In the Philippines, I didn’t even use a heater in the bathroom because, honestly, there was really no need for it. So, imagine my shock and frustration the first time I tried to take a bath in Japan and had to face a control panel that had so many buttons – not to mention indecipherable foreign writing.
That said, now that I understand what all these buttons are about, I have come to appreciate just how amazing Japanese bathrooms are. Hopefully, with this guide, you also would get to fully enjoy your shower and bath.
About Your Control Panel
There should be at least one control panel in your home that is used to run the waterworks. I say at least one because depending on the size of your apartment, you could have multiple. In our house for example, we have two. One is located right inside the bathroom and the other is at the kitchen area. Also, the control panels themselves might look different from each other. Here, the control panel in the bathroom is more ‘extensive’.
For this guide, I will be using the bathroom control panel that we have at home which is the Noritz RC-B001S. As always, the one that you have at home might be different and have less or more buttons but I am confident that this guide would be enough to at least get your started on using your own unit.
Buttons on the left from top to bottom:
優先 (Yuusen): In homes where there are multiple control panels, the temperature in a certain panel would have ‘priority’ in controlling the settings. This button will allow you to switch the priority of the remote control.
たし湯 (Tashiyu)：Press this switch to add 20 liters of hot water to the tub.
たし水 (Tashisui)：This lets you add 10 liters of water from the tub.
音量 (Onryou): Use this button to control the volume.
時計 (Tokei): Press this to display the current time.
Middle portion – up and down buttons from left to right:
給湯 (Kyuutou)：Change the water temperature (for the shower and faucet – including in the kitchen)
湯量 (Yuryou): One function of this Japanese tub is to automatically be filled up to a certain amount. Press this to set the amount.
ふろ (Furo): Change the temperature of the water inside the tub.
Buttons on the right from top to bottom:
呼出 (Yobidashi): Pushing this button would play a ringing tone on the control panel located at the kitchen. What is the purpose of that? you may ask. Well, it could be some sort of an emergency button if you slipped on the tub, example. Or, maybe while you’re taking a bath, you suddenly get feel like drinking a cold one. You can use this to call other people in the house to the bathroom and ask them to bring you some drinks. That sort of thing.
追いだき (Oidaki): In case you didn’t know, the practice in Japan is for the entire household to use the same hot water for when taking a bath and only drain it once the last person in the house has had his bath. They make sure to shower and thoroughly clean themselves before entering the tub and the bath is mostly for relaxation rather than hygienic purposes. So, there is really no need to drain it once one person is done and fill it again for another person’s use. Quite economical but the downside is that your hot bath can grow cold in between uses. If this happens to you, press this button. What it does is add hot water so the temperature of the bath goes back to what you have specified on the control panel. Quick warning: if you are already inside the bath and you decided to turn on this feature, be careful about the opening where the water will come out because it can be really hot.
ふろ自動 (Furo Jidou): This button is to turn on the automatic bath feature.
運転 (Unten): Use to turn on your water heater.
How To Use
Setting The Water Temperature
1, Press the 運転 (Unten) button to turn on the water heater.
2. Use the up and down buttons below the label 給湯 (Kyuutou) to set the desired temperature for the shower and faucets. Or…
Use the up and down buttons below the label ふろ (Furo) to set the desired temperature for the water in the bathtub.
3, If you want the 給湯 (Kyuutou) temperature to only be in the bathroom shower and faucet (not including the other faucets inside the home), press 優先 (Yuusen). This would let you set other control panels inside the home to whatever temperature you would like without affecting the one in the bathroom.
Setting Up Automatic Bath
The automatic bath feature of your Japanese bathroom would allow you to automatically fill your tub to a set water level and temperature with the press of a single button.
- To set the amount of water you want in the tub, press the up and down buttons under 湯量 (Yuryou). Watch the meter on the screen which serves as an indicator of the water level. Unless you change the settings, your bath will fill to this level every time you use it.
2. To set the temperature of the bath water, use the up and down buttons under the label ふろ (Furo). Unless you change the settings, your bath will be in this temperature every time you use it.
Using Automatic Bath
- Now that your automatic bath settings are in place, you only need to press ふろ自動 (Furo Jidou) every time you want to use the bath. It will fill to the water level and temperature you have set. The control panel will play a tune and announcement (in Japanese) once your bath is ready.
Reheating The Bath
- If you want to reheat the bath water, press the 追いだき (Oidaki) button. Once the bath is back to the temperature you have set, a tune and announcement (in Japanese) will play on the control panel.