Some time ago, I wrote about the typical house in Japan. When I met up with a Japanese friend, I got to know more about Japanese houses and how important the bathroom is for them.
It is obvious that the bathroom is important in every house, but in Japan it can become one of those areas where you spend most of your time, as this is the case with the living room or kitchen in Spain.
My friend told me that the Japanese-style bath is not very long, but rather deep and can hold a considerable amount of water.
He also said that the bath is designed in such way, that it can automatically prepare a bath for you for when you get home, so you can relax without having to wait. It should be noted that Japanese baths are able to heat the water automatically.
The Japanese method of taking a bath is to first rinse themselves in a special area of the bathroom (outside of the bath). After this, a person enters the bathroom to shower or to relax in the water. So it is typical to see a small stool where they first sit and lather themselves with soap before getting into the water.
Thus, the soaping ritual takes place outside of the bath. Once this is done, they rinse themselves again with water and once all traces of soap have been removed, one returns to the bath to finally enjoy the hot water and to relax.
The reason for this bathing ritual is that it saves water, so that other inhabitants of the house can use the same bathroom without having to re-fill the bath each time, and it also saves energy. That is why no one enters the bath with soap, in order to avoid contaminating the water.
Furthermore, the hot water can also be used in Japanese washing machines that only accept cold water to save energy.