Japanese people in general love to make things more enjoyable for themselves and others. So everyday things such as taking a bath in a tub at home, public bath and onsen: hot springs also have the way to do it. Read on to learn about manners to enjoy bathhouse experience in Japan.
Here is what to do and why for each step.
At the entrance, you will usually see red or blue cloth hanged in front of the entrance which is called Noren (のれん：暖簾). This is to create privacy or to shut down the sunlight.
Generally, red colour with 「女」means female bath, and blue colour with「男」means male bath. Sometimes you might see 「ゆ」or 「湯」printed on this cloth meaning ‘hot water’.
When you see this large cloth in front of you, you might not know what to do at first, but there is a way to deal with it. Using right hand if you are righthanded, you push the bottom corner of the middle of noren with back of your hand towards the room.
The shape of number 8 in kanji (八) is considered as spreading a good luck. This gesture is also considered good luck for the shops for many customers to come in. You will also naturally be greeting the place to pay respect. When you exit the place, you will be pulling the corner of cloth towards you with your back hand.
At the Change Room
1. Take off the shoes and place them in the locker making sure to take the key with you. If shoes and cloth locker is in one, the bottom part is where your pair of shoes will be stored.
2. Remove everything off you and neatly place them in the basket or the locker. If this is at yokan or onsen, you will place yukata or towel at the top to cover up your items.
3. Tie your hair, if your hair is touching the neck or sholder, so the hair does not fall into the tub.
4. Cover your front with a hand towel leaving bath towel behind. Now it is finally time to enter the washing area.
At the Washing Area
1. At first, go to the washing area, and wet yourself head to toe to gradually get used to the hot water and wash yourself. Be aware of around you to not sprash the water on other people.
2. Wash yourself head to toe, so the hot water in the tab can be kept clean.
In the Tub
Remove the hand towel off you and dip yourself in the tub and relax. * Bathhouse is for everyone to relax body and mind, so never swim in it.
Going back to the change room
1. Remove the most of the water off your body by hands
2. Lightly wipe off your body with well drained hand towel 3. Wipe off the back of the foot
Now you are ready to enter the change area making sure the floor of the change room stays dry
After the Bath
Public bath is usually hotter than home bath, so make sure to hydrate yourself. In Japan, it is popular to drink flavoured milk that comes in banana, chocolate and strawberry etc.
Now you are the master of enjoying public bath!
日本語で読んでみよう！：Let’s read in Japanese 銭湯（せんとう）
銭湯（せんとう）は公共（こうきょう）のお風呂（ふろ）（せんとう）には大（おお）きな浴槽（よくそう）があります。 「浴槽（よくそう）」のもう一（ひと）つの名前（なまえ）は「湯舟（ゆぶね）」です。 江戸時代（えどじだい）（1603-1868）には船（ふね）に浴槽（よくそう）がある、移動式（いどうしき）の銭湯（せんとう）がありました。 町（まち）から離（はな）れた場所（ばしょ）に住（す）んでいる人達（ひとたち）が使（つか）いました。 この船（ふね）のお風呂（ふろ）から「湯舟（ゆぶね）」という言葉（ことば）がのこりました。
10月（じゅうがつ）：October 10日（とおか）:10th 銭湯（せんとう）: public bathhouse 日（ひ）:Day
公共（こうきょう）: public お風呂（ふろ）: bath
浴槽（よくそう）: bathtub もう一（ひと）： another
名前（なまえ）: name 湯舟（ゆぶね）: bathtub 江戸時代（えどじだい）: Edo period
移動式（いどうしき）: movable 町（まち）: town
人達（ひとたち）: people 使（つか）う：use 言葉（ことば）: word
昭和（しょうわ）の時代（じだい）: period of Showa
通（かよ）う：commute 今（いま）: now
スーパー銭湯（せんとう）: super public bathhouse
娯楽（ごらく）: entertainment 人気（にんき）: popular
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