Endearing Cartoon Drawings of Japanese Bathhouses Offer a Cultural Glimpse

Illustrator with an architecture background depicts traditional bathhouses in her native Japan.

Sentōs, or bathhouses, are an integral part of life in Japan.

Honami Enya, an illustrator with an architect's background and foundation, took pen to paper to charmingly demonstrate the goings-on in these public bath spaces. 

Thanks to her background in architecture, Enya accurately draws these health and wellness pockets of everyday life in Japan. 

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The images show us an array of different and interesting characters, from tired bodies soaking up the warmth of hot baths, to saunas sweating out all toxins, and the shower section where mothers tend to young daughters or older parents in a caring manner. 

 
 
 
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塩谷歩波 (@enyahonami)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi ()

The detail of her characters' faces is amusing and endearing at the same time, giving her readers a glimpse into different personalities sharing a common interest. 

Enya's drawing style makes her reader discover more and more, the longer you pause and look at an image.

 

 
 
 
Bu gönderiyi Instagram'da gör
 
 
 

塩谷歩波 (@enyahonami)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi ()

Sentōs for rest and rejuvenation

The reason Enya was able to become so attuned to bathhouses in Japan was due to her overworked mode of life.

After a medical check up, she was advised to rest and relax in order to restore her mental and physical health. This is how Enya first properly encountered bathhouses, and she started spending more time in one in particular, Kosugiyu. 

 
 
 
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塩谷歩波 (@enyahonami)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi ()

Inspired by her surroundings and how they were making her feel, Enya began illustrating what she noticed in the bathhouse. The management noticed and was pleasantly surprised by her drawings, and asked her to work with them, to which she agreed. 

 
 
 
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塩谷歩波 (@enyahonami)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi ()

 While Enya still works at Kosugiyu, she has branched out and works with a number of different bathhouses around Japan illustrating and drawing them as well.

Enya goes into the bathhouses an hour and half before their official opening times.

 
 
 
 
Bu gönderiyi Instagram'da gör
 
 
 

塩谷歩波 (@enyahonami)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi ()

 

During that time she familiarizes herself with the layout, takes measurements and photographs, as well as speak with the owners to gain a solid grasp of the bathhouse before being able to draw them accurately.

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Enya's drawings have been turned into a book. 

 
 
 
Bu gönderiyi Instagram'da gör
 
 
 

塩谷歩波 (@enyahonami)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi ()

 
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