happy together :-)
When I first started to live abroad, my landlady told me that I might take a bath AT MOST ONCE A WEEK. She then added that she was generous enough to allow me to take a shower additionally a few times a week, and I was also lucky enough to be able to take a shower in a nearby sports center if I wanted to shower more often.

It was in Germany and the first culture shock in my life. I wondered why Germans didn't need bath as often as Japanese. Are they stingy? Don't Germans take bath every day? Don't they feel uncomfortable? Don't they smell?



I was thereafter forced to be satisfied with German way of life. It's now OK for me not to take a bath every day so long as I am abroad. However, at home I cannot give up bathing every day, especially in summer. The summer of Japan is sub-tropical. The hot and humid weather makes it a must to take a bath. When I saw in Bali people bathing - 'mande mande' - in river every evening, I was convinced of the similarity of culture of Japan and Bali and felt sympathetic for the Balinese.

In the Japanese bathing culture, "onsen" is famous and loved also by many foreign visitors or expats in Japan. The second famous institution is "sento" (public bath) which established its status in the Edo Period as an urban institution for low class citizens. Public bath was a very popular facility in cities till, I recall, the 1960s. However, though spa resorts are getting popular as destinations for leisure, public baths have been losing their raison d'etre, because home bath becomes a general trend as the living standard increases.

Once, firewood was the only available fuel and heating bath at home was a hard work. Thick wood must be cut in certain length and chopped into thin pieces. Water must be brought from a well when water service was not popular enough. Even after tap water became available, water was used with great care and could not be "wasted like bath water" (a Japanese idiomatic expression).

Then, fuel changed gradually from wood to coal or oil, then gas. Computer was introduced into bath system in the 80s, if I am not mistaken. On the first photo right, you see a square box on the left wall.
The enlargement of the box is shown at the bottom. It is a remote controller of the water heating system for bath and shower. Only by pushing buttons, we can fill the tub with predetermined amount of water at the preset temperature. The temperature of the water can be kept warm at one degree accuracy if we will. The temperature of shower water can be determined as well at the same accuracy. If we feel the water in the tub not enough, we can add water at the temperature we will. The temperatures are shown on the display, so is the volume of the water. The operation of the heater is also indicated. It's so nice and easy as I feel it almost terrible :-(

Bathroom

Wash outside of the bath tab.

Modern controller
There is a very basic difference of bathing etiquette between Europe and Japan (*). We go into bath tab to make us warm and relaxed in hot water (40 - 44 Cent.). We share the same water with others, so we have to keep the water as clean as possible. It is out of question to wash ourselves in the bath tab. We wash our body and hair outside of the tab. This is the same as in the public bath. We sit on a stool and clean ourselves using water from faucet or shower or from the bath tab. So, our bath always has a washing space like the second photo right.
(*)
Though I have been to other Asian countries many times, I don't know exactly how the people in those countries take a bath within their own private houses :-( But, I presume that they have similar customs as Japanese.
I hear that many Japanese made mistakes in this regard when they went abroad for the first time.
They sometimes washed themselves out of the bath tab and incurred mishaps. I hear that there were Japanese who had to pay for the damages caused by flood water :-) So, "wash yourself in the bath tab" was and maybe still is in the first lesson of the Western etiquette for Japanese.



Anyhow, bathing is a fun. For children it is like playing in a swimming pool. I also like bathing, especially in the morning when the sun shins and I can enjoy blue sky and beautiful green forest from the bath. The morning bathing was believed to be a evil in Japan as it makes people relax and unwilling to work. In a folklore of the Fukushima prefecture a son of a billionaire family "Shosuke-san" was described to have exhausted his fortune as he loved "sleeping till late morning, drinking in the morning and taking a morning bath". What a small sin it is !!!