Capybaras might be known as the world’s largest rodent, but they are also experts on the finer things in life. Especially the ones that reside in Japanese zoos, who every year get to soak in a warm, steamy, citrus-scented yuzu hot bath.
The Japanese tradition of bathing in yuzu (which looks like a lemon, but is not a lemon, it’s more like an orange disguised as a lemon), dates back thousands of years. Done in an onsen—or natural hot spring—on the day of the winter solstice, these baths were used to ward off evil, and colds. Double whammy.
Munskin.com delves into the science of yuzu’s health benefits a bit more, saying that the rinds carry a substance called nomilin, which promotes good circulation. Plus, with triple the amount of vitamin C as a lemon, maybe there’s something to this warding off a cold theory. Worst-case scenario, you come out with silky smooth skin and a relaxed mind.
Okay, enough science already, let’s see that capybara bath time!
Ahead of the winter solstice tomorrow, the capybara of Nasu Oukoku Zoo took their annual yuzu hot bath
— Spoon & Tamago (@Johnny_suputama) December 20, 2021
Yeah, these guys seem to not mind this tradition one bit.
People visiting the zoos get to see these adorable plus-sized guinea pigs with their very own yuzu onsen on display, but seeing it on social media does wonders for the soul as well.
I think this person sums up the general consensus in their comment: “I aspire to be reincarnated as a Japanese capybara.”
I aspire to be reincarnated as a Japanese capybara.
— Roger Christie (@blackcatcrosses) December 20, 2021
Well said, well said.
These little bathers were even part of an experiment, according to Vice.com. Researcher Tohru Kimura and his team observed that 21 days of bathing did give dry-skinned capybaras a new dewy complexion.
This was more so to test the hot springs themselves, rather than the benefits of yuzu, but still, the science suggested that natural hot baths could have benefits for rodents and humans alike.
So there you have it. If ever you start to second guess your urge for a nice relaxing, hot bath, just think of those happy little capybaras. And remember that we can all stand for a little TLC now and then.