Japanese Soaking Tubs Are the Self-Care Trend Your Bathroom Needs
If you’re a bath person, there’s simply no better way to float away the day’s troubles than in a nice, hot, relaxing vat of water. Unless, of course, you could be in a deeper and more immersive vat of water. Well, folks, turns out you can be. Meet: the ”ofuro,” aka the Japanese soaking tub, which is basically a tiny indoor hot tub that you can luxuriate in every day. Ahhhh.
FIRST, SOME HISTORY
Deep-walled soaking tubs have been an important part of Japanese culture for many centuries. (Immersive bathing is a key component of Buddhist cleansing rituals.) Traditionally made with native hinoki wood, they’re a bathroom fixture in apartments, homes and ryokans (spas) across the country. The idea? Replicate the experience of sitting in a natural hot spring (which there are apparently loads of in the Japanese countryside) and reap the same therapeutic benefits in your home.
THREE CHEERS FOR SMALL FOOTPRINTS
One of the biggest benefits to the ofuro is that it has a considerably smaller footprint than your standard soaker tub, which allows for a more flexible floor plan. (This is a natural evolution, as Japanese bathrooms tend to be much smaller than American ones.) In Japan, the ritual of bathing traditionally entails a wash in the shower first and then warm and relax in the tub afterward, which is in part why many modern Western adaptations feature a shower stall alongside the tub.
A CHIC STATEMENT PIECE
To note, the tubs featured here are not authentic ofuros; rather ofuro-inspired. While yes, space-efficient, they also cut an incredibly beautiful silhouette, adding interest and design cred to your bathroom. We love that they offer a way to get the luxurious look of a freestanding soaker tub on limited square footage, with the added benefit of super-duper self-care.
WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THEM NOW?
For the past few years, ofruros have had a major renaissance due to their unique cocktail of spa therapy vibes (hello, self-care movement) and space-savviness. What do you think—would you consider a Japanese soaking tub? Below, a sampling of prices and styles.