Goko-yu Sento is a large public bath on the southwest side of Downtown Kyoto. It’s a “destination sento” with a wide variety of baths spread over two floors.
Goko-yu Sento Exterior – image © Chris Rowthorn
Goko-yu (the name means “Water of Five Fragrances”) is a great place to sample the Japanese sento (public bath) experience. They’re used to foreigners here, so you won’t feel at all uncomfortable. Well, you won’t feel uncomfortable if you are used to hanging out with a bunch strangers in the nude!
When you arrive, you’ll see the bicycles parked outside and the name written in kanji: 五香湯. Buy tickets to enter from the machine at the doorway. It’s all in Japanese. The button at the top left marked Y430 is for adults. The button directly next to it is for children below junior high school age and it’s marked Y150. Give you ticket to the people at the counter and go into the appropriate changing room.
Once inside the bathing area, you’ll see a variety of tubs surrounding by individual washing areas. After washing yourself and soaking in the tubs, head up the stairs and sample the giant two-stage sauna: the main room is hot, and the inner room is like stepping into a kiln! One way to last a little longer is to jump in the cold bath (right outside the door) first. Next to this is a large soaking tub.
Well, that’s what the men’s side is like. They wouldn’t let me into the women’s side, so I’m just guessing that things are the same on their side.
After bathing, you can relax in the small snack bar in the lobby. They serve draft beer, which is always good after a bath, and a variety of snacks and light meals.
For information on what to do in a Japanese sento, see our Kyoto’s Best Sentos page.
Snack Bar – image © Chris Rowthorn
588 Kakimotochō Shimogyō-ku
2:30pm to midnight weekdays and Saturday
7am to midnight Sunday
11am to midnight holidays
15min walk west of Gojo Station on the Karasuma subway line or
a taxi from downtown Kyoto will cost around Y1200. Tell the driver you want to go to五香湯 (Goko-yu).
Official Website (Japanese)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
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Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- Get travel insurance for Japan - World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)