Yudo: Lessons from The Way of the Bath

Marvin Liao
2 min readMay 25, 2024

I love Japanese culture and discovering new aspects of it. I’m a big Onsen aka Hot spring fan as well. But what I love is the philosophical underpinning behind almost everything in Japan, whether it’s food, martial arts, the arts and crafts.

Japan is one of the most unique cultures in the world, it was an Island nation closed off to the rest of the world for over two thousand years until the 1600s. Yudo, or bathing culture, is an example of the unique aspects of Japanese culture and I really enjoyed the movie of the same name. It was funny but also remarkably touching.

I saw it as a fictional story version of Jiro Dreams of Sushi but around bathing culture. The Japanese search for perfection in whatever they do. One should have a philosophy of life and one should live it with purpose.

Here are some interesting thoughts I grabbed from the movie.

“Since antiquity, the Japanese people have lived in awe of nature, serving as a model for willing submission to one’s fate. And unwavering devotion to forge ahead. That is what people have called “finding the way.” The way of tea, of flower arranging, or of incense.

There is another. The way of bath, Yudo.

While the paths to perfection are many, there is no final destination point. There is only finding one’s way in daily life through assiduous practice. It is that pursuit of perfection that illuminates life itself.”

This illustrates the beauty of Japanese culture and why so many of us are entranced by Japan. But it also shows us what the path to excellence in life looks like, whatever it is that you do.

“The foundation of Japanese aesthetics is nature itself. We revere and appreciate it. We accept it as a model for how we lead our lives. Happiness is not pursued. It is realized. In the smallest pleasures lies the richness of life. That is the reason the way of the bath exists”

Yudo is about finding joy and satisfaction in the simplest things in life. Even an everyday hot bath.

“Soak in a bath, wash the heart and return to innocence. Bathing is happiness.”



Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything! www.marvinliao.com