My American husband’s Japan visit ended with unfortunate burn to his feet. He drunk too much and tried to be helpful to get bath tab ready. He put hot water in a bath tab. Without adding cold water he dipped his feet into the bathtub. He did not test the water and assmed hot water is just right warmth as our Seattle home’s hot water. He told me In U.S. most how water temperature is set under 125 °F(51.66 ℃) which is highest to prevents serious risk of burn to children. I heard the right temperature of Japanese bath is 122°F(50.66 ℃).
I found http://tinyurl.com/7ztcs53 (Japanese)
which examined temperature settings of electric hot water. Three settings were found on this hot water, low, high and auto. The water was heated to 194 °F(90℃) for high setting and 158°F( 70 ℃) for low and automatic to save energy depending upon usage and current water temperature. I checked temperature setting of my father’s hot water heater. It was set above 194 °F(90℃).
There is reason why hot water is so hot in Japan. One of reasons is the way to take bath in Japan. Entire family members share bath water. It doesn’t mean all take bath at once. Here how Japanese family members take bath. The bath tab is cleaned and filled with warm enough water every evening. The first person (usually head of the house, father) washes and rinses his/her body (at least dirty parts of the body) outside of the tab and take the bath. After the first person got out of bath, second person takes bath. And so on. The bath water gets cold by the time the third or fourth family takes bath. To make the water warm enough, hot water need to be added.
Here is Japanese bath history through my own experience. In old days, my family had a metal bath tab. My childhood job was to heat the bathwater by burning woods. Wooden disk was put on the bottom of the bath tab to prevent skin touching directly hot metal. Water was kept warm by remaining fire. When I was a student of university, my apartment had a ceramic tab with outdoor gas burner. I remember my neighbor downstairs sometimes fell asleep when he was heating his bath. After I had heard noise from water boiling in his bath tab, I shut off his gas heat to be safe. We did not have hot water heater in our apartment. In these days, many Japanese houses has convenient hot water heater as my father’s house.
This system is safer than old system for Japanese household but not for my American husband when he drank too much.
Lastly the Japanese website above was to find out which temperature setting will be cost saving.
Some day I like to have a Japanese style bath room in my Seattle house. I like website of an Alaska company which sells Japanese bath tab: http://www.japanesebath.com/.