Before the pandemic, the facility regularly welcomed up to 1,000 people in a single day, and demand is now gradually picking up again, said manager Hiroshi Saito.
Five hundred customers visited in the first two days after it reopened.
“First and foremost, I am relieved,” Saito told AFP.
“Of course the coronavirus is not completely gone. The possible second wave of infections is also something that is in people’s mind. So we have increased our sanitation efforts… so that our guests can fully relax and really enjoy our facility.”
And that is just what businessman You Sasaki was doing as he sat in an outdoor tub, enjoying the early summer sun and a gentle breeze.
“This feels good. Feels great,” the 50-year-old said, in a tub set up with a television set for bathers to watch while they soak.
He said he had adhered to “stay home” calls during the emergency, but had been counting down to the reopening of onsens, as an aficionado who visited public baths three to four times a week before the coronavirus.
“The last time I came here was the end of March. The onsen is always special. It’s hard to explain in words. Dipping in a large tub is just so relaxing,” Sasaki said.
“This is part of our lives. I don’t think you can separate us from this, the bath. It’s true for me. It’s true for every Japanese.”