Japan is known as the “Kingdom of Hot Springs”. Many tourists who come to Japan are eager to experience the unique Japanese style of enjoying the beautiful scenery, drinking ice drinks and soaking in hot springs. In addition to the common “male bath” and “female bath” style hot springs that are separated by men and women, “mixed bathing for men and women” is also an important part of Japanese hot springs, which is a traditional culture that has existed since ancient times. Many people are wondering about this “strange flower” phenomenon: Does this kind of scene appearing in variety shows, TV series and cartoons really exist in real life? The answer is yes. However, it is not easy to experience the “mixed bathing” culture, especially with the strict control of the Japanese government, there are more and more rules for mixed bathing.
“Mixed bathing” refers to men and women bathing in the same hot spring pool. Traditional mixed baths usually don’t wear clothes. You can take a bath towel to cover them before entering the water. You must “see you frankly” after you enter the bath. According to data records, Japan has had mixed bathing since ancient times. At that time, civilization was not yet civilized, and most people at the bottom of society went to bathe in hot springs in the wild. They believe that the hot spring is a gift from the gods. One soak can help you keep your body upright, and two soaks can eliminate all diseases. After a hard day’s work, take a comfortable bath in the hot spring to relax your body and communicate with other people. At that time, there was no special emphasis on the distinction between men and women, so there was no distinction between “male bath” and “female bath” in hot springs, and mixed bathing was a natural product.
In the Edo period, public baths called “Senyu” appeared in the bustling big cities, and people went to Sentou to bath in one after another. However, mixed bathing has reduced the “qiantang” to a place for sex trading, and the atmosphere is extremely poor, so most women reject mixed bathing places. In 1791, the Japanese government banned mixed bathing for men and women; during the Meiji Restoration, Japan strengthened its control over mixed bathing and issued a “Mixed Bathing Prohibition Order.” Gradually, traditional Japanese-style mixed bathing places were banned, and hotels, baths, etc. were all set up with separate hot spring pools for men and women.
Although the government has repeatedly banned it, mixed bathing, a culture that has been passed down for thousands of years, has not completely disappeared in Japan. In Kyushu and Tohoku areas, there are still many hot springs with mixed bathing for men and women. Many overseas tourists even travel thousands of miles to hunt for wonders . The author once saw an anchor filming a video of “Kyushu Secret Soup and Bathing Experience” on social media. This kind of hot spring hidden in the deep mountains and old forests is very difficult to find and the conditions are simple. Even the changing rooms are shared by men and women, but simply Place a curtain for partition. Although this type of hot spring is shared by men and women, most of the people who go to the bath are local grandparents and young people are not seen. The elderly hope to use hot springs to strengthen their body resistance and socialize at the same time.
Many netizens commented that the traditional mixed bathing hot springs are only used by the elderly. However, when I searched for mixed bathing, I also found that many websites recommended the “ranking list of good places for mixed bathing in Japan”. Most of these stores provide swimsuits and open-air hot springs. Because they are mostly hidden in beautiful scenery such as mountains and bamboo forests, young women can also easily experience the “improved” mixed bath.
Hot springs are places where Japanese men, women and children can warm their bodies and minds. Bathing in public baths is also a Japanese experience, but mixed bathing for adults is rare and there are many regulations to be followed. For example, you should cover your body with a bath towel before going to the bath; focus on the natural scenery when bathing in the hot springs, and do not sneak in the opposite sex; keep a proper distance in the pool and don’t strike up casual conversations…
There is a custom in Japan that seems weird to us-the “daddy bath”, that is, the father takes the child to take a bath (including bathing with his daughter). In their view, the parent-child mixed bath represents the warmth and harmony of the family and is a symbol of happiness. In the cartoon “Chibi Maruko”, Maruko’s grandfather and father took a bath with her. Normally, the daughter gradually realizes the difference between men and women after going to school, so she no longer bathes with her father.
In daily life, Japanese parents also bring their children to hot springs for mixed bathing, but this mixed bathing is likely to make other people who bathe in hot springs feel uncomfortable, especially children who are relatively older or grow faster. Recently, Tokyo once again lowered the age of mixed bathing for children in large bathing centers and other places, from the current under 9 years old to under 6 years old. In fact, restrictions on the age of mixed bathing have been around since the Edo period. Japanese experts believe that: “In a public bathroom in a big city, it is common for children and adults to bathe together, but guardians must think more about the feelings of others.”