[1] The tradition of bathing began in the Buddhist temple where only bathing for the sick was carried out

風呂のはじまりは寺院の施浴から

In India, the birthplace of Buddhism, buildings that house a statue of Buddha are called Garan. Within the seven most important buildings in a temple, which are called ‘The Seven Garans’ a ritual bathhouse is always included. The tradition of cleansing the body, also resulting in the cleansing of the spirit, was a fundamental idea underlying early Indian tradition.

In the Daito Seiiki Diary by Genjo Sanzo(602-664CE), it is stated that the ritual bath in the Chinese Buddhist temple was open to the public. It housed medicines and food in order to aid both the poor and the sick. In Japan, all Buddhist temples had a ritual bath building called the ‘Yuya’.

 

仏教発祥の地であるインドでは、仏像を安置する建物のことを「伽藍」といい、重要な7つの建物、いわゆる「七堂伽藍」のなかには必ず「浴堂」が入っています。つまり身体を清めればそれとともに精神も清まるというのが、原始インドの根本思想になっていました。

また、玄奘三蔵(602~664)の『大唐西域記』(645)によると、中国の浴堂は医薬、食物なども備えられ、貧民を救う公共の設備という役割を果たしていたようです。わが国でも寺を建てる場合は必ず浴室を置き、これを「湯屋」といいました。

Beginning in the Nara period, Garans became more common in Japan and always included a ritual bathhouse. Gradually with the increase in the number of ritual bathhouses, their size also increased and they began to be known as ‘Ohyuya’, ‘Big Bathhouse’. This bath, according to original Buddhist thought, was intended only for the priesthood. However, there are stories that the wife of the Emperor Shomu, Koumyou Kougou (701 - 760 CE) allowed the sick the opportunity to bathe six times every month and even personally washed them.

奈良時代以降は大伽藍が盛んに造営されるのに比例して浴室も大きくなり、湯屋に対して「大湯屋」と称されるようになります。この湯屋は、仏教の入浴思想にもとづいて僧侶の入浴に備えたものですが、同時に光明皇后(701~760)が月に6度、病気を患った人々を入浴させ、自らその身体を流してあげたという逸話が残っているように、病人のための「施浴」も同時に行なわれていました。

From the Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), people other than the sick also were allowed to enter the baths. In the Kansai region, Kouboudaishi (774 - 835) conceived the ‘Mushiburo’ steam bath. These were originally made in a cave where straw mats were doused in seawater and then placed over hot coals. Eventually, the mushiburo steam bath spread throughout Japan, becoming popular among the general population. Also around this time noblemen began to construct their own private baths in their homes, which triggered the idea of public baths open to the general public. This signaled the beginning of the tradition of bathing amongst the general population.

鎌倉時代(1185~1333)のころからは、これがさらに病人以外の一般人にも及ぼされるようになり、関西では弘法大師(774~835)が考案したという蒸し風呂(洞窟の中で枯れ木を燃やし、その上に海水をしみ込ませたムシロを敷いて蒸気を出したもの)が普及し、のちに町人向けの蒸し風呂屋が出現するようになりました。