Public bath culture in Japan

  • HOW TO
  • Bathing is a time-old tradition in Japan.

    Japanese people enjoy going to the public bathhouses, which are called sento. The first sentos appeared in Japan in 15th century. Despite the fact that there is a bathroom in every house, the habit of going to the sento is still very popular among the people. The number of sento in Japan has reached thousands.

    Price for visiting a sento is normally JPY300-700 for one-visit per person.
    Bathing in sento has it’s own rules: you must clean yourself by showering first, then enter the hot bath afterwards. There is no need to be shy with being naked among other people in the sento, since everyone is in the same situation as you, and nobody pays attention to other people’s bodies. Plus, the areas for men and women are separated.
    The water is usually kept at 45-50 degrees. It will be uneasy at first when you enter the bath, but stay for awhile and the hot water will ease you physically and mentally, then you will feel very refreshed and relaxed

    You can bathe in all of the indoor/outdoor baths, then go into the sauna, then continue bathing. After being in the hot baths, you can try going in the 0 degrees bath. This may sound scary but it actually helps your blood flow and strengthens your immune system.

    After taking a bath just sit on the bench and relax, wait for the skin to get dry naturally. Then, you can put on your clothes, go outside to grab some beer or cold milk! Your sleep that night is guaranteed to be easy and smooth!

    Sento manners

    If you have a chance to visit Japan, don’t hesitate to go to a sento. However, there are some rules you must know before visiting one:
    – Clean yourself thoroughly before entering the baths. Do not leave any soap on your body.
    – The majority of sento do not allow people with tattoos.
    – If it is your first time taking a hot bath, do not stay in for too long since hot water can affect your blood pressure and it can cause headaches. People with low/high blood pressures and pregnant women also need to pay extra attention.
    – Women should take care of their hair, don’t let it touch the water in the baths.
    – If going with other people, try and keep your conversations as quiet as you can, don’t let your noise ruin the relaxation of others.