Heiden Onsen, a symbol of  “energetic Sento public baths” in Higashi-ku, Nagoya

Nagoya Higashi-ku
Posting date: 2021.11.26
Heiden Onsen, a symbol of  “energetic Sento public baths” in Higashi-ku, Nagoya

There are about 70 sento (public baths) in Aichi Prefecture. Among them, "Heiden Onsen", located along Route 19 in Higashi Ward, Nagoya City, holds exhibitions by artists and collectors, collaboration projects with picture books, and other events from time to time. There is much more to look forward to besides bathing. 

Also, the well water bath is just so nice that it is loved by  sauna enthusiasts. I cannot help but to investigate this place!

Surprised by the garden in the bathroom where tropical plants grow!

First of all, you pay at the front counter.

Bathing fee is 440 yen. The affordable price is another appeal of public baths in town. (+100 yen if you use the sauna.) Sauna users are provided with yellow towels. Be sure to bring this towel with you when entering the sauna room.

Although it is a long-established public bath and the building itself is old,  this place is well-cleaned including the dressing room.

The first thing that catches your eye when you enter the bathhouse is the tropical plants and impressive rocks!

When I approached and looked at it, the lemon was ripe. I couldn't believe my eyes, thinking, "I was supposed to be in a public bath, but I'm in a botanical garden!?"

By the way, they also grow bananas, pineapples, and miracle fruits, and some fruits are sometimes served to customers. It's kind of interesting that the environment in the bathroom, with its high temperature and humidity, is also suitable for growing tropical fruits. The bananas in the photo were harvested in May 2020. *Photo provided by proprietress

There are many types of baths, and you can enjoy the hot water of the day. On the day of the shoot, it was "Scent of Rose & Sandalwood". It seems that there are times when a slightly quirky daily hot water is prepared, such as a "coffee bath" that uses real coffee instead of bath salts.

By the way, somewhere in the ukiyo-e above the sauna, the characters for "Heiden" (in hiragana) are hidden, but do you know where they are hidden? (The picture is men's bath)

For the women's bath, the kanji "Heiden Onsen" is hidden in the ukiyo-e print (separately from the "Heiden Onsen" notation on the upper left). Let's actually go to the site and look for it!

Experience a cold bath with outstanding water quality

Also try the sauna. It has 2 levels and can accommodate up to 4 people.

The temperature is over 100 degrees Celsius, but the humidity is moderate and the conditions are excellent. The women's bath is set to a slightly lower temperature of 90°C. Outside the window, you can faintly see the greenery of a garden full of tropical plants.

A cold bath is just one step away from the sauna! The lines are excellent.

The water that springs up from 80m underground is characterized by its soft water quality. The water temperature is said to fluctuate without a cooling device, but the water temperature is about 18 to 20 degrees Celsius, which is a good temperature.

I think there are many sauna-lovers that say, "If I hear that there is a cold water bath with good water quality, I will go there even it's far away!" However, as a Nagoya resident, I can't hide my surprise, saying, "There is such a wonderful water bath in the middle of Nagoya!" It's hard to see what is under your nose is exactly what it means. It was a complete blind spot.

There is no so-called "totonoi chair", but you can sit down and take a break so as not to disturb other customers. You can spend a relaxing time while gazing at this scenery.

Beer and soft drinks are also sold in the lobby, and I am really looking forward to having a drink after taking a bath.

Mr. and Mrs. Yagi Struggle to Make Public Baths More Accessible

Feeling so excited, I asked Mr. Hirotsune Yagi and his wife Mrs. Yoshiko Yagi, about their story.

Hirotsune: “Originally, the name was Shinonome-yu, and it was operated near the NHK Nagoya Broadcasting Center Building in Higashi Ward. I took over the business in 1994, and at that time there were probably nine public baths in Higashi Ward. Now there are only four public baths, including ours.

He told me about the history of Heiden Onsen and the current state of the sento industry. What is the reason why Heiden Onsen continues to be loved by the locals and is still visited by many bathers today?

Yoshiko: “It was very important that I was able to expand my network of friends through SNS and have a ‘horizontal connection’ with sento in other areas.”

For example, the proprietresses of "Murasakiyu" in Kyoto, "Yudokoro Abenohashi" in Osaka, and "Heiden Onsen" formed a unit called "CATCH♡YU~ANGELS"! They are showing energetic efforts such as jointly holding events.

The collaboration project with the popular picture book "Panda Sento" is a good example.

The entire bathroom was decorated with the theme of "Panda Sento", and there is a photo spot in the lobby. Children are also delighted at the "Real Panda Public Bath"! By the way, on this day, it was "no bathing except for pandas".

Exhibitions by artists and collectors are held in the lobby on an irregular basis. Many of the exhibits are a bit geeky, but you can't help but take a look at them, such as the display of empty beer cans.

“I think that people who don't usually go to public baths have a high threshold, such as 'Isn't there all the regulars?' or 'I don't know how to get in,'” says Yoshiko.

In order to make public bathhouses more open, they started an event called "Heiden Wa no Ichi". A market is held in the changing rooms, and live music is performed in the bathrooms, with the proprietress also performing! Even those who do not usually use the bathhouses can become more familiar with them by learning what goes on inside.

As a rule, the event is held in October and March, although there was a time when it had to be canceled due to the spread of coronavirus infection. (Please inquire for event dates.)

In addition, there are many other original products, such as towels made in collaboration with illustrator 22°C (280 yen per towel) and cute can badges with retro designs by Toshizo, a stamp artist for public bathhouses (300 yen per badge)! I feel that the fact that the artists who support Hirata Onsen willingly take on the design work is proof that this place is well-loved.

The clean and spacious bathtub, the sauna and water bath in excellent condition, and the pleasant conversation refreshed my body and mind. This is the greatest charm of a public bathhouse in town.


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Spot Details

[Hirata Onsen]
Address: 38 Aioi-cho, Higashi-ku, Aichi Prefecture
Phone: 052-931-4009
Business hours: 15:00-22:00 (last reception 21:00)
Closed: Tuesdays
Price: Bathing fee 440 yen for adults, 150 yen for elementary school students, 70 yen for children under elementary school age (+100 yen for sauna use)
Parking: Yes
URL: https://ameblo.jp/heiden-onsen/

An editor and writer living in Nagoya. He writes articles in various genres, focusing on travel, gourmet, hot springs, and leisure. In particular, domestic travel is his life's work, and he explores every corner of the country. He looks forward to encountering delicious local ingredients. Since he likes to drink while traveling, he basically travels by train. He doesn't mind harsh trips using the "Seishun 18 Kippu". He is also qualified as a “Sauna/Spa Health Advisor” and frequently visits sauna facilities and super public baths.

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