Japanese Bathtubs - The Different Types

It can be easy to imagine that all Japanese bathtubs are basically the same but the truth is that there are quite a few different types of Japanese baths available.

Japanese bathtubs offer a different experience than a typical western bathtub. While western bathtubs are meant to simply help a person get clean, Japanese tubs are designed to hold hotter water and are meant for soaking after the bather is already clean. Japanese bathtubs are usually installed next to other bathing apparatuses. Some people might choose to install a standing shower next to the Japanese bathtub. Others might choose to imitate the traditional Japanese bathing experience, with a small hand held shower head, a stool and a drain.

Traditional (original) Japanese baths were always constructed from wood. This is because the wood was supposed to enhance the therapeutic and restorative value of the bath itself. These types of Japanese bathtubs can still be found in spas or at hot springs as well as in some people's homes. Modern Japanese bathtubs, however, are made out of the same materials used for western bathtubs: ceramics, stainless steel, fiber glass, porcelain, etc.

With wooden Japanese tubs, the water is rarely drained from the tub between uses. This is because the actual washing is done outside of the tub so the water does not get dirty the way it would if it was used for regular washing. These tubs usually come with a fitted cover to keep the heat from escaping and to keep other objects from landing in the water.

The Sento is another type of Japanese tub. These Japanese tubs are communal and are sometimes referred to as bath houses. These Japanese bath get separated into two areas: one for men and one for women. The washing is done in a separate area and the bathers will usually sit in the Japanese bathtubs without any sort of clothing or covering though a small wash cloth can be used to cover a bather's private areas.

An Onsen is a type of Sento. These are Japanese tubs which get their water directly from natural hot springs. The Japanese culture dictates that these waters are very valuable for their healing and purifying properties so these outdoor Japanese bathtubs are very popular-far more popular than the Sento which is seeing a decline in patronage.

Obviously a Japanese home is not going to have a Sento or an Onsen within its walls. In fact, the Japanese home is more likely to have a Japanese bathtub that is constructed out of western bathtub materials (previously mentioned). Some Japanese families build their bathrooms to look just like western bathrooms-with long and narrow Japanese tubs sitting at one end of their bathrooms and a separate area for actual washing to take place (this area is sometimes enclosed or also constructed out of bathtub materials used in the west).

Japanese bathtubs offer a wonderful way to relax and soak without having to worry about washing. Is it any wonder that Japanese bathtubs are becoming more and more popular throughout the western world?

Japanese Bathtubs - The Different Types
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