What’s bathing like in a Japanese home?

The evening bath is still a ritual in many Japanese homes. The Japanese bath is for bathing purposes only, not for cleaning. Before entering the bath, wash with soap outside the bath and rinse all the soap off. Use the bath itself only for soaking and relaxing, much as you would take a hot tub. Families usually take baths in the evening before or after dinner.

The bath water is often hot compared to Western standards. If you are not accustomed to the high temperature, please explain this to your host family and ask if you may add cold water to the bath. Most likely it won’t be a problem, but it is polite to ask permission.

It is also important to let your host family know when you customarily use the bath or shower and arrange a routine that accommodates both you and your family. This is especially important if you are with a big family. Each family member has a routine, so make sure there are no conflicts.

Don’t drain the bath water after using it, as it may be used by other family members.

  • Each family has a different system for the hot water supply. It can be dangerous if misused. Make sure your host family explains their system. If you don’t understand completely, please talk to your student coordinator.
  • In Japan, people shut the bathroom or shower door after leaving. So even when not in use, the door may be shut. Check by knocking.