Pool Care in Japan
We Have A Pool!
Have you ever thought you might want to get a pool, any size, to cool you off in the hot Japanese summers? I certainly have, and it started shortly after my first daughter was born more than 15 years ago. Our first pool was the small-diameter Intex that required no chemicals or pumps. When the water got dirty you just dump it out and re-fill. Not a big deal when the pool is only 3 meters wide and 30cm deep.
But what do you do when your pool eventually has a real pump and filter and must have the correct chemical balance? Since dumping out the water in a 5m diameter by 60cm deep takes a lot of time and water, not to mention you cannot actually get the last 10cm of water out without literally flipping the pool over and forcing it out. Yes, we did that, and it is NOT fun especially by myself. Those sizes were never really meant to be constantly dumped and refilled, but rather were meant to be kept at the correct levels of chlorine, pH, acidity, hardness, etc.
Pool Chemicals Needed?!
In the US, and I'm going to guess in other English-speaking countries that have pools, the chemicals are probably fairly easy to figure out and buy in any quantities. For quite a while I would bring chemicals back from my frequent trips to Hawaii, and only occasionally would they somehow disappear from my luggage. I guess a kg of chlorine powder in your suitcase may raise some red flags. hmmm... Oh, I'm not sure if you know this, but TSA will often check luggage at your US departure airport and take stuff out and leave a piece of paper informing you they opened your suitcase. They won't tell you if they took anything, but rather they want you to know Big Brother is ALWAYS watching!
Well, I never got in trouble for having them in the bag, the chemicals would just "disappear"! In the beginning of my pool care research over 10 years ago I found some products, but never all the products needed to keep the water at optimal levels. So for the chemicals I could not find or figure out what they were in Japanese, I would bring them back.
Before the salt-water pool system that made it's way to the above-ground pool market around 5 years ago, pool water was always kept clean using the age-old chlorination method. In this article I'll mainly cover the chlorination method here, since I had to switch back to it after the machine that turns the salt into chlorine broke. For the past two seasons I've been using chlorine to keep the water clear and clean.
Japanese Names of Chemicals
I'll let you read other blogs about all the different methods of keeping your pool water clean. I will focus this blog on the ones I use and where to buy them. After many years of trying different products, I finally settled on a good system. And, Oh, as my children grew, so did the size of our pool. Since we are quite fortunate to have a large yard, we eventually had a professionally-built concrete pad to put the pool on. Our current, and final size pool, is an Intex 3m x 8m x 127cm Deep rectangle style with the aluminum "legs" to hold it all up. It uses a sand filter (recommended) and an auto vacuum set to a timer that does OK. I'll write about those things later. Like I mentioned, the pool also came with salt water ionizer method, but it broke, but can easily be replaced (in the US).
I'll list items with some links, mostly Amazon, as an example. Some of the products, especially the hardware, have many options and I am not necessarily saying the one I provide to with a link is the best or recommended. It's an example of what I am talking about so you get an idea. Like the first one, the float, there are so many, even one with a temperature gauge (kinda cool).
If you buy off Amazon from the links below we will get a small commission. While the cleaning tools have many different styles and options, the chemicals are the exact ones you should buy and I've done the math to compare the best price per gram. The links are of the exact product I consistently buy and recommend. I have experimented with so many different chemicals, and you are welcome to try others as well, but I found these have the best cost-performance.
For example, there are different kinds of chlorine tabs available, which will be your most important item, but I found some melted so fast, they had to be replaced too often and kept the pool chlorine level too high. The slow-release tabs are the ones I have finally settled on that provide the correct amount of dissovle for the least maintenance. That's the only product that I cannot buy on Amazon unfortunately, but they do offer the check-out option to use your Amazon account which is very convenient.
Pool care items
FAST Acting Powder for initial Chlorination and when boost is needed
- sodium dichloroisocyanurate
- Japanese chemical name: ジクロロイソシアヌル酸ナトリウム
- Product: ハイスター G Hyster G Bathtub Water Quality Control Agent Chlorine Agent 2.5 kg
SLOW Release Chlorine Tablets for the floating dispenser
Japanese name: トリクロロイソシアヌル酸
Product: バスパクロールT 2.5kg 3,740 yen from Monet Souji
Raise pH and Alkalinity
Sodium percarbonate also called Oxygen Bleach
Japanese name: 過炭酸ナトリウム
- Sodium Carbonate - slightly different from above - works great
- Japanese name: 炭酸ナトリウム
- Lower pH and Alkalinity
- Pool Shock
- Calcium hypochlorite
- Product: Nisso Hykuron Q - 日曹 ハイクロン Ｑ
- Japanese name: 次亜塩素酸カルシウム
- Good for calcium buildup
- tablets turn gooey - good to shock pool when extra dose needed
I hope this info helps you enjoy the hot summers of Japan with a clean and clear pool. It's so satifsfying to jump in your crystal clear pool and cool off when it's SO hot outside. Be sure to add the BBQ and turn it into a pool party. We sure have on MANY occasions. Be sure to get some WAGYU to enjoy. Mahalo for reading and enjoy your summer! JB \000/