In Japan bathing rituals are a very early and important part of life. Traditionally you clean yourself in a bathtub or padded hand bath and become an ofuro filled with clean, steaming water for a pleasant, hot beverage.
Consider the ofuro soaking tub as the prototype of the modern-day hot tub, only cleaner, without chemicals and with fresh water every time. Originally these heavy (about 27 inches) soaking baths are made from hinoki wood, but as these examples show, they come in all sorts of substances — from metal to cement — and are designed to match any design style.
there’s something really luxurious and spa-like about stepping down into a tub flush with the ground. This tub is large enough for a small group, but many ofuros are just large enough for one. See the hand shower on the left side.
Coates Design Architects Seattle
Setting this tub into the ground allowed for a floor-to-ceiling view without any obstruction. Best for this long, narrow space.
Harrell Remodeling, Inc..
A conventional wood box-style ofuro. This bathroom is a real-deal personal spa, complete with sauna.
Abramson Teiger Architects
This deep wooden tub has a more familiar rectangle shape. I adore the appearance of this hot wood tub next to the more intricately patterned tiles. Start looking for similar custom made and conventional wooden bathtubs.
Superior Woodcraft, Inc..
Another wooden tub. It’s like a piece of artwork.
Arkin Tilt Architects
Raised baths with small stairs leading up to them nearly have a throne-like feel. This one has a wooden frame with an insert. Depending on what style surround you decide on, this is the more economical way to go. Many mainstream manufacturers make similar tubs.
Empire Development & Construction
Another insert having a wooden frame around it. The room has an extremely contemporary Japanese sense but isn’t too theme-y.
A tiled ofuro with built in storage. The appearance doesn’t need to be Japanese even if the notion is.
kimberly peck architect
This stark blue glass-tile bathroom with a built-in soaking tub has a clinical appearance, as though you can actually get healthier by bathing.
Firms like Kohler make porcelain soaking baths like this. The substance to the surround is your decision.