In Japan, bathing is an art form.
When on vacation, people in Japan love to visit hot springs to relax and bathe in the mineral-rich water. There are so many beautiful hot spring resorts across the islands, and many outdoor pools feature breathtaking views of mountain, sea, and even ice.
At home, bath, or Ofuro (お風呂), is an integral part of daily life. It’s a place to unwind at the end of a long day. It’s also a place for families to spend quality time together. A lot has been explained on the rules and facilities of Japanese baths in our previous series and now in our final volume of Bath Culture in Japan, we will walk you through some of the most often seen bathing accessories in a Japanese household.
Japanese people use a variety of bath accessories to keep the body soft and smooth.
One of the most common is a small, rough cloth called a "body towel" that bathers use to exfoliate the skin and wash the body. You'll find these in most Japanese homes and hotels.
Some prefer to use bathing mitts, which are gloves sewn together from body towel fabric. These make it easier to exfoliate as you shower.
Others use sponges or scrubbing brushes for the same effect.
You might be surprised when you visit any Japanese household and see that there is a stool inside their bath. But if you think clearly, you might recall that all onsen facilities are equipped with these stools. One of the biggest purposes of the stool is for you to sit down and clean your body without having to stand for the whole time.
In Japan, you'll also find a lot of bath salts or 入浴剤 (nyuyokusai) that add an extra boost to the bath. Popular bath salts include natural Epsom salts, moisturizing salts, salts that warm the body naturally, and salts with good-smelling or relaxing aromas.
These salts are great for improving skin conditions, healing cold sensitivity, and relieving stress.
One popular type of salt has a natural wood smell to recreate the feeling of soaking in a traditional wooden bath.
And since bathing is something most people do every night, there are a number of ways to stay entertained during a long soak.
Many companies sell waterproof phone covers that allow busy teens to keep texting while they're in the bath. Other companies sell TVs to allow people to watch their favorite shows from the water.
For kids, the fun doesn't stop there.
Fun bath toys
Parents in Japan seem to find bath time a great learning opportunity for their kids. Some of the most popular bath toys on Amazon are world maps, sheets of numbers or letters, or crayons that write on bathroom walls.
Other popular toys are the classic rubber duck or rubber versions of characters from children's anime shows.
The next time you stay in a Japanese hotel or home, why not try this way of bathing? Pick up a bottle of bath salt or a body towel for an even better experience.