57-year-old public bathhouse near Tokyo to shutter due to customer bad behaviour


  • Japan
  • Monday, 27 May 2024

Illustrative photo

TOKYO: The proprietor of the beloved Kame no Yu bathhouse in Kanagawa prefecture, near Tokyo, has announced the cessation of operations by the end of May, citing untenable harassment and other nuisance behaviour by customers.

“It has reached a breaking point,” said the owner on X, formerly known as Twitter.

According to Japanese news outlet Mainichi Shimbun, the bathhouse is the only “sento” public bath in the city of Zama, in Kanagawa prefecture.

Over the course of its 57-year-long history, it has charmed patrons with its popular hot water – well water boiled with firewood – said to warm one’s body from deep inside.

It also offered a reserved service for private baths and a special yuzu citrus bath during the winter solstice every year.

But the institution has been plagued by bad customer behaviour in recent years, such as theft, destruction of equipment and abusive language.

Customers also violated parking rules, weaselled out of paying sauna fees and illegally dumped trash and home furniture on the premises, staff said in a notice of closure posted on X.

“I’ve seen so many sad incidents, and lost my motivation to keep operating,” said the owner in an X post on May 16.

The proprietor declined to give more details of pesky customers for fear of identifying them, Mainichi reported

Japanese netizens lamented the closure on X. “It’s sad that the bathhouse is being driven to close by nuisance behaviour,” said one.

Another added: “There are too many people who think they are entitled just because they are paying fees. People working in the service industry must be going through a really tough time.”

In a notice of closure, the proprietor expressed his gratitude to customers and said: “I assume there will be many people who use other public bathhouses and bathing facilities in the future. I ask them that they remain customers with sincerity.”

A survey by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare published on May 17 found that 27.9 per cent of companies had received reports from their employees of harassment by customers over the past three years. - The Straits Times/ANN

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