Spirited Away is one of Studio Ghibli's classic, world-renowned animated movies, earning itself an Academy Award. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away shows us a world full of wonder and magic. Following a young girl, Chihiro, Spirited Away focuses on finding one's self and courage, love, and friendship in the most mysterious places. The main setting of the movie is the Bathhouse, a building structured to look like a traditional Japanese bathhouse. The Bathhouse is covered in vibrant colors and is surrounded by beautiful scenery. This guide will feature all that's related to Spirited Away's Bathhouse. Enjoy your exploration of the Bathhouse through this guide!
The Bathhouse Owner: Yubaba
Yubaba is the witch that owns the Bathhouse and is consumed with her love of wealth. She's the main antagonist of the story and has the ability to steal one's name, which can't be remembered by the individual stolen from. Yubaba has a son named Boh, a giant baby, and he shows Yubaba's softer, motherly side, although she is overprotective of Boh.
As the owner of the Bathhouse, she took a vow to hire anyone who asks for work. When Chihiro asks for a job, Yubaba gives her a hard time at first. But she soon gives in because she had to keep the promise she made when she became the owner of the Bathhouse.
The Bathhouse Employees
The employees at the Bathhouse are mostly either female or frog spirits. The more notable workers are:
Chihiro or Sen
Chihiro is the only human in the spirit world and is the main character of the movie. After her parents turned into pigs, Chihiro works at the Bathhouse to help them return to their human forms. Yubaba stole her name, and her new name is Sen while she works at that Bathhouse. At the beginning of the movie, Chihiro is pessimistic about life. During the course of the movie, she finds herself and her courage, which help her become more positive about life.
Lin is a female worker at the Bathhouse, and she's the one in charge of training and watching over Chihiro. At first, she doesn't like Chihiro. However, during the course of Chihiro's stay at the Bathhouse, Lin becomes friends with her. Lin has a sarcastic, sassy attitude, but she shows her kindness when she helps Chihiro.
Haku is the Kohaku River Spirit, but lost his way when his river was gone after buildings covered it. He became Yubaba's assistant, and Lin says that he does Yubaba's “dirty deeds.” Haku is the first spirit to meet Chihiro, and he helps her survive in the spirit world. Eventually, it's revealed that Chihiro and Haku once knew each other long ago. When Chihiro was a young girl, she fell into Haku's river and he saved her from drowning. In the end, Chihiro helps Haku by telling him his real name, which brought back his forgotten memories. Haku's spirit form is a white dragon.
Kamajii is the Boiler Man, and he's in charge of heating the baths in the Bathhouse. He has six limbs, which assist him greatly in his job. He also has (adorable!) Sootballs or Makkuro-Kurosuke that help him keep the baths hot for the guests. Haku tells Chihiro to get a job from Kamajii, but she goes with Lin instead to go to Yubaba for a job. Kamajii seems like a rough man at first, but he aids Chihiro and Haku later in the movie. For example, he lets an injured Haku stay in the Boiler Room to recuperate. Kamajii also gives train tickets to Chihiro when she wants to return the Golden Seal to Yubaba's twin sister, Zeniba.
The Guests of the Bathhouse
The spirits who visit the Bathhouse vary greatly, but there are a few who are worth mentioning here:
The River Spirit
The River Spirit is a supporting character in the movie, and Chihiro is in charge of taking care of him. At first, Yubaba thinks the River Spirit is a Stink Spirit because of the nauseating stench coming from the shapeless, sludge body that enters the Bathhouse. However, after removing a bike from the spirit's body and draining the spirit of all the junk, it's revealed that the spirit was a River Spirit who was wealthy. Yubaba definitely liked that fact, enough to even praise Chihiro. The River Spirit is a significant character in the movie because, in a way, he helps Chihiro grow as a character and he gives her special medicine that helps No-Face and Haku later in the movie.
Fun Fact: The River Spirit was inspired by a true story from Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki helped clean a local river with other people and pulled a bike out of it by wrapping a rope around it. The river was clean and fish started to live in it again, so that's why Miyazaki included the River Spirit scene in the movie.
Kaonashi or “No-Face”
No-Face is a harmless spirit who changes when he swallows other beings or is in an environment where there are many people around him. He adopts the feelings of the beings around him and can change into a dangerous spirit. Chihiro is the only one who notices him. She allows him into the Bathhouse, thinking that he was a guest, but he ends up messing up the Bathhouse, infuriating Yubaba. Chihiro notices that the greedy, negative emotions present in the Bathhouse affected No-Face, so she lured him out to help him revert to his original form. He became Zeniba's assistant later on.
Photo Courtesy to Rocket News 24
Did you know there's a real-life Spirited Away? In Taiwan, a town called Jiufen resembles much of the movie's locations. From lantern-lined paths to food vendors that make mouthwatering munchies, this city is referred to as the real-life setting of Spirited Away.
Did you enjoy your mini adventure through Spirited Away's Bathhouse? We hope you did through this guide! If you haven't yet, be sure to watch the movie and other movies created by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.