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.
Japan Baths currently has information on public bath houses in the following cities: