Funaoka Onsen

Funaoka Onsen

Funaoka Onsen is one of the most iconic bath houses in Kyoto. For over a hundred years locals and travellers have soaked their weary bodies and sought relaxation here.

The building hasn’t changed much since its opening. It is perhaps one of the few bath houses in Kyoto where time has stood still and it gives a great impression of what bathing in Kyoto meant a hundred years ago. This has earned Funaoka Onsen a mention in the Lonely Planet guide of Japan. There it’s claimed that this is the best bath house in Kyoto.

Some of the more impressive features of this sentō include the cypress wood bathtub in the garden, the ornate water fountain in the cold water bath and the decorated ceiling of the changing room. Besides that there is a sauna, water jets, an electric bath and a rather large hot bath.

Men's baths
Men’s baths

Make sure to check out the carved wooden panels along the edges of the ceiling in the dressing room. Local wood-carvers produced these panels during Japan’s invasion of Manchuria. The (sometimes violent) images offer some insight into the prevailing mindset of that time.

The first electric bath in Japan is reported to have been installed here, at Funaoka Onsen.

Hotels near Funaoka Onsen

Around the web


Area: Nishijin
In business since: 1923
Hours: 15:00 – 01:00
Closed: open every day
Address: Kyoto, Kita Ward, Murasakino Minamifunaokacho 82-1


Rotenburo, wooden bath tub, deep bath, shallow bath, jet bath, medicinal bath, sauna, cold bath, utase bath, electric bath.

Getting there

By train: the nearest train station is Kuramaguchi on the Kyoto subway Karasuma line. From there Funaoka Onsen is a good 15 minute walk in westerly direction. Read more here on getting around Kyoto by train.

By bus: the nearest bus stop is Senbon-Kuramaguchi on Senbondōri. From Kyoto station line 206 stops here and from Shijō street you can take line 46. Also read here on how to get around Kyoto by bus.

14 thoughts on “Funaoka Onsen”

  1. I spent the summer in Kyoto a couple years ago (wish I could have stayed longer!), and found Funaoka Onsen in my local neighborhood. I had some sense that it was kind of famous, kind of well-known, but I never suspected that it was the single oldest, or the single most famous, sento in the city. Thought it was just my own little local public bath, albeit it a fairly old, fairly special one.

    Incidentally, I really liked a restaurant in that same vicinity called Sarasa Nishijin ( Do you think this building used to be a sento?

    1. I agree that Funaoka Onsen is a special place, but one the same account just another public bath house. Looking at the pictures and the blog of Sarasa Nishijin I suspect that the building was a bath house in the past. Their logo closely resembles that of an onsen mark. It looks like a very nice place. Thank you for sharing!

    2. > Do you think this building used to be a sento?

      Your hunch was correct. It was converted from another sento (Fujino-mori Onsen) back in 2000 (according to the Japanese description).
      I also noticed the restaurant while I was in Kyoto this year but I didn’t suspect that the building was derived from another sento.

    1. There are definitely sentō that don’t ban tattoos. The more family-oriented larger bathhouses will not be very welcoming but many smaller neighborhood sentō don’t make too much of a fuss. Funaoka Onsen welcomes a lot of foreigners and likely sees a fair number of tattooed ones. If you want to be respectful to the local culture though it is perfectly acceptable to cover your tattoos with a bandaid-like cover sold in many pharmacies.

      1. There is nothing wrong with your memory. Tattoos can occasionally be spotted at Funaoka Onsen and other sentō. The super sentō have a strict no-tattoo policy.

        1. It would take a brave bath attendant to kick out everyone with tattoos. Many onsens that I visit display signs proclaiming the baths are off limits to those worth tattoos, yet I have often bathed next to people, likely yakuza members, with nearly full-bodied tattoes. They behaved like gentlemen. Please read my blog about hot springs across Japan (

  2. I am a resident in Japan but as I was staying for a couple of days in Kyoto, I thought I’d check out this place. I have to say, I can’t see what all the fuss was about. My Japanese friend and I agreed that it was pretty much the same as any other sento. I wouldn’t recommend tourists to go out of their way to try it if they have already experienced a spa or public bath.

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Public bath houses in Kyoto