The origins of bathing culture in Japan trace back to the 6th century when Buddhist purification rituals were first introduced. These practices aimed to purify both the body and spirit, enhancing overall health through the use of heat and steam. Consequently, numerous temples across Japan feature baths as integral components of their facilities.

Edo period

The Edo period (1603-1868) saw  bathing culture change as sento (bath houses) allowed this ritual to be available to the common people, rather than being reserved for the royal and devine. 

Another hallmark of this period is the mixed bath where men and women shared public bathing space, and was considered natural during this time period. Later during the Meiji period, nude mixed bathing was banned, as a preservation of public morals.


Present-day Japan continues to celebrate its rich bathing culture. While the prevalence of in-home baths has reduced the dependence on public baths, the connection to tradition, legend, and history remains strong.

Participating in the ritual of bathing at a Sento (Bath House) is akin to stepping into a historical narrative, where societal hierarchies dissolve, and individuals from diverse backgrounds converge on equal footing.

As part of the purification ritual, guests undergo a foot bath to cleanse themselves of any negative energies from the external environment.

Common Rules of Bathing

Given the spiritual significance of bathing in Japan, it’s important to adhere to certain etiquettes to fully appreciate this ritual.

  1. Upon entering the center, kindly remove your shoes. This not only maintains cleanliness but also respects the sanctity of the bathhouse environment.

  2. Please maintain a peaceful atmosphere by refraining from loud behavior. As everyone seeks relaxation, displaying zen-like calmness ensures the tranquility of others’ experiences.

  3. As part of the Bath House etiquette, we kindly ask individuals with long hair to keep it securely tied up in a bun upon entering our premises. This measure aids in preventing any hair from entering the baths, thus ensuring a more enjoyable environment for all.

  4. Prior to entering the bath, cleanse your body with hot water (kakeyu). This not only contributes to cleanliness but also initiates the purification ritual.

  5. While in the bath, avoid vigorous scrubbing of the body. Although the bath enhances skin softness, excessive scrubbing may compromise the cleanliness of the baths, hindering others’ enjoyment of the ritual.

  6. Refrain from bringing towels into the bath to prevent water contamination. Instead, place the towel on the shelves provided in the bathing area for storage during soaking.

  7. Please abstain from introducing any chemicals into the bath. In a communal setting like a public bath (sento), the focus is on collective bathing enjoyment. Applying face masks or sunscreen can pollute the water, detracting from the shared ritual experience.