The Japanese take more hot baths than any other people in the world. Bathing has been an important part of Japanese culture since ancient times.
Today, there is growing evidence that the custom of regular bathing in hot water is part of what makes the Japanese one of the healthiest and longest-lived populations in the world.
One of Japan’s leading researchers on the science of bathing is Hayasaka Shin’ya, who has been studying the health benefits of hot springs for more than 20 years.
The Relaxing, Health-Giving Properties of a Hot Bath
Many Japanese people take a bath more or less every day. In some parts of the world, people may refer to showering as “taking a bath,” but not in Japan. In Japan, simply showering does not count.
In Japanese, the phrases nyūyoku (bathing) or ofuro ni hairu (to take a bath) normally involve immersing the whole body in a tub of hot water.
Research suggests that whereas people in many parts of Europe and America now make do with just a shower nearly 90% of the time, in Japan between 70% and 80% of people still bathe in the traditional way at least several times a week.
This rises to 90% or more in families with small children. The proportion of the population that rarely or never takes a bath, relying on showers alone, is just 10%. It is no exaggeration to say that in Japan the hot tub is king.
Bathrooms in Japanese homes—which are kept totally separate from the lavatory—normally contain a bathtub deep enough to immerse the whole body.
Would you take more hot baths than just taking a shower?
Do you like hot springs? Where is your favorite?