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Hotei-yu Public Baths

Learn about Nara Prefecture's first-ever artificial public hot baths.


Hotei-yu Public Baths

NARA Visitor Center & Inn ESL Lessons

Download the PDF lesson plan with answer key.

ESL Lesson Hotei-yu - OFFICIAL
Download PDF • 2.01MB

1. Introduction.

Are public baths popular in your country?


2. Vocabulary bank.

Match these words to the correct definitions underneath

  1. exist                                                                                    

  2. pure                                                                                    

  3. refresh                                                                                 

  4. century                                                                                 

  5. experience                                                                          

  6. silky                                                                                       

  7. benefit                                                                               

  8. unique                                                                                 

  9. possess                                                                               

  10. component                                                                           

  11. decrease                                                                              

  12. approve                                                                                

  13. several                                                                                 

  14. convenience                                                                        

  15. renowned                                                                             

  16. beautify                                                                                

  17. communal                                                                            

  18. artificial                                                                                    

A. One hundred years

B. To lessen or become smaller

C. A small number

D. Smooth and shiny 

E. One of a kind

F. Imitation 

G. Have, be the owner of

H. To be

I. Give new strength to

J. An event or adventure

K. Respected and famous

L. Decorate or enhance

M. A good point or advantage

N. Shared with a group

O. Agree with, support

P. An easy to use resource

Q. Clean or perfect

R. A piece or part of something    


3. Video: First watch. 

Listening questions.

Question 1. Where is the “Hotei-yu” public bath?

Question 2. How old is it?


4. Video: Second watch. Fill in the blanks in the narration. 

Hotei-yu is Nara ________________’s first ever artificial hot spring public bath.
A sento is a communal bathhouse where customers pay for ______________. There’s an area to _______________ your body before entering one of the large baths. There are usually several baths to choose from, each with different types of water with different _________________ benefits. There’s usually also a sauna and a ______________ with cold water. The sento has existed for over four centuries in Japan. The number of sento bathhouses ______________ been decreasing in recent years, but for many people the sento remains not just a convenience, but an important part of their social lives 

At Hotei-yu, they use high-purity _______________ water approved by Japan’s Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare. It’s _________________ on the skin and hair. Their most popular bath is the Gero onsen. Known for its _________________ and silky feel, it is often referred to as the "Bijin no Yu" or “The Hot Spring for Beauty.”

It possesses the same components as the renowned Gero onsen in Gifu prefecture. Gero Onsen is one of the “Three Famous Hot Springs of Japan" along with Arima Onsen and Kusatsu Onsen. A trip to a sento bath house is a unique ___________________ experience, so why not refresh and beautify yourself in the ancient capital at Hotei-yu?


5. Comprehension exercises.

True or False?

  1. Hotei-yu is Nara’s oldest artificial hot-spring bath house.

  2. Sento bathhouses are free to enter.

  3. You must wash your body before entering the bath.

  4. There are fewer sento bathhouses today than there used to be.

  5. Hotei-yu is one of the “Three Famous Hot Springs of Japan.”

Memory testers.

1 .This video is about

      a. A natural hot-spring “onsen" in Nara.

      b. A traditional part of Japanese social life.

      c. How to take a bath in Japan.

2. Sento bathhouses usually have

      a. Several bath tubs with different types of water.

      b. A jacuzzi. 

      c. A convenience store.

3.   Hotei-yu’s most popular bath is often called

      a. Arima onsen.

      b. A unique experience.

      c. Bijin-no-yu


6. Grammar.

“The number of sento bathhouses has been decreasing in recent years.” In this sentence, the present perfect continuous form “has been decreasing” is used to indicate something that started in the past is still continuing in the present. e.g. “I have been waiting for an hour.”

Use has or have to fill the spaces in these sentences:

1.   It __________ been raining all morning.

2. Both of them ___________ been working there for a long time.

3. I don’t mind, but my sister ___________ been complaining about it since it started.

4. Neither one of us ___________ been living here very long.

5. They ___________ been trying to break the record for sailing across the Atlantic.


Rearrange these words to form correct sentences.

  1. are / to / from / there / usually / choose / baths / several

2. hot / bath / Hotei-yu / spring / ever / first / is / prefecture’s / public / artificial / Nara

3. not /  and / why / beautify / refresh / yourself? 


7. Discussion.

Regarding public baths in Japan, do you know the difference between a sento and an onsen?

Would you like to visit a Japanese public bath?

Why? Why not?

Is there anything like this where you are from? 

What cultural experiences or cultural norms would visitors to your country find shocking? 

Most public baths don't allow people with tattoos to use their facilities.  

Are tattoos a taboo where you are from? 

How do you feel about tattoos? 


Download the PDF lesson plan with answer key.

ESL Lesson Hotei-yu
Download PDF • 2.01MB

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