No More Confusion During Bath Time Thanks to This Japanese Bathtub Panel Guide

No more guessing what that button does.

Photo iStock


One of the most amazing things about living in Japan is the high-technology and convenience. But how many times have you stepped into a bathroom faced with a gazillion buttons you have no idea how to use? Most of the time, you find yourself muttering to yourself, “hmm, what does this button do” before ending up with either a tub that’s filled with water that’s too hot or, worse, freezing cold. 


One of the difficult things about living in Japan is not knowing the meaning of some kanji, especially for something that we use everyday such as the bath. Most bathtubs in Japan have different types of panels that are equipped with many different features. But since they are all in
kanji characters, it can definitely get confusing especially for tourists and people who have just moved to the country. 


From the meaning of the buttons and how to use them, we’ve got you covered.  (Take note that depending on the type of bath, panel buttons may change.) 


First thing you must know is that bathtub panels are usually (depending on the house or apartment) located in
two places: in the bathroom and in the kitchen (for the kitchen sink). Depending on where you are in the house, you adjust the water settings at any time by pressing “Priority” button which is in the bathroom panel before setting them after with the one in the kitchen. 


Bathtub Settings on the Kitchen Panel



Here are the typical buttons and functions you can often see at the bathroom panel located in the kitchen: 


*Screen
Typically includes the date, water temperature, time.           


1. On/Off (運転 入/切)
 This is for all bathtub functions. 
2. Automatic (自動) Preparation of hot water at the set temperature on the screen. 
3. Reheating (おいだき) Reheat the water in the tub to the set temperature on the screen. 
4. Clock Setting (時計合せ) Setting clock to the accurate time.
5. Screen Power Mode (セーブ) Turn off the screen when not using hot water. (After turning this on, in 5 minutes the screen indication will turn off) 
6. Sound Level (音量) Adjust the button sound level.
7. Bath Reservation (ふろ予約) Set the time you want to use the bathtub, and it will prepare hot water automatically.
8. Bath Temperature (ふろ温度) Adjusting the bath temperature (only). 


Bathtub Settings in the Bathroom


Most of the features contained in this panel is mostly the same as the one in the kitchen. There are just
more functions here. For example, there is the “call button,” and if you flip open the smaller cover below, another button for adjusting the amount of water is also there.

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The reheating function is also very convenient for living alone because you can reheat water and use it again this can save up a lot of water usage in the long run. The reason that you can reuse the bath water—at least for Japanese people—is so you clean your body
outside the tub first, and soak in the hot bath after, thus keeping the water clean.


Other extra buttons: 


1. Call Button (呼び出し)
 Contact the person who is in the kitchen. 
2. Priority  (優先) Switch the control function to the panel in the bathroom. 


The Modern Bathroom Panels


Recently with the smaller living space requiring space-saving tricks, together with advancing technology, these days bathroom panels have reached a whole new level. For example, there are now “heating” (not reheating) function for taking a bath in winter, “ventilation” function for air ventilation, and even “drying” that can
dry your laundry when you hang them in the bathroom!  Here is a sample of what the more modern bathroom panels look like.




1. Remaining Time on Timer (タイマー残時間)
This shows the remaining time if you set the timer for a function.
2. Timer Setting (タイマー設定) Set a timer for a specific function.
3. Air (Flow) Strength Weak/Strong (風量 弱/強) Shows the strength when using different functions. 
4. Drying  Weak/Strong (乾燥 弱/強) Enables drying function in the bathroom.
5. Heating Weak/Strong (暖房 弱/強)Enables heating function in the bathroom.
6. Cooling Weak/Strong (涼風 弱/強) Enables cooling function in the bathroom.
7. Ventilation Weak/Strong (換気 弱/強) Enables ventilation function in the bathroom.
8. 24-hour ventilation (24時間換気) This is often done in homes that automatically have 24-hour ventilation. 


Long press (長押し換気停止、消灯)
 Turn off the ventilation for the entire living area.
Short press (短押し浴室停止、点滅) Turn off the ventilation just for the bathroom, indicated by blinking light) 


9. Standard/Winter (標準/冬季節)
 Setting seasonal functions.
10. Reset (リセット 長押し) Long press for activating the reset button.
11. Filter Cleaning (フィルター掃除) Enables the filter cleaning function.
12. Stop (停止) Press for turning off the system. 


With all these functions, you can see how Japanese people value their
ofuro time. Try out the different functions if you have the chance! 


 (13 June 2019)

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