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Yamashiro Onsen Soyu and Ko-soyu Public Bathhouse

The Soyu and Ko-soyu buildings
1)The Soyu and Ko-soyu buildings
2)The entrance of Ko-soyu public bathhouse
3)The Soyu public bathhouse

Public Bath at the Centre of ‘Yunogawa’

Historically, Japanese hot spring towns were developed with public bathhouses at the centre. In the Hokuriku dialect, the public bathhouses are called ‘soyu’, and the area surrounding the soyu was called ‘Yunogawa’. The quintessential cityscape of a hot spring town still remains in Yamashiro Onsen. Today’s Yamashiro Onsen has two public bathhouses. While the soyu is a modern facility with standard equipment and multiple baths, the ko-soyu (literally meaning old public bathhouse) is a unique bathhouse that spectacularly recreates the architecture and bathhouse culture of the Meiji era (1868-1912), and is decorated with the region’s finest crafts such as lacquerware, ceramic tiles and stained glass. As was the bathing style at the time, the bathhouse is not equipped with the usual separate spaces for showering. After the bath you can enjoy relaxing in the rest area on the second floor. From here you can look out over the town of Yamashiro Onsen, feeling the fatigue of travel melt away. In the evening the building is lit up, adding a romantic touch to the town.

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