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[How to Take Japanese Bath] Happy Time Was Born by Thinking of Others

May 2nd, 2013

How to Take Japanese Bath

How to Take Japanese Bath

Japanese like bathing in hot water. Because the bathing has been valued by teachings of Buddha and Shinto religion, and a cold winter comes to Japan, Japanese have a habit of warming their bodies in the hot bathtub widely. The bathing makes us feel so good, and it is the happy time for a lot of Japanese. The moment I soak into a bathtub I can not help making a voice. Thanks Japanese ancestor for making a great habit. Especially, Japan has a lot of hot springs given by blessings of volcanos, and about 3000 hot spring places are dotted with the Japan. Those places have been useful as a care place for a lot of people such as a lord and ordinary people since long time ago. Lately, a lot of Japanese come to public baths to refresh themselves. I think that the bathing is one of the Japanese culture.

How to Take Japanese Bath

It is said that the bathing is commonized in the Edo periodo in the Japan. Sento (銭湯) using boil hot water, a public bath, has been spreaded all over the Japan, and I guess that a culture of soaking with other people is rooted in the Japan. The boil hot water using water and firewood is valuable, so old Japanese made the establishment of sharing hot water of a bathtub. Because a lot of people shared the bathtub, so Japanese Bathing Etiquette was born to comfortably take a bath each other. Unlike a bathroom of another countries, a wash place for body is separated from a bathtub, and I guess that it is an idea to use effectively the valuable hot water. Japanese have been carried on the etiquette even today, and a lot of bathing facilities preserve the tradition. Famous Japanese bathing etiquette is as follows.

Movie of How to Bath Onsen

Movie of How to Bath Public Bath

Famous Japanese Bathing Etiquette

  • * Please take your all clothes off at a dressing room, and take a bath naked, and hide between your legs with a small towel while moving.
  • * Please wash your body with shower or pour hot water on yourself with a pail before entering a bathtub. Particularly, wash your sweaty parts carefully.
  • * Please use shower while having a seat.
  • * Do not put a small towel into hot water of a bathtub. Let’s put the small towel on your head not to soak into the hot water. It is a pefect Japanese bathing style.
  • * If a public bathhouse has a lot of bathtubs, let’s take all bathtubs to enjoy yourself. You may hide between your legs with a small towel while moving.
  • * Do not swim at a bathtub. You become an annoyance to surrounding people.
  • * Please do not run arround at a public bathhouse. You may fall down on the slippy bathfloor.
  • *Do not take a picture at a public bathhouse if other people a lso take a bath at the bathhouse. You become an annoyance to surrounding people, and insisted on wanting to take a picture, please obtain permission to other bather.
  • * Do not defecate or urinate at a bathtub and a public bathhouse.
  • * When you get out of the public bathhouse, please dry yourself well with a small towel at the public bathhouse before going a dressing room.
How to Take Japanese Bath

People from different countries may be be puzzled by unique Japanese customs related to bathing in a public bathhouse. For example, entrances of public bathhouses, most of bathing facilities have gender-segregated entrances. In most cases, curtains are hung on the entraces, and bluish cartain means the publicbathhouse for men, and reddish cartain means the publicbathhouse for women generally. But those cartains mean reverse gender very rarely, so watch Japanese letters carefully. 男 or 殿 on the cartain mean the the publicbathhouse for men, and 女 or 姫 on the cartain mean the publicbathhouse for women. As for public bathhouses of hotels, some hotels replace the the publicbathhouse for men with the publicbathhouse for women depending on time of day or day of the week, so you had better watch the cartain thoroughly.

Entrances for Public Bathhouses
How to Take Japanese Bath

Most of non Japanese people seem to be bewildered by bathing naked in front of a lot of people. I am also bewildered by nude in public, but I am Ok at the public bathouse. It is said that the reason to force bathers to take a bath naked at the public bathhouse is to keep hot water or hot springs from dirtying or damaging by a fiber of towels and swimming suits. I guess that it is one of traditional bathing etiquette to think of other people. On the other hand, some bathing facilities allow to take a bath while wearing bathing clothes (湯浴み着) to hide operation scar. So I recommended people feeling awkward nude to take a bath in wearing the bathing clothes. A lot of female bathers take a bath at mixed bathing bathtubs while wearing the bathing clothes. Refer to those is as follows. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.


How to Take Japanese Bath
Bathing Clothes for Women(女性用湯浴み着)
Bathing Clothes for Men(男性用湯浴み着)

The number of overseas onsen fans is growing lately, but a lot of bathing facilities do not accept people with tattoos because people with tattoos are regarded as the persons concerned the yakuza and gangsters in the Japan. A lot of Japanese are afraid of their tattoos, so people with tattoos are not allow to enter a lot of the bathing facilities. But some bathing facilities have no regulations, so watch Tattoo-Friendly. From my experience, I can find its tendency that the people with tattoos are allow to take a bath grows more if I go to rustic areas. By the way, some bathing facilities allow people with small tattoos to take a bath if they hide their tattoos with tattoo hidden seal (タトゥー隠しシール). Refer to that is as follows. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

How to Take Japanese Bath
Tattoo Hidden Seal(タトゥー隠しシール)

As for bathing hot water or hot spings, non people familiar with those may feel dizzy or bad, so please drink enough water before taking a bath or after taking a bath. Soaking into a bathtub for 5-10 minutes at a time is a guide. The long bathing is not good for body at a time. Putting a cold small towel on the head seems to be effectively for not feeling dizzy or bad. In my case, First I take a bath for about 5 minutes, and take a sauna for about 3 minutes, and last take a cold bath to cool down myself. I will do 4 sets of those. Bathing the cold bath is effectively for normalizing the autonomic nervous system, so I like it. Please wash your sweat off before entering a cold bathtub after taking the sauna.

How to Take Japanese Bath



  1. good! hokkaido! says:

    Hi, Oliver, thank you for your comment.
    So, you want to know how to take a Japanese bath with reviews?

  2. Oliver says:

    Can you make an article on how to use a Japanese toilet seat like this?


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