What's So Different?

   
   

The procedure certainly. Soap never goes near the water. Nor towels, chemicals, brushes... And its proportions too, with steep walls and shortened for comfort and compactness and conserving energy and water. The low surface area helps to keep the water hot. At the same time, it’s not possible to stretch out and lay horizontal, and perhaps fall asleep, a safety feature without intent. At its best, it’s of the simplest shape and deep enough so one can easily submerge to the chin.

If you are most fortunate, you’ll have a bath outside in a beautiful garden fed by a permanent hot spring – the preliminary heaven. The less fortunate look out upon something growing, something tranquil, perhaps from a bath made from a fragrant wood.

The Japanese bath is much hotter, often 42°C, and there are many varieties of herbs added as well as mineral salts ( ‘yunohana’ ) which attempt to replicate the constituents of particular mineral springs.