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350 places

FEATURED PLACES

  • Gengabashi Onsen Featured

    Gengabashi Onsen

    Osaka, Ikuno Ward, Hayashiji 1-5-33
    Built in 1937 for the grand sum of ¥80,000, a steal even in those days. As a cheeky wordplay the entrance is…
  • Sagano Onsen Tenzan no Yu Featured

    Sagano Onsen Tenzan no Yu

    Kyoto, Ukyō Ward, Saganomiyanomotocho 55-4
    This is not your regular neighborhood sentō. Tenzan No Yu is what is called a super sentō, a large bath house…
  • Funaoka Onsen Featured

    Funaoka Onsen

    Kyoto, Kita Ward, Murasakino Minamifunaokacho 82-1
    Funaoka Onsen is one of the most iconic bath houses in Kyoto. For over a hundred years locals and travellers…

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JAPAN BATHS, FOR THE LOVE OF WATER

The Japanese are a clean people. Unlike many western visitors they do not reek so much. When Europeans first set foot in Japan they were, after they were made to take their shoes off and leave them at the door, surprised by the cleanliness of the people. While not commonplace in their homelands, the Japanese had for centuries already been taking baths. Initially for the purpose of religious cleansing of the spirit. They soon discovered though that bathing was also a great tool to clean their very earthly bodies.

Since the twelfth century a unique bathing culture has developed in Japan, with public bath houses at the center of the neighborhood social networks. During the Edo period – between 1603 and 1868 – the bathing culture was at its peak.

After the World War II new houses were often equiped with private bath rooms. The number of bath houses started to decline. The culture of public bathing is however still very well alive in Japan. An estimated 6,000 – 7,000 bath houses still serve their customers all around Japan.

At Japan Baths we aim to make this centuries old part of the Japanese culture comprehensible and accessible to foreigners. Please, do respect the culture and experience the relaxation and joy of bathing in Japan.

LEARN

Bathing etiquette

What should you do and not do in a Japanese public bath.

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Glossary

Wonder what a bandai is? Learn bath house related Japanese.

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FAQ

Answers to a good number of questions on bathing in Japan.

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Bath house art

Check out our collection of Japanese bath house art.

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Books on Japanese bath houses

Read more about the Japanese bathing culture in some of these recommended books.

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