Bath House History
The Historic Miyazaki Bathhouse is a one of a kind diamond in the rough. Set in the heart of old Japantown Walnut Grove, California, is a small town nestled in the beauty of the Sacramento Delta and its 1200 miles of snaking waterways.
The Miyazaki, built in 1915, is the only functioning historical Japanese bathhouse (Osento) in the country. Did you know there used to be many? Prior to World War II, the Japanese who immigrated to the U.S. and settled in this area created a thriving community which they called “Kawashimo” meaning “down river.
They brought with them the wonderful tradition of their ritual bathing, which served both as an important social amalgam for the community, and of course a place to soak and bathe. Post World War II, these soulful places fell into disrepair and faded into the past.
The Miyazaki Bath House was lovingly and painstakingly restored to its historic usage and opened to the public in 2013.
Miyazaki Bathhouse 1982 Then (Above)
Bath House Now
Two large tile tubs filled with steaming hot water welcome you as you step into to the bathhouse, transcendent music quickly transports you back in time.
During your visit you will, if you so choose, partake in the Japanese ritual of rinsing each other off with our large wooden bowls (a loving gesture) and move back and forth from soaking to the steam room, the magical subtle scent of lemon grass or lavender around you, all under the enormous and intricate red cedar cathedral ceiling.
Two large skylights allow natural light to flow in and bath you in sunrays or moonlight as you stretch out on the wood decking. All of our customers will be served either lychee fruit tea or flowering tea with a small platter of fruit.
Our lodging upstairs, (Ryokan, meaning traditional Japanese Inn) which used to be an old boarding house, is now a lovely restful environment complete with 3 sleeping areas, living room/tea room, dining area, kitchen and bathroom. Peak out the windows and you will feel as if you are in a tree house, with the tall graceful bamboo swaying about. This is where the old American West meets old world Japan.
We also have a fine art gallery where the old candy shop used to be on the lower level of the building. There, we feature new art work several times a year. Our tatami lounge area offers a place to stretch out and revel in the visual delight of our pre WWII kimono exhibit and look through Japanese art books.
The first Friday evening of each month May – October, we participate in the Art Walk of Walnut Grove. All galleries and shops are open for visitors 5-8 pm.
The Miyazaki opens onto the charming community park where in the spring and summer we are known to have impromptu concerts where you can sit and sip iced tea in the shade of the trees.
You won’t find anything else like it!