|I’ve started a new series! It is called, cryptically, ‘Things to Buy in Japan’. It is about things that you should buy in Japan. Not so cryptic. Anyway of course it will be by no means a full list, but it might be a useful guide for those going to Japan for the first time and who are, understandably, overwhelmed by all the lovely things to buy.|
I freaking love baths. They are basically like being in bed, but the bed is filled with warm water and there’s no pillow and it’s really difficult to pick up soap in it.
Apart from that, pretty much exactly the same. Usually I’m pretty content to just sit in a bath and day dream for an hour, but my bathroom in Japan was a really horrible beige caramel colour (and it was super tiny but still made room for a cute little half bath) so I would close my eyes and listen to audiobooks. I finished Gone with the Wind in 5 weeks.
Anyway, that bit was there to bring to me to my main point (but I think I got lost on the way):
I like Bath Salts.
Bath Salts are big in Japan.
Most of the drugstores I went to devoted at least half an aisle to various brands of bath salts, with German brands like Kneipp featuring pretty prominently along with a lot of home-grown Japanese brands. There are a number of bath salt varieties available in Japan, and on your travels you’ll mostly likely find bath salts:
- for your blood-type
- that make you slimmer
- that smell like your favourite cocktail
- that turn your bath bright pink and basically make it amazing.
- to help clear your pores
- to make you sweat
- to whiten your skin
- to ease muscle pain
- to (the most outlandish) hydrate your skin
Most Bath Salts in Japan come in little sachets (enough for one bath) that cost from 100 yen (about $1.20/£0.80) to 300 yen. This means they make great little souvenirs as they’re not very expensive and they don’t take up much space. It also means – if you’re not the souvenir type – you can try out a whole bunch of them yourself without taking a huge financial hit.
The bath salts I love the most are these:
Kikiyu Clay Bath Salts for Dry skin and Eczema.
These bath salts come in single-use sachets and big boxes, and I know that I’m going to buy as many of those boxes as I can when I next go to Japan. This variety of Kikiyu Bath Salts (there are many – this type is always in a pinky box/sachet) is really my absolute favourite – it soothes irritated skin, it moisturises it, it softens it and it smells lovely. It’s not one of the exciting, novel ones but if you’re after something that really pampers you without the fear of it irritating your skin, I’d strongly recommend you get it. (and buy some for me while you’re at it!)
How to Buy
Every drug store I went to in Japan stocked bath salts, and you can also find a few in convenience stores sometimes. They’re not necessarily always with other bath-related goods so be sure to look around, tell-tale signs are obviously small packets of stuff and you’ll most likely see quite a bit of Kneipp products like the one on the right as well.
Check out these two amazing posts (the first one actually introduced me to the Kikiyu salts I mentioned above) that have more reviews and pictures of bath salts, so you have more of an idea what to look for.
- Pores – 毛穴 (ke-ana)
- White – 白 (shi-ro)
- Sweat – 汗 (a-se)
- Moisture (as in moisturising) – うるおい (uru-oi)
Here is the cosme.net link to their top ranking bath salts, it’s in Japanese but the images give you an idea of what popular bath salts look like.
Also, there is a plug-in available for firefox (and I’m sure chrome etc. users could find an equivalent plug-in with a quick search) called rikai chan, which, when activated, will basically give you the definitions of any Japanese word on a page, so even if you can’t read Japanese you can hover over the text and get a general gist of the important points.