goo Ranking decided to figuratively peek behind the curtain in women’s sento, Japanese public baths, to see what sort of things tend to happen in the bathing area.


The survey was conducted from the 21st to the 23rd of November 2013, and 1,054 people completed a private web-based questionnaire. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample. This question was obviously only for the women in the sample.

Here is a typical sento bathhouse entrance:

Obviously, I’m not qualified to comment on my experiences related to this survey, although I will note that the only positive answer is number seven; I assume that getting chatted to by grannies might or might not be a positive experience, depending on the person.

Ranking result

Q: What do you tend to do in a women’s sento bath? (Sample size=women from a 1,054 person sample)

Score   Rank
1 I find myself unconciously checking out other women’s breast shape, size, and colour 100
2 I get surprised at an old woman’s saggy breasts 88.5
3 The wash basin area is littered with hair 79.7
4 I get annoyed by a woman who goes straight into the bath without washing 78.0
5 The push-button shower stops too fast so shampooing is a tremendous effort 77.1
6 People just won’t stop hogging the hair driers 69.2
7 I get cheered up when I happen to go along on a day that they are having a lavender, yuzu, etc scented bath 51.5
8 I get annoyed by a woman who doesn’t bundle up her hair before getting into the bath 49.3
9 An old woman engages me in conversation 48.9
10= Someone books their seat at the washing area with their own wash set 48.0
10= I start off with a strategically-placed towel, but gradually get more blazé about it 48.0
12 I get annoyed by a long-haired woman beside me who splashes me with water as she wrings her hair 45.4
13 I decide to go on a diet after seeing a stylish woman 42.7
14 I get surprised by an older woman with lovely skin 38.3
15 I get a little bashful when a primary school boy comes in 32.6
16 A bunch of old women gather around a cooling fan 30.8
17 I get surprised by an older woman with fine breasts 30.4
18 When I bring my kids along the probability of old women talking to me rises significantly 28.6
19 I find it a problem that the mirrors are hogged by people fixing their make-up 27.3
20 I waste money on stuff like buying a towel to replace a forgotten one, drinking fruity milk, etc 26.9
21 I end up gawping at a woman vigorously scrubbing her nether regions 26.0
22 I get annoyed by the person in front of me leaving soggy footprints on the scales 24.2
23 I get shocked thinking “Is that a man who just came in?” until she strips off 18.1
24 I raise my arms out of the water to check how well water rolls off my skin 17.2
25 I find myself imagining what a woman who hides her body behind a towel looks like underneath 14.1

1 Comment

Leah · February 19, 2014 at 15:30

#7 is a positive one, too! My gym sento wasn’t fancy, but I went to a free public footbath on yuzu day, and it was really exciting.

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