Japan has more public baths per capita than any other country in the world. And Japanese are more bath-obsessed than any other people in the world – Japanese cruisers generally evaluate a moorage spot based on how close it is to a bath...and on how nice the bath is. Japan has great baths!

There are two types of baths – onsen hot spring baths and sento public baths using water heated by, usually, wood-fired furnaces.

Here are a few of my bathing highlights.

A photo of Kirk taking bath in outdoor onsen
Seaside rotenburo (outdoor) onsen in Yakushima, Kagoshima.
A photo of Dogo Onsen
Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama, Ehime (northwest Shikoku). With a history of almost 1,500 years, it is the oldest onsen in Japan.
A photo of public bath entrance
Public bath in Tosa-Shimizu, Kochi (southwest Shikoku) – ladies to the left, gentlemen to the right.
A photo of rows of soap boxes in a shelf
Locals keep their own soap at the public bath in Tosa-Shimizu, Kochi.
A photo of Kirk enjoying a hot-sand bath
Hot-sand baths are very relaxing! In Beppu, Oita (east Kyushu).

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The Wonders of Cruising Japan