Japanese toilet slippers

Scrub-a-Dub-Dub in Japan

Bathing is a crucial part of the Japanese daily routine. Baths are not just for cleaning your body but for relaxing as well. A typical Japanese bathroom is made up of two areas: an entrance room with a sink where you can undress and the actual bath area equipped with a deep bath tub and a shower.

Japanese toilet

Japanese squat toilet.

How to bathe Japanese-style

Bathing Japanese-style means that you wash and rinse your body before getting into the tub. The tub is used for soaking only. The bath water is hotter than Western standards. A traditional Japanese tub is square and deep enough to reach your shoulders while sitting down.

Rather than being drained after one use, the water is continually kept warm with the help of heating equipment, and the same water is used by the entire household. A lid or cover on the tub helps maintain water temperature when not in use. Take hair or any debris out of the water after use.

If you are a guest in someone’s house, the same bathing rules apply. Wash outside the tub and soak in the tub. Whenever you are sharing bath water, make sure you leave it clean for the next user. However, if you are staying in a hotel, these rules may not apply.

Japanese bathhouse

Japanese bathhouse.

Modern Japanese Baths

Bathtubs are becoming more popular in Japanese modern homes, but old or small apartments may not have tubs. This gave way to the popularity of public bath houses, sento (銭湯). Bath houses are usually segregated by sex; people bathe nude or with a small washcloth to cover the genital parts. Pachinko parlors, hotels, and spas may have sento for customer use.