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2006.05.25

忘帰洞異聞-銭湯の深さ

060515takamatsucruiseboukidou7

那智勝浦・ホテル浦島の洞窟温泉「忘帰洞」についてはご存知の方が多いと思う。
自然の洞窟の中で温泉に漬かりながら、眼の前に拡がる太平洋の黒潮と荒波を眺める、まことに雄大な温泉である。
紀州の殿様が「帰ることを忘れる」と言ったとかでこの名が付いた。
ホテル浦島はこの温泉で当てて増築に次ぐ増築を重ね、大ホテルになった。

宿泊客でなくても温泉だけに入れる。
ホテルは岬にあって街中からは離れているのだが、無料の通船が出ていてどんどん客を運ぶ。それがまた旅情を誘う。
私が最初にヨットで入港し「忘帰洞」に入ったのは30年前であった。当時入湯料は500円だった。
その後値上げが続き、10年ほど前ついに2000円となった。
もう眺めも堪能し、風呂だけで2000円は高いじゃないかと、その頃から街中の銭湯に行くようになった。280円が現在320円になっている。

今年、<幾らになっているかなあ?2500円とかいうのかしらん。聞いてみよう。>と試しに聞いたら、なんと1000円だという。
3、4年前に値下げしたらしい。知らなかった。
勝浦には殆ど毎年入港している。1000円なら行ってやって悪くもない。
しかし思い込みとは恐ろしいもので、一度高いと思われたら値下げしても客足は戻らないのである。

いつもの銭湯「はまや」の番台のおばさんにその話をしたら、おばさんも2000円と思っていた。
<だけど、あそこは循環式だけど、うちは掛け流しだよ。>と自慢した。
いい銭湯だ。
060515takamatsucruise_009hamaya


ところで皆さんは昔の銭湯の湯船が深かったのを覚えているだろうか。どこの銭湯も湯船の面積は狭くて深さが深かった。
(私の知見は主として漁港の銭湯だが。)
あれは公衆衛生の観点から湯量を確保するために、「公衆浴場法」とやらで<深さ○○メートル以上>と決まっていたらしいのだ。
「はまや」の深さは80センチである。その後行った淡路・福良の銭湯は95センチも深かった。
これは子供には恐怖だろう。深さも怖いし、ばしゃばしゃ泳いだらたちまち叱られる。

そんな銭湯がどんどん消えてゆく。伊豆大島・波浮港の松の湯なんか懐かしい。
代わって○○センターなんて施設があちこちに出来ている。これはもうゴルフ場の風呂みたいに広い、浅い風呂で、豪華で、大抵眺めが素晴らしい。
これはこれでいいのだが、入浴しながらいつもなんだか不正に加担しているような後ろめたさを感じるのである。

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

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