Today’s blog is all about Japanese House Bathroom (Ieburo).
Unlike in Europe where bathing was kept minimal since water was believed to be the source of illness, Japanese had no fear for water as it meant purification, backed by religious (Shinto and Buddhism) beliefs.
As sento (Public Bath) became popular entertainment in the Edo Era (1603- 1867), idea of designated bathing area in private residence, Japanese House Bathroom, was also introduced and spread throughout the country after World War II.
There is a funny story from the Meiji Era (1868 – 1912) that foreigners thought Japanese mob was the cleanest mob in the world; although Japanese always had dusty and filthy appearance, foreigners acknowledged that even the lowest members of society in Japan were highly hygienic, knowing that they bathed at least once a day and franticly scrubbed themselves.
As a modern ieburo, Japanese House Bathroom, style, a whole family will bathe in the same water. The water is kept warm by using a temperature maintaining system, also inclusive of reheating the bath from the day before. As it is assumed that the whole family showers and washes up before using the bathtub, reheating the water from day before is considered eco-friendly and economical.
Bath additives for ieburo are very popular; recent bath additives are more targeted towards beauty-conscious women; bath bubble, bath salt, bath oil, etc. This popularity must have come from the fact that natural bath additives had been used since long ago for therapy.
Japanese used them on special occasions to celebrate heath. Before fancy bath additives for women became popular, family targeted bath additives were popular as some included the same components as onsen and similar effect of bathing in onsen was expected.
Despite being at home, just using a standard ieburo system and traditional bath additives can be a real treat at the end of the day.