Public bath rules

Japanese people love to take baths inside really hot water(40~50 degrees Celsius). Maybe is their lack of swimming pools or maybe is just that being a volcanic island makes it easy to build baths from hot spring water. Here there is some of the basic vocabulary related to the Japanese bath culture.

  • お風呂(ofuro): “bath” in general.
  • 銭湯(sentou): public “bath”. There is usually one “sentou” in each neibourhood, they are divided in one big bathtub for men an and one for women.
  • 温泉(onsen): hot spring. “Onsen” are located in volcanic areas.
  • 露天風呂(rotenburo): outdoor bath.
  • 野天風呂(notenburo): indoor bath.

The water is usually around 43 degrees, but it can be up to 50. I can go inside even when the water is 45, but no more! Japanese like the water to be REALLY hot. Next there is a poster with some of the rules you have to know before going to an “onsen” or “sentou”:

Original size

  • Do not take a bath with your underwear on.
  • Do not waste water.
  • Do not bring your towel with you into the tub.
  • Wipe yourself off before coming out to the dressing area.
  • Washing clothes of is not allowed.
  • Make sure to wash yourself well before getting into the tub.

I respect all these rules. But there is another rule, that is not written in this poster but everyone knows it, you can’t enter the bathing area with sandals. It’s a stupid rule! I think it’s one of the reasons why it’s so easy to get “athletes foot”(水虫=mizumushi= “bug water”), in summer you see that one of the most featured products in drugstores are ointments to treat fungus. They could start using sandals, I don’t think it would hard anyone, but sometimes stupid rules are difficult to change…

11 replies on “Public bath rules”

It’s missing a little cartoon guy sitting in the bath with bubbles coming out from under him “Please do no fart in the bath.”

This comment is in no way meant to be a perverse joke.

What is the etiquette regarding pubic/body hair ? Because seriously, I think someone who is relatively to excessively hairy, might not be entirely welcomed into the the bath.

Kind of gross if you think about sitting in a bath with some other dudes hairs floating around you.

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