Do you dream of a magical floating oasis surrounded by wild deer, fresh seafood, and sweet matcha treats? I certainly do! While we may not be able to visit the “Island of the Gods,” we can certainly create the Japanese hot springs (onsen) experience at home.
Even pre-COVID, the Japanese weren’t always able to make it to the onsen. Modern life in all corners of the world can get well… busy. More and more, we are juggling multiple roles and ever expanding to-do lists seem to rule our lives. Still, the Japanese don’t save spa days for vacations and special occasions. They are daily treats to keep the body healthy from the inside out. In fact, it is not unusual for Japanese women to spend more than one hour per day in the bath!
Baths are important in Japanese culture. Why? Because at the heart of their wellness philosophy is cleanliness. Buddhism teaches that purity is key to having a peaceful mind and good morals. Even Shinto deities (or Kami) are said to cringe at the sight of filth. And let’s not forget the non-believers that also meet the impeccable standards for cleanliness.
A long and steamy bathtub session is the perfect antidote to toxins and impurities. However, bathtub time has many other wellness benefits. Baths promote blood circulation and reduce muscular tensions and inflammation. More so, they help us detach from the worries of daily life and wash away negative energies. There is also a Japanese belief that taking a bath may drive away bad luck and attract good fortune.
A Japanese-Style Bath Recipe
Are you ready to treat every day like it’s a spa day? This bath recipe will leave your skin crystal clear and moist like rice mochi dough.
The recipe contains yuzu, a small Asian citrus fruit known to promote circulation and tone the skin. During the winter solstice, many public hot baths and hot springs in Japan throw yuzu fruit in the water for good luck and to ward off illness in the coming year.
Green tea is also used for its mega-doses of antioxidants that repair skin and help protect it from sun damage. Plus, green tea’s natural tannins and anti-inflammatory powers soothe irritation.
The recipe also contains mandarin essential oil to reduce acne, wrinkles and stress, and cypress essential oil for its grounding and balancing properties. Lastly, the salt exfoliates dead skin, and repairs skin with its nourishing minerals such as magnesium, calcium and zinc.
What You Need
- 2 – 3 yuzu fruits
- 2 cups (540 g) sea salt
- 1 cup Himalayan salt
- Matcha Green Tea powder – 2 tablespoons
- Sweet almond oil – 2 tablespoons
- Cypress essential oil – 10 drops
- Mandarine essential oil – 10 drops
Prepare the bath recipe
Combine the salts and matcha green tea powder, and mix well. Separately combine the sweet almond carrier oil and essential oils. Add the oils to the salt mixture, and mix well. Pour the salt mixture into a container. Next, wash and dry the yuzu fruits. Pierce the fruits with a fork, and cut into strips. Set the yuzu aside.
Take a shower
Do as the Japanese do and take a quick shower before stepping into the bath. The reason is strictly hygienic.
Prepare the bathtub
Once you’ve taken your shower and rinsed off all the soap and grime, it’s time to fill the tub with scalding hot water (min. 104 °F). Yes, the Japanese like it hot! This helps to eliminate toxins and improve the metabolism. Next, add your homemade bath mixture and yuzu fruits to the steamy water.
Once your bastion of bliss is all set up, step on in. Soak for 20 – 30 minutes. After the bath, wait at least one hour before going to bed.
May this sweet and citrusy bath cleanse your mind, body and spirit and promote radiant health all year round.
What do you like to add to your baths? Share in the comments!
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- Botaneri, Drew. “DIY ‘Japanese Forest Bathing’ Bath Salt Soak.” Botaneri, 10 Feb. 2019.
- Builder, Maxine. “Everything You Need for a Japanese-Style Onsen Bath at Home.” The Strategist, The Strategist, 23 Jan. 2018.
- Gerber, Stephanie, and Daniela Schmid. Hello Glow. Mvg Verlag, 2017.
- Hill, Kathryn. “Celebrate Winter Solstice With Yuzu In The Bath.” Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 25 May 2019.
- Japan Today. “Japanese Bathtub Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter.” Japan Today.
- McMeekin, Samantha. “Your Guide to All Things J-Beauty and Why It Will Totally Transform Your Skin.” Glamour UK, Glamour UK, 5 Nov. 2019.
- Misato, and Isabelle Bruno. Japon: L’art De La Beauté Zen. Hachette Pratique, 2015.
- Tokyo Creative Travel. “Hygiene Practices in Japan.” Tokyo Creative Travel.
Photos by pongvit, PRImageFactory, Eugene03 and Tatyana Maximova on iStock