Deep Soaker Bath (Longevity Series Part 2) / 風呂 ふろ

Updated: Jun 28


Furo is a Japanese style deep soaking bathtub, and taking a Furo at the end of the day is an essential part of their daily routine. A deep soaker tub might be a luxury item in the Western world, but it’s a must-have item for each Japanese household. Even a small studio apartment would have it. In case there is no Furo in the house, people go to Sento (a public bath) to finish off the day. Unlike large luxurious Western style deep soakers, the Japanese Furo is very basic without any special features such as a bubble jet, drink holder, or LED monitor. It is only about four feet long, but deeper than Western styled soakers. There is no overflow outlet so you can fill the water up to the top if you want to. Next to the tub, there is a washing area with a drain as you can see in the picture of a typical Japanese bathroom. Do you see a hand bucket and stool at the left corner of the image? Those are indispensable items in the bathroom used to sit on and wash before you enter the Furo. The low stool allows you to reach and scoop hot water from the tub to wash and rinse off your body. You’ll be surprised how well you can reach every corner of your body by sitting low. If you are living with others, you are sharing the same tub water with family members or co-habitants, so leaving the tub water clean for the next person is important. It is one of homemaker’s chores to clean the bathtub and washing area during the day in preparation for the evening use. When you visit Onsen (Japanese hot springs) which are widely available, you will see a sitting/washing area to wash before entering Onsen for the same reason.

Taking Furo has medically proven health benefits. It relaxes your muscles and improves joint flexibility. Also, it boosts blood circulation and relieves daily stress. For these reasons, most people take a bath at the end of the day either before or after dinner. To enhance enjoyment, there are many bath salts available. Some simulate the mineral content of an Onsen, or simply generate therapeutic aromas such as citrus, lavender, or cedar. Speaking of cedar, Furo could be a luxury item if it is made of Japanese cedar tree, Hinoki. Hinoki Furo naturally has a calming aroma that makes you feel as if you are in the deep forest, and the aroma gets amplified in a high moisture environment. So, I must conclude that Furo is one of the contributing factors for Japanese longevity. The next article will explore ocha or green tea as a factor in longevity.

deep soaking tub, Japanese, TOTO, Furo
A typical Japanese bath room with a deep soaker


A:  ただいま。いやー つかれた、つかれた。

お疲れ様(おつかれさま)でした。 お風呂(ふろ)入ってるけど先に入(はい)りますか? それとも ご飯(はん)の後(あと)にする?

A:   そうだなー。風呂がはいっているんだったら、風呂に先に入ろうかな。いい?

B:  いいわよ。夕飯(ゆうはん)、まだ作(つく)ってる最中(さいちゅう)だから。 いい入浴剤(にゅうよくざい)を買(か)って来(き)たのよ。腰痛(ようつう)効(き)くんですって。 使(つか)ってみたら?

A: いいねー。 じゃ、早速(さっそく) 使ってみよう。 

B: じゃ、洗面所(せんめんじょ)に置(お)いておくわね。 

A:  ありがとう。


いやー interjection. Often followed by emotional expressions.

疲れた v. tired. plain past form of 疲れる(つかれる)

お疲れ様 n. an expression to comfort someone’s hard work. The literal meaning would be “Sir/Madam tired one = You must be very tired after a hard work”

入ってるけど a colloquial expression of 入ってるけど Here, “it is prepared, but”

先に First

んだったら Plain form verb + んだったら, “if that is the case”. Replaceable with なら since it is referring to a matter just mentioned.  

入ろうかな 入ろう(volitional form of 入る) +か(particle, uncertainty)+な(particle, internal thought). Particles add a nuance of speaker’s indecision whether to take a bath before dinner or not.

わよ    イ-adj. followed by わよ orわね adds feminine tone.

最中    n. right in the middle of doing something. Follows after いる

入浴剤 n. bath salt

腰痛 n. lower back pain

効く v. have an effect, effective

んですって plain form verb + んだって/んですって is a more spoken expression of 〜そうだ/そうです=hearsay

てみる てform +みる try to do. Here, “try to use”

洗面所 n. a vanity / a basin

置いておく. Will leave it for your use. てform+おくcreates speaker’s intentional action, i.e. 窓を開けておきます, I will leave the window open (so wind could blow in, or some other purpose)