If you have been with Amayori for a while you know that every summer I write about one of my favorite things – the art of the summer bath. Summer bathing can have a cooling, rejuvenating effect on the body and mind. Every year I seem to discover little tips and tricks that make the experience even more special and as always, I love to share these tips with you.
Japan has a tradition of something called yusuzumi, which translates to “enjoying the cool of the evening after a hot summer day”. The experience of creating your own yusuzumi ritual is such a special treat and something to look forward to all year long.
Here is my summer 2017 yusuzumi bathing ritual:
Yukata: Yukata are a crisp, lightweight cotton kimono that are mainly worn in summer and they are my summer 2017 obsession. Yukata usually have simple, refreshing summer patterns. My favorite are the classic navy blue and white. During the hot summer, women in Kyoto tend to put aside their more formal kimono during the day and wear an elegantly fitted lightweight yukata instead. This year I treated myself to two- one with a bamboo pattern, and one with an iris pattern. I wear them with a simple belt just as I would a long robe. I love the feeling of slipping on fresh, clean, woven cotton before and after a bath in summer. It also makes the Kyoto Summer experience so much more authentic. More on this summer tradition as our Kyoto Summer Journey series unfolds.
Cold Barley Tea: Another 2017 summer obsession. Cold barley tea is a Japanese summer tradition. It is delicious, easy to make, and so refreshing. I love a cold glass with lemon before, during, and after the bath. I will be writing more about this wonderful tea and how to make it at home during the Kyoto Summer journal series.
Low Lights: Dim lighting makes us feel cooler. Get a few candles and light them so that you can turn off your ceiling lights. This creates your own little world – a private oasis.
The Kyoto Summer Aromatic Sake Soak: Nothing says a languid summer evening like this soak. There is something so refreshing about sitting on the edge of the bath and pouring an entire bottle into the tub. This alone feels cooling and relaxing. This soak is in a base of sake and lemon verbena hydrosol. Its fragrance is cooling and refreshing and captures the magic of summer in Kyoto – elegant, slow paced, and exotic. The ingredients in the soak will refresh and relax and are the perfect way to end a hot summer day. The key to a summer bath is to use lukewarm water, not hot water. Think of the temperature of the ocean during the summer or in a warm climate. This temperature for a bath envelopes and rejuvenates and is so relaxing.
Yuagari (after bath): After my summer bath I will have a light dinner or have some cold tea and relax. Most important is to go at a slow pace. Stop and smell the summer air and listen to the summer noises around you. Bask in the beauty that is unique to summer.
This is such a special time of year. It is a time to create magical memories – fragrant moments and escapes. I’m looking forward to sharing this special season and the Kyoto Summer experience with you.