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Remodeling with Japanese Soaking Tubs

 

 
 
A luxury bathroom remodel tends to be high on every homeowner’s wish list. Revamping the guest or master bath is an opportunity to create an environment that completely suits your needs and style. When imagining the ideal bathtub, the mind probably jumps to decor favorite, the clawfoot tub. While clawfoot bathtubs are here to stay, there is another option: Japanese soaking tubs.
 

WHAT IS A JAPANESE SOAKING TUB?

 
   
     
  Modern incarnations of a millennia-old tradition, Japanese soaking tubs are tall and often incorporate a seat. They offer water depths of more than 22 inches deep to ensure the average adult can be submerged up to their shoulders when sitting upright. Japanese soaking tubs are available in a wide range of sizes, from single-person baths to larger sizes that accommodate multiple people.

Traditional Japanese soaking tubs were built of fragrant cypress wood -- Hinkoki -- the same wood used to build temples. As the popularity of these tubs increased, many other materials have taken its place: cedar, stone, copper, steel, and acrylic tubs are now common.

If you think that bathing while seated upright doesn’t sound as relaxing as stretching out in a traditional tub, take another look at the Japanese soaking tubs on the market: they are designed to support the body, allowing you to lean back and let go.
 
     
  Japanese soaking tubs are an extension of an entire bathing culture. Several early important Japanese settlements were built next to volcanic hot springs, called onsen; there are thousands of these naturally occurring hot springs spread across the country. Outdoor bathing for health and relaxation became a way of life and eventually led to the establishment of sento. Finally, there was the ofuro, the Japanese soaking tub, which let people enjoy the luxury of a hot bath at home, either heated by a hot spring or by a fire stoked beneath a cast iron tub.

The real joy of the Japanese soaking tub is that it is entirely dedicated to relaxation. Traditionally, all hygienic tasks were taken care of prior to stepping into the soaking tub. In Japanese culture, bathing is deeply tied to concepts of renewal — spiritual cleansing as much as physical.
 
     
   
     

HEALTH BENEFITS

 
   
     
  The stress-relieving properties of hot water have been extensively studied, and anything that promotes deep relaxation is an immediate health win. The science of the soak goes deeper than that, though. Immersion in hot water gives your body an automatic cardiovascular workout, dilating blood vessels and improving circulation, which in turn speeds up healing processes and helps to flush toxins from the body. Some modern designs even allow you to incorporate massaging air jets to enhance your hydrotherapy experience. It’s perfect for sore muscles after a run.

If you struggle with arthritis or chronic back and joint pain, regular hot baths have been shown to be remarkably therapeutic. With a Japanese soaking tub, you can indulge in spa-level comfort every day without ever leaving your home.

The depth of the water helps to keep it hotter for longer, and clouds of steam are part of the experience. Breathing in deep lungfuls can ease breathing and help with congestion — excellent for getting through cold season in comfort.
 
     

TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS

 
   
     
  If you have the option, these tubs are particularly suited to wetrooms: a shower in one corner and the tub next to it. Without the benefit of a wet room, you may need to fill the tub to a lower level, climb in, and “top it off” to avoid excessive water splashing onto the floor. You can also fit many models with overflow drains.

One of the bonus benefits of a Japanese soaking tub is its small footprint. Choosing a soaking tub can suit a smaller bathroom where a traditional long tub would never fit. This makes them a great choice for apartments. If you have a large bathroom, the space saved with a Japanese soaking tub can be put to good use, perhaps to include a sauna or steam shower.

A one-person tub often uses less water than a traditional western tub of similar dimensions, but the larger tubs can hold hundreds of gallons of water, and weight quickly becomes an important consideration. If you are installing a three- or four-person tub, especially on an upper level, you may need to reinforce the floor.
 
     

INSTALLATION PROCESS

 
  The installation of a Japanese soaking tub may require some minor reconfiguration of your plumbing. Because it is a specialized item, we recommend consulting a professional if you are unfamiliar with installing this type of fixture. If you do decide to use outside help, make sure the installer has previous experience with Japanese soaking tubs.  
     
   
     
   
     

ADDITIONAL ENHANCEMENTS

 
A luxury bathroom remodel tends to be high on every homeowner’s wish list. Revamping the guest or master bath is an opportunity to create an environment that completely suits your needs and style. When imagining the ideal bathtub, the mind probably jumps to decor favorite, the clawfoot tub. While clawfoot bathtubs are here to stay, there is another option: Japanese soaking tubs.
 
  Tub Faucets
How do you want to fill that tub of yours? Wall-mount waterfall faucets are a great choice, as they have a spa-like waterfall flow. If you want to branch out from traditional bathtub positioning and place your freestanding tub away from the wall, an extra-tall gooseneck bath filler is a wonderful option. Sleek, understated, and beautifully styled, it will set your remodel apart from the rest. Click here to explore tub faucet styles
 
     
  Bath Steps
A small set of steps will make getting in and out of your tub a little more graceful, and there are many options available, from simple teak to something more indulgent like hammered copper. Click here to shop bath steps
 
     
It’s not difficult to understand why Japanese soaking tubs have made their way into so many Western bathrooms: they are compact, visually striking, and offer incredible relaxation and health benefits.