Architect-turned-illustrator Honami Enya chronicles sentōs, or bathhouses, around Japan. Using the technical skills she gained while obtaining her Master’s degree in architecture, she creates detailed drawings of these sites of relaxation and rejuvenation. The incredible cross-sectioned images showcase bustling communal centers in which people soak their tired bodies, sweat it out in the steam room, and finally primp once they’re ready to leave. Each drawing is one that begs you to spend some time with it; the longer you look, the more discoveries you’ll make. Enya also has a great sense of humor that comes through in the minute expressions of the people she imagines.
Enya began frequenting her local sentō out of necessity. After graduating with her degree, she started a job with an architecture firm that had long hours and a massive workload. The two took a toll on Enya’s physical and mental well being and she became ill. Her doctor recommended that she take some time off to rest, and that’s where the sentō called Kosugiyu came into her life.
Inspired by how she felt at Kosugiyu, Enya began to create illustrations of the locale. The bathhouse noticed what she was doing and offered her a job tending to the place, and Enya accepted. She continues to work at Kosugiyu, but has since branched out to render other bathhouses around the country. At each place, she is afforded access for just an hour and a half before the sentō opens. During that time, she takes measurements and photographs and speaks to the owner to get an overall feel for the place. Enya’s documentation and research are then compiled into her charming drawings.
Enya’s work has now been made into a book that’s currently available to purchase online.