In a quiet residential area of Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, half hidden by a large maple tree, stands an impressive, castlelike wooden structure that is like a portal to another time. With old-fashioned kawara tiles on its pagoda-style roof, and its curliculed surrounding stone wall, the building is evocative of an era when yukata and geta were common and people called places like this home.

Outside the building, the sound of chatter and occasional laughter floats out of the windows. Just inside the door, patrons are greeted with a cloud of steam and the pleasant scent of soap. This is Tsuki no Yu, one of the oldest sento(public baths) in Japan. Built in 1933 by miyadaikucarpenters who specialized in temples and palaces, it stands as grandly today as it did when its doors first opened.