Tub bathing is considered to have a preventive effect against cardiovascular disease (CVD) by improving haemodynamic function. However, no prospective studies have investigated the long-term effects of tub bathing with regard to CVD risk.A total of 30 076 participants aged 40-59 years with no history of CVD or cancer were followed up from 1990 to 2009. Participants were classified by bathing frequency: zero to two times/week, three to four times/week and almost every day. The HRs of incident CVD were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models after adjusting for traditional CVD risk factors and selected dietary factors.During 538 373 person-years of follow-up, we documented a total of 2097 incident cases of CVD, comprising 328 coronary heart diseases (CHDs) (275 myocardial infarctions and 53 sudden cardiac deaths) and 1769 strokes (991 cerebral infarctions, 510 intracerebral haemorrhages, 255 subarachnoid haemorrhages and 13 unclassified strokes). The multivariable HRs (95% CIs) for almost daily or every day versus zero to two times/week were 0.72 (0.62 to 0.84, trend p<0.001) for total CVD; 0.65 (0.45 to 0.94, trend p=0.065) for CHD; 0.74 (0.62 to 0.87, trend p=0.005) for total stroke; 0.77 (0.62 to 0.97, trend p=0.467) for cerebral infarction; and 0.54 (0.40 to 0.73, trend p<0.001) for intracerebral haemorrhage. No associations were observed between tub bathing frequency and risk of sudden cardiac death or subarachnoid haemorrhage.The frequency of tub bathing was inversely associated with the risk of CVD among middle-aged Japanese.