Yuzuyu: The Japanese Yuzu Citrus Bath on the Winter Solstice
When it comes to Japanese winter traditions, annually on the winter solstice, we have a traditional custom of soaking in a bath floating a lot of citrus fruit in the hot water.
On the winter solstice in Japan, we traditionally take “Yuzuyu (柚子湯)”, the bath where the citrus fruit native to East Asia called “Yuzu (柚子)” are added and set afloat.
It is said that the Japanese winter tradition has continued since the Edo period (1603 to 1868) when it was believed that the plants with a strong smell, such as Yuzu, “Yomogi (蓬 : mugwort), and “Shobu (菖蒲 : sweet grass)“, could drive away evil spirits.
On the winter solstice, the sun becomes the weakest in light intensity, and Japanese people believe that people’s fortune also gets the worst on that day, which is why we customarily soak in the bath where the Yuzu fruit are bobbing on the winter solstice.
In Japan, it is said that after one takes a Yuzu citrus bath, the person doesn’t catch a cold, which, as a matter of fact, has been scientifically proven.
The body of those who soaked in a Yuzu bath produces about 4 times as much noradrenaline as that of those who soaked in hot water as usual, which proves that the soak in the citrus bath expands blood vessels, because noradrenaline is secreted to make blood vessels narrow.
So Yuzuyu has the effect of promoting the blood circulation. In other words, with the Yuzu bath you can improve your back pain, neuralgia, and bad circulation, as well as preventing a cold.
In addition to these health benefits, the Yuzuyu bath is also effective in healing chapped hands and beautifying the skin, since the peel of Yuzu contains plenty of vitamin C and citric acid. What is more, the scent of the citrus fruit will relax you.
How to Prepare Yuzu Bath
Image: Ameblo Sukinamono Blog
The basic way to prepare the Yuzu citrus bath is very easy: You just put several to dozen of whole Yuzu fruit, without cutting them, in a bathtub of hot water, and you can have Yuzuyu.
If you want to enjoy the scent of Yuzu more and enhance the effect of the Yuzuyu bath, cut the Yuzu fruit into half or round slices, and add them to a bathtub of hot water.
If you have a delicate skin, additionally after soaking the slices of Yuzu in hot water for a while, put them into a net bag, and then set the bag afloat in the tub.
(Reference Page : Wikipedia 柚子湯 )