Even though it is probably only known to the locals of Nagasaki, Nichieiyu Bathhouse has been the social hub for bathers since around the 1930s.
The sento (public bathhouse) is actually located near an important shrine in Nagasaki. As you walk around the bright red Confucius Shrine in the city center, you may notice a retro-looking building right outside the shrine. It becomes obvious that you’ve reached a bathhouse upon spotting the cute elephant character on the hanging noren (traditional curtains), as well as the Japanese character for bath, ゆ, pronounced “yu.”
Nichieiyu Bathhouse has been in use since the end of Taisho Period, making this classic no-frills establishment one of the oldest still in use in Nagasaki Prefecture. However, locals who hang out there will tell you it is, in fact, the oldest.
You may even notice other bathers bantering together in the distinctive Nagasaki dialect.
Upon entering, the first thing you will notice is the changing area. With wooden floors and lockers, a cozy couch and a washing machine right there, the atmosphere is anything but pretentious. Before bathing, observe the long-lasting pink tiles as nostalgic melodies of old Japanese songs lightly play through the speakers. You may even notice other bathers bantering together in the distinctive Nagasaki dialect — this place is as about as local as it gets.
There are three indoor baths in total. In addition to a “jet bath” with massaging effects and a cold bath, there’s also an herbal bath. The milky-colored water consists of 20 types of herbs, which are particularly recommended for people with rashes and waist pain. In summer, you can further relax with a citrus fragrance. It’s also a denki bath. “Denki” means electricity in Japanese — which is exactly what travels through the water to shock bathers at points across their body via small currents. A unique way to relax, this isn’t exactly uncommon in Japan, but it does make for an interesting bathing experience.
If you want to bath in a cozy environment and maybe even make a few friends, stop by Nichieiyu Bathhouse while in Nagasaki!