Traditional Japanese Bathing is considerable different than what is practiced in Western Culture. While in Western Culture all cleaning, scrubbing and rinsing is down within the shower/hot tub, in Japanese Culture, individuals clean, scrub and rinse their bodies outside of the hot tub, only entering afterwards for a final rinse and relaxation.

The custom is to thoroughly clean oneself with soap and rinse before entering the tub, so as not to contaminate the bath water. The tub itself is not for cleaning, but the social contact and well-being. Until the 19th century, the Japanese did not use soap, but rubbed the skin with certain herbs, or rice bran, which was also a natural exfoliant.
After soaping, the individual would rinse the soap from their body either via a shower or a filled water container/tub.



  • In modern times, most homes in Japan have a bathroom which was often not the case during and before the 1970's, when public bathhouses and Hot Springs were often used instead.
  • Due to varying sized hot tubs, and since swimming is part of Japanese social life, in some house holds it is common that all members of a family bathe together in a tub at the same time. Much like in public baths, sometimes guests would be invited to join a bath as part of hospitality.
  • If the tub is not large enough for multiple bathers, bathing takes place in the traditional order: first the head of the family, then the men in order of decreasing age, and finally the women.
  • Bath water in Japan is much hotter than what is usual in Western Culture. The temperature is usually well above 40°C due to medical literature stating that 47°C is considered bearable for men and that the heat is considered a prerequisite for complete relaxation.

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