"Tanzen” is a thickly-padded over-kimono worn in winter for lounging. It is also called “Dotera” in the Kanto region. Tanzen or Dotera is usually worn over yukata. It is also fastened with an obi belt just like kimono. The striped patterns are popularly employed for Tanzen, which are called Tanzen stripes.
It is said that Tanzen became popular in the early Edo period (1603-1868), when men in the town in Edo competed in attracting attention of a yuna (a female bathing attendant at a public bathhouse) named Katsuyama. She worked at a public bathhouse Tanzen-buro, helping the customers by scrubbing their backs or combing their hair during the day. However, the customers could have sexualintercourse with yuna at night, a lot of men visited to see her. As she liked unique ways of dressing, the men began to wear very wide obi belts to pretend to be a personof tastes.
Tanzen later became popular among servants working for samurai, and was gradually worn by the commoners.
Akita cedar cooperage is a traditional handicraft in the area around Odate City, Akita Pref. It is designated as a Traditional Craft Product by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. Making of tubs in this area dates back to the Heian period (794-1192). A tub in almost the same shape as the present products was discovered at the ruins of Akita Castle. In the early Edo period (the 17th century), the cooperage developed under the protection of the domain and the union of coopers was organized.
Traditional skills and a fine straight grain of local cedar that withstands the severe winter in the region contribute to producing high quality tubs and barrels. In the making of another Akita’s special product, Mage-wappa (bentwood work), a thin piece of cedar board is curved round, while in the making of tubs, pieces of strip board are placed around the bottom board and bound with a bamboo hoop. Items such as Japanese bath tubs, rice tubs and sake barrels are mainly produced now. Recently new products such as beer tankards are becoming popular.
A furo is a bathtub with hot water, or a place with a flow of hot water where you can warm and clean your body.
In ancient Japan, furo were simple bathing places with a flow of water. The origin of furo comes from 'yokudo', which were imported with Buddhism from China. Priests would cleanse their bodies in yokudo.
The present style of hot-water bathtubs began in the Edo period. The introduction of public baths at this time meant that they became popular places where people could meet, too.
In other parts of the world, stream baths and ablution are popular, too, although in Christian countries, taking baths did not become so common until the 19th century.
In the Shinto culture of Japan, washing is an important process to cleanse the person of sin. In addition, for many reasons such as climate and health, people love to bathe. Even today, hot springs and public baths are very popular.
Yukata is the summer kimono made of lightweight cotton. The word “yukata” is the abbreviation for “yu (bath)-katabira (under clothing).” In the Heian period (794-1192), the noblemen wore yukatabira to prevent heat when they took a steam bath. Later in the Edo period (1603-1868), when a steam bath was replaced by the bathtub as is used today, Yukata, which absorbs sweat and has permeability to air, came to be worn as a summer kimono, a dressing gown, or night attire. At the present time, it is the most popular night wear at a Japanese ryokan (inn). The fabric designs vary from the traditional indigo plant patterns on a white background to more colorful designs. Polyester or blended fabric is also used. Since Yukata is easy to wear, it is the most popular kimono wear. The scene with people walking in Yukata is one of the charming sights of summer in Japan.