To celebrate 200,000 likes on Facebook, Audi commissioned sentō (public baths) artist Mizuki Tanaka to paint a mural that could be enjoyed while relaxing in the hot water of natural springs. Our photographer went to check it out.

Public baths in Japan

Onsen and sentō are both public baths, but an onsen specifically refers to one that uses water from a natural hot spring, while sentō can use natural spring water or draw it straight from the water supply. Sentō have long been a part of Japanese culture, but with hot water in every household these days the need to regularly visit them is gone and the numbers have been decreasing. That means that old, traditional bath houses are disappearing, along with the art of decorating them.

Sentō art

Murals in sentō are painted with oil paint and require a lot of skill and experience to create. The artists use only four colors: red, blue, yellow, and white. Mizuki Tanaka is one of only three sentō artists in Japan, and with 8 years of training under her belt she’s currently working as a painter and sentō artist. They often feature depictions of Mt. Fuji and other traditional imagery of Japanese landscape and culture, although this one has a distinctly modern twist.

Audi commissioned Mizuki to paint a mural to celebrate them reaching 200,000 likes on Facebook, and she created this mix of old and new featuring the Audi R8 Spyder with Mt. Fuji in the background. In the video below you can see a bit of her actually painting it.

The mural can be viewed until October 31 at the Daini Hinode-Yu, a sentō in Tokyo’s Ota Ward which is fed by a natural hot spring and also has an open air bath, which is rare in central Tokyo.

Hinode-Yu onsen

Tokyo, Ota Ward, Nishikamata 6-5-17
Opening times: 3pm~12.30am every day (except Wednesdays)
Outdoor bath: Women 1st to 15th of each month, Men 16th to end of the month
Entry fee: 460 yen (US$4.26) per adult

▼ Entrance to the baths.


▼ The curtain currently sports the Audi logo in the lower left hand corner.



▼ Reception with the entrance to the men’s and women’s baths on either side.


▼ Shampoo and buckets for washing.



▼ Entrance to the women’s baths.


▼ Entrance to the men’s baths


▼ Lockers.


▼ Here are the showers where you wash yourself thoroughly and get all squeaky clean before getting into the shared baths.


▼ Open-air outdoor bath.


▼ View of the mural with the baths directly under it.



▼ Lie back and enjoy the traditional surroundings in the hot, relaxing water.


Source: Japaaan Magazine, Hinode-Yu 
Images: RocketNews24