Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten



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Do you like taking a bath?
We hear frequently that people take only a shower these days, but there should not be many people who don’t like bathing as of Japanese.
Today we talk about “ bathing”.

Japanese bathing culture

What is your idea of bathing?

Bathing for Japanese is a daily custom and not only to wash ourselves but to soak covering shoulders to recover from mental fatigue. As well there are some episodes that some people spend bath time by listening to music, reading books and especially for men the so-called "Hadaka (naked) no Tsukiai (social communication)", open-minded talk.
We hear there are many countries on abroad people take shower only, and wash themselves inside a bathtub. So when a foreigner bathes in Japan, it often happens they pull out a stopcock after bathing once each because he didn't know Japanese people generally use the same hot water in the tub until the last one takes.

bath time

Japanese evolutional bathing

Japan is very well known as volcanic island in the world. So that there are many hot springs bubbling all over Japan since ancient days. People in the old days used to utilize natural springs with steam bathing in rocky caves and cave houses, it's like a "Sauna" today.

The oldest bathing in Japan is Ishiburo (Rock caved bathing) with which was dotted in Seto island. It was just like a sauna steaming bath in a natural cave. In the 6th century after Buddhism was introduced into Japan, old temples like a Todai facilitated steam bath called Yudou(spa temple) or Yokudou (bath temple) with large steel heater. In Buddhism there was preached that bathing "prevents 7 illness and brings 7 happiness in return" Priests and people appreciated the hot sprig for physical and mental purification, and frequently for medical treatment.

In Edo era, bathing became "Sueburo" which means to soak up to neck deeply. A bathtub was made of wood conveniently scaled for one person to minimize water volume. In those days there was mainly used "Teppo furo" (Rifle bathtub), which was set steel pipe with air hole around the edge of tub, and put firewood in it. Then by air flows the fire burns longer. In south Kansai, Goemon style was introduced broadly which facilitated boiler underneath of tub.
And in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate because mixing bathing gradually prohibited. Finally they put separated each other of men and women as where public bath were broaded up to 600 places in the Edo era. For men bathing place mostly with 2 floors and people spent there as a social place enjoyed munching sweets, playing Shogi and Go in a recreation room. It seems like a "Super sento (public bathing) nowadays, doesn't it?

After Meiji era, steam bath disappeared and tub was renovated to facilitate to placed in center of wooden plates so that they could pour full with hot water. Moreover ceiling of bath rooms was built wider, higher, so that it became more comfortable in open aired and clean. This style got featured as "innovative bath" in those days.
Becoming Taisho era bathing became more modernized. Wooden duckboards and tub were shifted into tiled. Lately water facilities were developed and generated broadly, bathing became more clean by setting water force pump・・・・you might be inspired here to put an image of yellow wash bowls those days. (smile) *yellow wash bowls: it was a typical color of the bowls in the bathrooms with ads.

After the war, public bath was used by many people due to deficit of housing. Although those public bath are disappearing nowadays, the style of public bath never stops being admired as a recreation always close to people. "Households bath" got improved as daily entertainment facilities such as Jacuzzi, waterproof TV, misty sauna as our Japanese bathing culture.
There are many people who try various comfortable bathing measures such as to soak half the body or use bath salt. Bathing culture are continuously improving by creating Onsen (Hot spring), Super Sento (furo/bathe) and Spa.

Sento (public bathing)

3,085 Hot Spring in Japan

According to data of Japanese Hot Spring Research Institute, the country is reputed to have 3085 Onsen Hot Springs in time of March, 2014.
Hokkaido is the most existence of hot spring with 254 spots in Japan. But it is not included as " the 3 most famous hot springs in Japan", but these 3 are Arima (Hyogo prefecture), Kusatsu (Gunma pref) and Gero (Gufy pref).

These 3 names are introduced in a poet "umehana mujinzou" by Syukyu Mansato who is a priest poet of Kyoto Sokokuji temple the 5 Kyoto mountains in Muromachi era. Receiving the above introduction, Razan Hayashi who was a Confucian scholar in Edo era also reported with the origin giving name the same.

The Japan country is reputed to have over onsen called "the 3 big Japanese beauty spring ", of where is well known among women in Kawanaka (Gunma pref), Ryujinn (Wakayama pref) and Yunokawa (Shimane pref) We are not sure from where the source is, but so-called beauty spring indicates Hydrocarbon element which beautifies effectively and smoothes skin with fairy lustrous complexion.


Shigaraki yaki porcelain bathtub in Hotel Ryumeikan

It is not too much to say the hot spring is the heart of Japanese and is rooted deeply in our daily life.
We Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten would like to welcome you to enjoy your stay and comfort yourself with a bathing facilitated Shigaraki yaki tub in all rooms from where is well known with tanuki (raccoon dog) in Kouga city in Shiga prefecture.
Once you soak yourself in the porcelain tub, you will be fully embraced and recovered from fatigue in cozy ambience.
Please experience wonderful furo (bathing) culture in Japan.
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Shigaraki yaki porcelain bathtub in Hotel Ryumeikan

14th, November, 2014