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The Japanese Concept of Wellbeing: A Guide

In this article, we focus on the art of kicking back and relaxing - just like they do in Japan - and why we should all try to do more of the above in 2024.

The Japanese Concept of Wellbeing: A Guide

According to the people of Japan, life needs to breathe, to feel and to connect. There's a name for this life-altering concept - and it's 'Ma'.

The notion behind Ma is this: 'if we have no time, if our space is restricted, we cannot grow'. With that in mind, here's how the Japanese take time out - and here's why we should all try it too.

Taking a Dip in an Onsen (Japanese Spa)

When it comes to relaxation, there are myriad ways to switch off from everyday life in Japan, with hot springs (known as 'onsens') being one of them.

Onsens (public hot springs or private bathing facilities) are plentiful, with over 25,000 to be found throughout the country. As a tradition, taking a dip in a vitamin and mineral-rich onsen dates back to the Heian period; each has a unique identity (in line with the region and area in which it's located) too.

While onsens in the authentically Japanese sense aren't in abundance in the UK, you can find your own slice of zen in what might be deemed by some to be the next best thing: a Turkish bath. There's one right here in Yorkshire - in Harrogate, to be exact - and you can head here to find out more about it.

If you make a date to go, pack a towel from our gorgeous collection; we like the Shinto Yukine bath towel in green (seen below).

Drinking Tea

Had a bad day? Put the kettle on. Feeling peaky? Make a cuppa. Need to rant about something that's bothering you? Reach for the tea bags.

True, we all love a cuppa here in good old Blighty; it's nothing short of completely relaxing. But the Japanese take tea-drinking to the next level. In fact, drinking tea is a meditative activity, with the traditional 'tea ceremony a key part of Japanese culture.

Pour yourself a cup of Japanese tea and benefit from antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals to boost the immune system. Enjoy it from our quaint, lopsided pink mug or the equally stunning sky blue tea mug (pictured below) and host a beautiful little solo tea ceremony of your own.  


If you know anything about Japanese culture, it might be the country's penchant for origami - the art of folding paper. 

Japan might be known for its tech but its people still use paper often - in shrines (via a paper offering made to gods, known as the gohei), and in the money envelopes given and received at celebrations. Did you know, also, that almost everyone uses hanko? It's a personalised stamp, which takes the place of a standard signature.

Business cards are still in Japan as well - and there's even a guide on business card etiquette here.

Want to try journalling for yourself in a bid to infuse some more relaxation into your life? We love these Stalogy notebooks (pictured).

Discover more...

Keen to discover more about the Japanese concept of wellbeing? Mindfulness Travel Japan is your go-to guide for finding tranquillity in the Land of the Rising Sun - grab your copy via the link above.

Up next on your reading list: Lost Japan, Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, and of course, the bestseller: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.

It all starts now - happy reading (and even happier relaxing!).

Until next time...