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Gazing at Mt Fuji While Enjoying Bathing

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Sento are communal bathhouses found throughout Japan. Ranging from those built in the traditional style to the supersento that boast the latest in facilities, sento also find favor with many overseas tourists. October 10 is celebrated as Public Bath Day each year, as 1010 can be pronounced sento in Japanese. It is also the day the Tokyo Olympics started in 1964, an event that sparked a rapid increase in the interest the Japanese take in sport. The day points to the intimate relationship between sport and bathing as many participants like to visit a sento after working up a sweat during vigorous exercise, and as research has shown the health benefits of bathing in the often mineral-rich waters used in bathhouses. Murals depicting Mt. Fuji and other iconic natural scenes in some public baths are affectionately enjoyed by bathers as examples of unique Japanese art.