The History of Bathing: Sentō

Japanese Sentō bath houses have their origins in the Buddhist Temples of India.
Initially a strictly religious affair, priests used yūya 湯屋 (hot water shops) for cleanliness. Eventually the sick and unwell were also allowed to make use of the baths and wealthy citizens began to have private facilities installed in their homes.
Over several years public Sentō grew in popularity, somewhat aided by addition of female bathing attendants who would perform additional ‘services’ beyond the bathhouse, eclipsing the religious notions on which they were founded.
The History of Bathing: Sentō

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