Story Premise

Onsen & Sento

taken from Life at Maison Ikkoku and Japanese Public Bathhouses

Tourist accommodation is available around most of Japan's onsen (hot springs). At spas such as Beppu, large commercial resorts of many hotels have developed, where the emphasis is for visitors is on group togetherness (a sacred concept in Japan). At other, more isolated onsen, there may be only two or three thatched-roof cottages with a single outdoor bath (a rotemburo). Here the visitor comes to seek spiritual rather than material comfort. Most onsen are open all year round and in the smaller country establishments one may sit in the winter in a steaming outdoor pool surrounded by snow-covered rocks and trees.

The sento on the other hand is more commonly known as a public bath. The sento is roughly divided into two sections: where you wash and where you relax. It is extremely important that you donít confuse the two. To dive into one of the spa bath with flannel and soap is definitely not the way to go. Before entering the relaxation baths, it is important that every square inch of flesh gets a lashing of the suds. Typically, one squats centimeters above the ground under small showers with the backside resting on a miniature stool. Donít worry; it is more comfortable than it sounds, even if the knees have seen better days. Instead of allowing water to run over yourself as you clean (considered wasteful in Japan) pour water over your body with a shallow plastic bucket, conveniently provided by the sento.

Relevance to Urusei Yatsura

Ataru briefly holds a job at a sento, and Onsen-Mark's name and entire wardrobe are heavily influenced by onsen.

Back to Cultural References

An Intro to Urusei Yatsura
Cast of Characters
The Comic Book
The Animated Series
Questions and Answers
Frequently Asked QuestionsCultural References
Articles and Reviews
Art Gallery
Music Capsule
Odds and Ends