spirited away bathhouse is basically for spirits to replenish them, Yubaba was a witch and the owner of the bathhouse. Chihiro works there as a servant to earn freedom. The bathhouse design and infrastructure present in the movie were inspired by the real bathhouse in Japan. The bridge that connects the bathhouse and the other side, the temple design, the waterfall aside of the bathhouse are taken from different iconic and ancient Japanese bathhouses, hotels, and museums. Miyazaki presents his great artwork that is truly a masterpiece.

Spirited away bathhouse:

Spirited away is a famous Japanese animated movie released in 2001 written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and animated by Studio Ghibli. This movie is among the most popular animated film in the history of Japanese animated features. The movie won many awards and was voted in the best 4 films of the 21st century by BBC in 2016. In 2017, the New York Times declared “spirited away” as the best film of the 21st century.

Highlights of spirited away:

The story is based on a 10-year-old small girl named Chihiro who is shifting to a new location with her parents, they forgot the right way and went to the other way, in between the scenario they went to a tunnel, there they decided to stay for a while and eat something.

The place was so mysterious, no one was there. They were so hungry as they found a place where lots of food waiting for them. Chihiro’s parents decided to eat that food and later on, they paid for it. While eating they turned into pigs, Chihiro didn’t eat that food, she was curious but she didn’t know that she entered into the world of spirit with her parents.

While running away she found a boy named Haku who brings her to a witch named Yubaba, she offered her a job in the bathhouse and signed a contract, according to the contract she changes her name to Sen and she can’t leave the bathhouse until she earns freedom. She did lots of efforts to earns freedom and at last, she got it.

What is the bathhouse called in the spirited away?

In the animated movie “spirited away”, the bathhouse called ‘Aburaya’ that is owned by a witch ‘Yubaba’ is situated in the spirit world. The bathhouse is specially made for spirits, here spirits went to fill them up again.

The outer building is made with traditional Japanese style, the roofs of the bathhouse are typically designed as temples in the Japanese costumes. The outer is viewed in a combination of red and green color with a blend of dark brown in between. The building is consisting of multiple floors with one side elevator that is only allowed to reach the selected floors.

Workers of the bathhouse:

Yubaba who is an owner of the bathhouse gives a job and stays with her workers. Chihiro, Haku, lin, Kamajii, and Boh worked there as a servant to replenish the spirits. Servant’s rooms are congested then Yubaba office and Boh room because Boh is her son.

The reality of spirited away bathhouse:

Maybe you have seen this film and if not then the highlights of this movie gave an overview of it however, what if you come to know that the spirited away bathhouse actually exists?

The infrastructure and the interior of bathhouse presents in this movie are actually inspired by the actually exist bathhouse in japan here is a list of some of the bathhouse that is iconic and if you have seen the film called” spirited away” then you can relate it more clearly.

Dogo onsen honkan

This bathhouse is situated in the Matsuyama in Ehime prefecture. The building is stylized with a modern exterior. The similarity between Dogo Onsen Honkan and the bathhouse executed in the movie “spirited away” is its complex wood structure.

If you ever visit Dogo onsen honkan, then you must have seen a drum called “Tokidaiko”. This drum daily struck at 6:am morning which is the sign of bathhouse opening. The drum also struck at noon and evening to mark the time of the day.

Dogo onsen honkan opening hours are from 9 am to 10 pm and the price they offer for adults is 410 yen and for children 160 yen.


Kanaguya is located in Nagano prefecture on Sahibu Onsen street. Kanaguya is the most famous and historical hotel and bathhouse constructed in 1758. In 1936 kanguya is modified into a four-story building which can facilitate their guest not just bath but accommodation called” Saigetsurou”.

Kanaguya’s building is made with wood and the infrastructure especially its unique temple design is truly the main inspiration of the animated movie named “spirited away” bathhouse.

The hotel is engaged with 29 room and every room has its look and interior, that makes it more special and unique. The hot spring bath area is the center of attraction, contains water from four different sources. The water is rich with iron that can provide moisture to the skin.

Yubara Onsen Aburaya

This bathhouse is located in Okayama, Aburaya is counted as an ancient bathhouse established in 1688. This bathhouse offers a private hot bath outside a green bath and an open-air bath.

The building of Yubara Onsen Aburaya from the Meiji era was used as a model structure in the animated movie. The building had lots of rooms but afterword98 it becomes renovated and now only one room on the 3rd floor is left for accommodation. The restaurant on the second floor and the opened air bath remain the same.

Shima Onsen Sekizenkan Honkan

In the movie spirited away, Sen crossed a bridge with red railings before entering the bathhouse, this bridge is inspired by the bridge in Sekizenkan Hokan. The bridge is constructed as a passage to enter the bathhouse, when you walk through it you feel mysterious vibes.

It is one of the ancient bathhouses in japan, kinds of bath offered there such as stone bath and outdoor bath. The inside of this hotel feels like a spirited away bathhouse.
Apart from the bridge, there is a tunnel side the bathhouse that is similar to one seen in the animated movie. This hotel is the oldest hot spring in Japan and important cultural property of Gunma prefecture.

Summary: the architecture and the interior of the bathhouse as shown in the film spirited away is inspired by some of the iconic and ancient Japanese bathhouses, this can be experienced if you visited these places. If you think about the spirited away bathhouse reality, then they are existing but the only difference is they relax the real human being rather than spirits (as shown in the movie).

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What was the spirited away bathhouse theory?

Aburaya is the bathhouse owned by a witch named Yubaba. When Chihiro lost in the world of spirit she went to the bathhouse there she struggled to earn freedom by doing a job as written in the contract. The Spirits came into the bathhouse to replenish themselves. This animated movie exposed a very sensitive agenda of a society that is “child prostitution”.

Child’s prostitution theory:

Miyazaki who is the writer and the director of this movie is known to addressed social issues and political problems through his movies. He targets the child’s prostitution issue in his animated movie.

  • The first aspect through which the author target this issue is the ‘yu’ sign at the entrance of the bathhouse. ‘Yu’ is a Japanese word that means hot water. In Japanese tradition ‘Yuna’ means hot water women and in the ‘Edo era’ men go to meet hot water women.

    In the animated movie the owner of the bathhouse ‘Yubaba’ name means hot water old women, this is the first evidence of this agenda.

  • The second aspect is the change in name of Chihiro into Sen. When a girl comes into prostitution life the first thing demands change her name, this is because no one recognized her. Now you get the second evidence.

  • The third and final evidence is when no face named spirit tries to buy Chihiro, he offers her to do anything whatever she wants and in return, she does what he desires. Sen always refuses him, one day she caught him but luckily she ran away.

  • if you are curious about what happens and how she earns freedom from the spiritual world then you must watch this movie.

What are the characters of spirited away?

Spirited away consists of various tremendous characters that have their importance in their places, on the whole, they made a spectacular animated movie that ranked among the best-animated movie in the history of japan. Some of their glimpses will be highlighted in the below section that will make you familiar to them.

1. Hako spirited away dragon:

Haku is a deuteragonist character in the movie. he is a 12-year-old spirit in the form of a human. He can turn himself into a dragon because he is a spirit of the river and can transform himself into a dragon, in this state he can fly as well.
He helped Chihiro throughout her journey in the spirit world. He worked for Yubaba the owner of the bathhouse. Sometimes he turns himself arrogant because he was in control of her. If you know more about Haku then read the article Hako spirited away dragon.

2. Yubaba:

Yubaba is the main villain of the story. She is a greedy witch and owner of the bathhouse. She gave a job to Chihiro in her bathhouse as Haku suggest her to do job to earn freedom. She penetrates something in Haku to control him.

3. No face:

No face or faceless semitransparent spirit who swallow other individuals to gain physical appearance. Chihiro gives him shelter in the bathhouse when there was heavy rain outside. he likes Chihiro and is emotionally attached to her.
He was a lonely spirit and offers her gold 3 times to get her company always but she refuses all the time, then he tried to chase her but she runs away. In the middle of the movie, he comes up with abilities like mimicry, alchemy, and absorbing.


As this topic is as curious as the movie called “spirited away”, a lot of questions arise in your mind. This section will help to wipe out some of your curiosity.

1. Why do the Japanese use bathhouse?

Japanese consider the bathhouse as the most relaxing place when they back from their tough work schedule. As it not only clears their dirt but also helps to remove their fatigue and tiredness. Japanese love to take bath before going to bed.

2. What is the moral lesson behind spirited away?

Chihiro put herself in danger to rescue her parent, in the bathhouse she helped even the spirits and in return, she gets back favor that she was not expected. We can say the moral lesson of the story is to help others.

3. Did Haku die in the spirit away?

When Chihiro gets out from the spirit world Hako dies. When Chihiro’s hairband shines it shows the tears of Hako when he dies, in the movie Hako was a river spirit.


To comprise the above article” spirited away bathhouse” I can say that, spirited away bathhouse is an animated mysterious movie. It can scare kids to some extent. The beautiful thing about that movie is its execution, the effects use in it and superfine movement. the story is based on a little 10 years old girl Chihiro who has no superpower no extraordinary talent, and no like a super cool dude kind of character who inspired children from miles of years.

In the beginning, she is an ordinary, simple, and somehow irritating girl who is lost in the world of spirit. The positive growth in the whole journey in Chihiro is such an inspirational factor for many children. The way she worked in the bathhouse to earn freedom for her and her parents, the way she becomes strong, and the way she becomes an extraordinary girl from an ordinary girl is the best thing of this film.

The bathhouse that we can see in this film is truly inspired by some real-life examples of the Japanese bathhouse. Japanese love to take bath, they believe that by taking restful bath no only remove their whole day dirt but also helps them to get free from fatigue and stress. They feel relax after taking a bath. If you did not see this movie, then I recommend you to see it, this masterpiece of Miyazaki truly worth seeing.

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