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Ofuros / Japanese Soaking Tubs

The Japanese bathing ritual consists of cleansing the body at a wash station, followed by a relaxing soak in a deep tub filled with clear hot water. These tubs, known as ofuros, have recently become popular in high end western bathrooms as the relaxing benefits of a long quiet soak have become increasingly appreciated. Traditionally, these tubs were made from wood, although recently models have been manufactured from acrylic or fiberglass. Orfuros are available from specialty companies that sell them both as standard sizes and custom made. They can be ordered either as kits or fully assembled.

If you are thinking of buying an ofuro, consider the following:

  • Ofuros are available in rectangular, elliptical and circular shapes in many sizes. When filled they can be quite heavy, so the floor may need to be reinforced in order to support their weight.
  • These tubs frequently use a recirculation heating system that will keep the water hot or adjust the water temperature. This system usually consists of a quiet pump, a washable cartridge filter, a heater and a set of controls. The whole system is so small that it can easily be installed on site, but out of sight.
  • Wooden tubs should be made from vertical grained, quarter sawn, heartwood that has been properly dried. Rot resistant cedar is a good choice. Wooden tubs usually have a drain in the bottom but no overflow, so they should only be installed on a waterproof floor with a central drain to prevent accidental flooding.

The Japanese like to place an ofuro where the bather can enjoy a pleasing natural view. This considerably adds to the relaxing experience.

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