Japanese Ofuros

In Japan, no daily ritual is more uniquely important to the individual's well being than the bath at the end of the day. The ofuro has been used by the Japanese for centuries to alleviate both physical and spiritual maladies. This ancient technique of immersion in hot water takes away tensions and stress, soothes muscular pains, and stimulates the blood's circulation. Due to its ability to increase the quality of one's life and health, this oriental bathing tradition has been gaining popularity here in the west.

Our ofuro, a traditional style Japanese rectangular or square bath, is painstakingly crafted from some of the finest, hand selected woods available. While traditionally the wood of choice is hinoki, also known as port orford cedar, we also offer the slightly more durable Alaskan yellow cedar and the more exotic teak. Rivaling even the finest Japanese products, on occasion we have used other types of wood to meet clients specific design requirements.

The ofuro, or Japanese bath, has three main differences from the western style bathtub. The first is the actual use of the tub. While an American bathtub is used for bathing, an ofuro is strictly for soaking, and relaxation. As such, soaps should not be used in the ofuro. Doing so will undesirably stain the wood. The second difference is the water depth. Western bathtubs are only about 12" deep...somewhat pitiful for real relaxation. Our ofuros have a typical inside depth of 26" to 28", and we can quite easily adjust this to your needs. The third, and probably biggest difference, is the over-flow of the ofuro. Unlike a western bathtub, ofuros do not have an overflow. This is one of the ways of accomplishing the extra depth, however the design is such that the ofuro overflows over the top, onto the floor. This requires that the floor where the ofuro is placed is completely waterproofed with a central floor drain installed. Additionally, the ofuro is typically drained onto the floor as well, though, it is quite possible to plumb the drain into a standard drain pipe. Draining can be accomplished with our specialized "Flip Drain", or as an option we also offer an automated electronic drain valve.

Traditionally these baths are used as a soaking tub, being filled with hot water, then emptied at the end of the evening (in Japan the entire family shares the same water on each filling). Traditionally, the original style of ofuro is very small, barely fitting one person, scrunched up. Many westerners prefer something larger, frequently much larger, and it is therefore rare that the typical home has enough hot water supply to fill the ofuro. Although it may seem unconventional to the ofuro traditionalist, our ofuros can easily be set up similar to a western style hot tub. A circulation system, including filtration and heating components (our typical hot tub gas heated system or, more commonly, an electric Spa Pack), as well as any number of therapeutic jets can be added. When this is done, all of the plumbing fittings we use that are attached to the tub are a custom made, flush mounted, clear-coated bronze fitting. When jets are added, all of the plumbing fittings that are installed in the tub are the same custom made, flush mounted, clear-coated bronze fittings. If desired, these fittings can plated with chrome, nickel, or even gold.

The size of these square, or rectangular baths can vary greatly according to your needs; from as small as a one-person tub, to as large as you desire. As these Japanese baths are all made to order there are no standard sizes. Generally we make the tub to fit your individual desires and existing space. The depth can also be specified for your comfort.

After a stint as a woodworking apprentice in Japan many years ago, and many many more years of making and developing our own style of these Japanese baths, our ofuros now rival even the finest Japanese products. We carefully hand-select each individual piece of wood that goes into making an ofuro. Our ofuros are constructed in such a manner that when complete, each side appears to be made of only a single board, with no indication as to how the sides are joined together. Most importantly, unlike others, even the ofuros made in Japan, our ofuros do not "seep", "weep", "drip" or leak a single drop of water. In addition to our square and rectangular ofuros, we also offer an excellent substitute in the form of small oval hot tubs, or even a small round hot tub.

915 Ashby Ave • Berkeley, CA 94710
Phone: 510-843-2000 • Fax: 510-883-9930