[Hallyupedia] Korean Sauna (찜질방)

윤지현 / 차민경 인턴 / 2021-05-15 18:40:38
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by Yun Ji Hyun / Cha Min Kyung

[ENG] Korean Sauna, Korean bathhouse


▲ This photo provided by Getty Images Bank shows a sauna room that closely resembles those in Korean Jjim-jil-bang. (Yonhap)

Jjim-jil-bang is a sauna bathhouse unique to Korea with various facilities including a stream room. Recently, jjim-jil-bangs are considered a leisure space with different entertainment and amenities such as large bathtubs and sauna rooms.

▲ History of Korean Saunas
Jjim-jil-bang is an advanced form of public bathhouses commonly found in Korea.



▲ This photo captured from Aqua Field's website shows the bath tubs included at Aqua Field. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In the early 20th century, public baths began to be built in Korea due to the influence of Japan during the Japanese colonial ere, and even after Korea gained liberation, public baths continued to increase for ordinary people who did not have enough room to take a bath.

A typical Korean public bathhouse is equipped with one or two small sauna facilities, however Jjim-jil-bang are designed with larger sized sauna facilities so nowadays bathhouses have started to be dependent on Jjim-jil-bangs.

The current form of Jjim-jil-bang began to officially be created in the mid to late 1990s. They are mainly located in large cities in Korea, including Seoul and Busan, and is now spreading to other countries such as the United States.

▲ The advanced evolution of Jjim-jil-bang
Jjim-jil-bang has the basic bathing and sauna room facilities, but have started to include convenience facilities such as sleeping rooms, restaurants, and snack bars. Furthermore, it is now common to see Jjim-jil-bang with computer game rooms, arcades, movie rooms, and even bowling and karaoke facilities.


▲ This photo captured from Aqua Field's website shows the massage and showering room facilities located in Aqua Field. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Unlike sole bathhouses, with divided men and women rooms, Jjim-jil-bang has a mixed space where both men and women can lounge around wearing the clothes provided by the establishment. The clothes usually consist of a cotton T-shirt and shorts.

Recently, a growing number of high-end Jjim-jil-bang have began to be established as well. Spa Garden Five, a Jjim-jil-bang located in Garden 5, a large shopping mall in Songpa-gu, Seoul, is a large-scaled high-end spa faciliity with a total area of 6,600 square meteres. It is decorated with high-end interiors such as Italian marble floors and the shower rooms, bath tubs, and sauna rooms are made of glass. The movie theater located inside the Jjim-jil-bang also has dozens of recliner chars, VIP rental rooms, and book cafes.


▲ This photo provided by Goyang city shows the outdoor pool located at Aqua Field.


▲ This photo captured from the official website of Aqua Field shows the movie room. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


Aqua Field, a shopping ocmplex in Starfield, is famous for its swimming pool and spa. The Jjimjil Spa is decorated with luxury hotel-like interiors and provides private spaces everywhere to increase customer satisfaction. On certain days of the week, classes such as spa hot yoga and healing meditation are also held.

▲ Societal problems associated with Jjim-jil-bang
Most Korean Jjim-jil-bangs are open for 24 hours, so they can be visited instead of accommodations. This is because people can sleep well due to the large space area and are much cheaper than normal hotel rooms. In some cases, Jjim-jil-bangs are used as a place where domestic and foreign travelers rest at a cheap price, and people who have nowhere to go often stay in Jjim-jil-bangs for a long time.


▲ This illustration shows someone stealing valuables in locker rooms of Jjim-jil-bangs. (Yonhap)

However, due to these characteristics, Jjim-jil-bangs are often a vulnerable place to commit crime. Many people come and go by Jjim-jil-bangs, so some people abuse this freedom of space as an opportunity to commit crimes. Reports of stealing valuables such as cell phones while others are sleeping, or committing sexual assaults or sexual harassment in dark sleeping spaces have continued to occur as well.



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