[3] YUYA in the Edo Area and FUROYA in the Kansai Area


During the Edo Period, in the Edo area, the Sentou was called, “YUYA.” In Osaka (The Kansai area) it was called “FUROYA.” Presently, FURO and YU both have the same meaning. However, in the past, FURO meant, “steam bath” (MUSHIBURO as mentioned above), and YU has always meant “hot water” or “bath.” From the Kamakura Period, through to the Muromachi Period and up to the Azuchi Momoyama Period, FURO meant “steam bath.” Since bathing became more customary during the Edo Period, the frequent opening and closing of the steam bath door (TODANA) resulted in the loss of steam and heat. At this time the steam bath actually consisted of a shallow hot water pool. Consequently, in order to solve this heat loss problem, the design was changed and the ZAKUROGUCHI (discussed above) evolved. It had an 80 cm clearance from the floor, helping to keep the hot steam from escaping from the steam bath area. Presently, the ZAKUROGUCHI, as well as the traditional steam bath have both disappeared, leaving us with the design we have today.


The Communal Bath


During the Edo Period, bathing at the Sentou was almost always communal, there were however certain times when the TOKUGAIWA SHOGUNATE announced decrees prohibiting communal bathing. Even in instances when male and female bathers were separated, the actual partition consisted of only a single board having little or no effect. Certain Sentou owners set separate hours for male or female bathing, or they established bathing days for men only as well as for women. In addition, there were some Sentou that catered only to one sex. In 1810, among the 520 Sentou in the Edo area, 141 were for men only, 11 for women only, and the rest remained functioning as communal bathing establishments.