The Amayori Sento — Japanese Bathing Rituals


A   J O U R N A L   O F   B E A U T Y

An Interview with Mark Edward Harris

 We recently welcomed the addition of one of my favorite books to the Amayori store: The Way of the Japanese Bath by Mark Edward Harris. I recently had the chance to interview Mark. We discussed his inspiration as a travel photographer, his first Japanese hot spring experience, his favorite type of Japanese hot spring, and more. Here you will also find a preview of just a handful of the breathtaking photographs found in The Way of the Japanese Bath. Q: How did you get your start in travel/documentary photography? A: It grew out of a love of freezing moments in time.  The camera has the unique ability to do that and that feeling of wonder which started with seeing an...

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A Peek Inside a Japanese Bathhouse

Walk into any bathhouse in Japan, and you are sure to find the same basic things, whether you are bathing at a Tokyo sento or a remote rural onsen.  Men’s and women’s baths are almost always separated. Each side is separated by a door or a noren curtain. When you first walk in, there are lockers or baskets so that you may stow your personal belongings. Since bathing is always done in the nude, you will also need to store your clothing or yukata (a cotton kimono often worn around Japan’s hot spring towns). This storage area is usually separate from the washing area. Next is the washing area. In Japan, washing is always done before soaking and is considered...

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Ashiyu: Effortless Relaxation from Japan's Hot Spring Towns

Ashiyu are foot baths that are found in some of Japan’s hot spring town. They are beloved for their lighthearted atmosphere, as they are an easy way to enjoy Japan’s mineral-rich waters with little effort. My last trip to Japan was in mid-spring. There was still a chill in the air, especially in the more remote areas that I ventured to. Toward the end of the trip, I began to feel under the weather. Though I wanted to get into the many nearby onsen (hot spring baths), I didn’t have the energy to undress and dress again. Ashiyu became a relaxing, healing alternative. The mental and physical benefits are many and mimic those of a full-body bath. The mental benefits...

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Two Ways to use the Aromatic Body Wash

The Aromatic Body Wash is more than a skin cleanser—it is a mood-shifting skin nurturer. Based on the Japanese ritual of showering before taking a bath, there are two ways to use the Aromatic Body Wash that will turn your shower into a beautiful experience for the skin and soul. As a Massage-Based Wash: At Japanese onsen (hot springs) or sento (public baths), there are washing stations set up with body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Upon entering the washing area, you find your spot and bring a washing bucket and a bench over to it. One of the things I have noticed when bathing in Japan is the amount of time women spend on the washing phase of their ritual. In...

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How to Take a Japanese Bath at Home

I am often asked about taking a Japanese-style bath at home. Bathing in the Japanese manner is life-changing. I hope that the info you will find below inspires you to bathe with intention on a regular basis. Atmosphere One of the most important parts of the at-home Japanese bath experience is setting up beforehand. After doing this a few times you may find that your bathroom changes entirely. This isn’t so much of a long, drawn-out process as it is a few simple steps that will make your bathing ritual even more enjoyable and authentic. Start with a Clean Bath: This can be done whenever you have extra time, perhaps while doing a face mask or while waiting for dinner...

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