The Japanese bathing ritual has four steps. Seated on a low stool, the bather uses a bucket to rinse away dirt with hot water scooped from the prepared bath, then descends into the tub for a first soak. Reemerging, the bather sits on the stool and scrubs with soap and loofah, then rinses thoroughly. The final step is a relaxing, second soak in the tub. Traditional baths call for an outdoor setting or a room that opens to the outdoors.
Photos courtesy The Japanese Bath, by Bruce Smith and Yoshiko Yamamoto (Gibbs Smith, 2001)