In Japan bathing has part of a daily routine for generations. In Japan a bathhouse with hot mineral pools is referred to as an Onsen. Same as New Zealand you will find many spas and bathhouses in the volcanic areas on the country, utilising the natural hot mineral waters.
In a Japanese Onsen there are several customs we recommend you read up on before entering. At some Onsens it is custom to bathe in the nude, at most spas males and females are separate, although you may find a communal area as well. Some spas may have male and female opening hours. Some you can wear a towel in the water but others have strict rules not to, eitherway you should check the rules before entering.
Prior to entering a bath it is required to scrub yourself down. Small stools are provided to sit on and water and soap to clean yourself.
Bathing is considered a social event for the Japanese and you will often see groups of friends and families go to the onsen together.
In New Zealand you can experience Japanese style bathing at several spas. Bliss Stone Spa in Auckland, Terume Hot Spring Resort in Rotorua and Maruia Springs Thermal Resort in Lewis pass on the West Coast.