architect honami enya quits firm to tend + intricately illustrate japanese bathhouses

architect honami enya quits firm to tend + intricately illustrate japanese bathhouses

a japanese bathhouse, a communal place of cleansing, is called a sentō. as they continue to decline, social media populations rise, as do the floodwaters of young professionals quitting incredible careers to focus on something less drowning. honami enya, the artist responsible for these gorgeous architectural illustrations, is one of those young professionals. her job title and salary may not be as flashy as it once was, but her story and her art inspires something much greater.

sento illustrations
all images courtesy of honami enya



in an age that coins terms such as millennial burnout, a particularly rare mint of said coin must exist in the pockets of the architecture industry. the hours have always been long. the schooling has always been extraneous and expensive — and after graduating with a masters in architecture and nailing a position at a prominent firm in japan, the workload was really just getting started for honami enya. she fell ill. doctors advised her to rest. she visited her local sentō.
sento illustrations




honami enya gives us a tour of local sentō, kosugiyu, in lovely cross-section illustrations. here, countless details capture the simplicity of a normal place and in 2019, to the worldview of many young professionals, that simplicity is far more miraculous than a folding smart phone and sadly, farther away than mars. with the graceful colors, honami enya uses to describe the different baths — greens and blues and whites — one can imagine walking from water to water, deciding which to soak in, perhaps which offers the best view of mount fuji on the wall, finally submerging and still.
sento illustrations




now, architectural artist honami enya tends to the sentōs that warmed her. she measures them, photographs them, and has most recently compiled a book of illustrations: sentō zukai, published by chukoron-shinsha, this book, I will show the illustrations of 24 public baths in color mainly in tokyo,’ honami says, ‘introducing the sights and tastes in an essay.’ sentō novices and experts alike are welcome to soak in her architectural storybook. 
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project info


artist: honami enya
book: sento zukai

  • Wonderful illustrations ! Great talent …

    Claire Fauvel says:
  • In the early 90s I spent 2 months traveling in Japan. We had a small van which we slept in, every night we found the local Sento which was the highlight of the day. A new experience each time.

    Ben Halevi says:

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