The Japanese Wellness Ritual of the Daily Soak

Japanese Bath, Amayori

Earlier this August, I had an experience in Japan that shifted my perception on bathing. I was staying at the house of a friend’s family and, as in true Japanese culture, I was offered to use the bath first. In Japan, where almost everyone bathes every night, it is traditional for families and guests to share bath water (perfectly OK since in Japan one showers off first). I took my soak and lingered as I often do — for 30 minutes or so. When I got out of the bath I had a sense I did something wrong. I begged my friend to tell me if I made a cultural faux-pas. She pulled me aside and explained that I had been in the bath a bit longer than one would expect.

"In these 15 minutes, the cares of the day are released and a newfound calm is obtained."

Japanese bathing culture values long, languorous soaks in hot springs and bath houses and occasionally at home. What I learned on this trip was that the average evening bath after a long day at work is really quite short and simple — usually about 15 minutes. In these 15 minutes, the cares of the day are released and a newfound calm is obtained.

Think about it for a moment — 15 minutes — it’s less time than a yoga or meditation class, less time and better for you than a cocktail, even less time or effort than going for a massage. Imagine adding this daily ritual to your life as an end-cap to your day to help you transition from work into a relaxing evening… life would change dramatically. On that note, get ready for something extra special coming next week. I can't wait to share this new mood-shifting ritual with you.

Warmest wishes,