

      It is a bit, isn’t it? Perhaps not quite what you’d expect.

      I’ve seen a few here and there, but these are certainly the dirtiest.

  2. Ron says

    Try travelling to China. These would be considered to be spotlessly clean, so to speak. Some of the public toilets in china were so filthy, i began to realize why chinese only squat to go to the washroom as opposed to sitting down.

    • says

      I travelled there post-Olympics and was pleasantly surprised, but admittedly from what I’ve heard I may well have got lucky.

  3. June says

    How much does it cost to take a shower there? I’m assuming you must (and should) bring your own towel and soap?

    • says

      Yes, you do. Just the water and cubicle are supplied. I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but it wasn’t much at all.

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