Sacred Waters

A guide to Japanese hot springs

A shower rids the body of dirt, but a bath cleanses the soul.
Bokomslag Sacred Waters
This maxim has been believed by the Japanese for centuries, and explains why bathing – in everything from volcanic springs to sitting bathtubs – is such a fundamental and indispensible part of Japanese culture. Much of the mystique of the bath and its salubrious effects lies in its setting and the temperature of the water. Ideally, the former should echo nature and the seasons, while the latter should be hot enough to attain a genuine state of relaxation or catharsis…

“SACRED WATERS – a guide to Screenshot 2013-12-22 14.30.54Screenshot 2013-12-22 14.30.44Japanese hot springs” is a book that describes in words and pictures Japan’s fascinating, millennia-old bathing culture and how it can enrich the life of everyone who samples it.

Inside you will find some never-before seen photographs of Japan’s hot springs, revelations about their alleged healing effects and commentaries on their reputation as fonts of youth. Factual sections and interviews tell of hot springs as meeting places where intimate friendships are made, and as cherished retreats for rest, meditation and reflection.

The world of hot springs encompasses sand baths, steam baths, mud baths, steam-cooked food and baths that have been flavoured with beer, wine, tea or sake: in short, almost every aspect of the Japanese culture, which makes them such a great way to experience the people and natural beauty of Japan. The book also includes a guide to Japan’s hottest and most secluded springs, and instructions on how to take a healing bath in the Japanese manner: immersed in a hot spring surrounded by blossoming cherry trees or at home, in your own bathtub.

Press reviews:
“A fantastic book about the Japanese bathing culture. A perfect coffee table book to be enjoyed either by yourself or the person who receives it as a gift. The photos are enchanting and beautiful, in harmony with the words. ”
Elisabeth Andersson, Water Pressure

“A quick browse through this guide to Japan’s hot springs makes me look for cheap flights to Tokyo. To want to throw away 95% of my stuff and replace it with a bonsai . Or at least wash myself thoroughly, pour 42-degree water into a bathtub, lie there for twenty minutes and get up a new person. Culture journalist and Japan scholar Anette Masui, together with photographer August Eriksson, have made a mixture of travel guide, reportage and pure enjoyment. Anette shares with us all the dos and do-nots of taking a public bath, but also /…/ how to create your own ofuro (private bath) at home. August Eriksson’s photographs are not only stylish à la a coffee-table book, they give great presence and reinforce the impression of a lively reportage. ”
Anna Sjostrand, BTJ

The book can be bought at selected book stores in Sweden and at You may also order it from us:, price 200 SEK plus transportation fee.

Size: 240×210 mm
Pages: 144
Isbn: 978-91-87283-33-8

Published in: 2014

Sacred Waters info sheet (.pdf)

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