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Katakurakan’s Thousand-Person Bath|A Retro-Modern Bathhouse on the Shore of Lake Suwa Where You Can Bathe While Standing

Katakurakan, Suwa city Chubu

There is a hot spring facility called Katakurakan (片倉館) in Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture.

Katakurakan is a classic Western-style public bathhouse built in the early Showa period (1926-1989), but the building has been beautifully maintained in its original state, and you can still take a bath in the large “Thousand-Person Bath (千人風呂)” inside the facility.

This article describes my experience of a day trip to Katakurakan for bathing.


About Katakurakan

A hot spring facility built by an industrialist in the early Showa period

Katakura-kan is a day spa facility located right in front of Lake Suwa, the largest lake in Nagano Prefecture.

Katakura-kan was built 90 years ago in 1928 as a cultural and welfare facility by a businessman named Katakura Kentaro, who had been engaged in the paper manufacturing business since the Taisho era (1912-1926), with a fund of 800,000 yen (several billion yen in today’s money).

Today, Katakura-kan is registered as a national important cultural asset. The building has been preserved in its original state, and visitors can still enjoy a day trip to the bathhouse.


Katakurakan’s Sennin-buro (Thousand-Person Bath)

A bath that can be taken standing up

Katakurakan's Thousand-Person Bath


The Katakura-kan’s indoor bath is a large, western-style indoor bath called “Sennin-buro (Thousand-Person Bath),” which allows you to bathe standing up.

The Senninburo is a large bathhouse made of marble, 7.6 meters wide and 4 meters deep. 100 people can bathe in it at once, but if you stand up, it looks like it could hold a lot more people.

The depth of the bath is a little over a meter, and it is as deep as your chest.


A bathtub paved with black gravel

The foot of the bathtub in the Senninburo is covered with black gravel. Stepping on the black gravel stimulates the acupuncture points in your feet, which naturally moves your feet and makes you want to walk from one end of the large indoor bath to the other.

The quality of the hot spring water is simple hot spring.


Gorgeous interior with marble and stained glass

Katakura-kan has a sennin-buro and another indoor Jacuzzi tub. There is no outdoor bath. However, the interior of the large bath is luxurious, with white marble and stone tile walls and stained glass windows. The indoor bath alone is a feast for the eyes.

There are also white Western sculptures everywhere, making you feel as if you were in a museum.


Facilities for Day Spa Onsen

The floor of Katakurakan’s indoor bath is covered with tiles, so you need to be a little careful not to slip.

Although the baths have high historical value, they are equipped with all the facilities for a day spa hot spring. The bathrooms are equipped with body soap and rinse-in shampoo, a hairdryer in the changing room, and coin-operated lockers that return 100 yen.


The second floor and rooftop floor of Katakura-kan with a nice view

Taking a break in the retro-style rest area.


The second floor and rooftop floor of Katakura-kan with a nice view

Rest area with retro atmosphere


After taking a bath, take a break on the second floor.

The second floor of Katakura-kan is a resting room with a retro look and feel. There was also a cafeteria where you can enjoy local gourmet food, but it was closed in 2021 and now you can only buy drinks from vending machines.


Rooftop floor with a panoramic view of Lake Suwa

As you pass through the break room and ascend to the rooftop floor, a panoramic view of Lake Suwa is spread out before you.


Summary of Katakurakan’s Thousand-Person Bath

You can experience a day trip bathing in a modern building from the early Showa period

It’s rare to be able to take a bath while standing up, isn’t it? Katakura-kan is also worth seeing for its gorgeous interior. Although it seems to have cost a lot of money to build, the design is simple and elegant without being too ornate.

If you are in the Suwa Lake area for sightseeing, why not try the Katakura-kan’s Thousand-Person Bath?


Katakura-kan Access, Hours of Operation and Parking

Access It is a 7-minute walk from JR Kamisuwa Station. From Suwa Interchange, it is a 12-minute drive.
Opening hours 10:00 to 21:00 (Closed 2nd and 4th Tuesdays)
Fee Adults: 650 yen (Children: 450 yen)
Parking There is a free parking lot for 100 cars on the premises.



Other articles about hot springs

For more information about other day trip hot spring facilities, please read this article.



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