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Traditional Japanese public bath houses upgraded to stay in business

The traditional sento bath house is an important part of Japanese culture. For 500 yen (US$3.7), bathers can take a dip in communal tubs.

But with more people choosing to bathe at home, high gas prices, faltering machinery and a lack of successors, the number of public bath houses has dropped from nearly 18,000 at its peak in the late 1960s to only 1,800 nowadays. Young owners are reinventing the business through renovations and data analysis.

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