Japanese Soaking Tubs 101

A Japanese soaking tub.
What You'll Need
Waterproof sealant
Plumbing drain and pipes
Wood stain or paint
Wood sealant for outdoor weather protection

Traditionally referred to as an ofuro, a Japanese soaking tub is thought to do more than provide an area for bathing. Unlike most bathtubs, ofuros have a built-in seat which allows you to be completely immersed in warm water up to your shoulders. They are thought to provide complete rejuvenation, alleviate aches and pains, and lessen fatigue and stress.


Since traditional Japanese soaking tubs are made from wood, that is the material we will be discussing. The best wood to use is cedar, which is tough and can withstand years of exposure to moisture.


Decide on the dimensions you want for your tub. You should have enough room to sit inside with your legs stretched out and your body submerged. In this situation, it is better to overestimate the size than underestimate it.


Cut the wood you will need to assemble the sides and floor of your tub. Before you put them together, apply waterproof sealant to each piece, paying special attention to joints, seams, and the floor. Silicone is a great choice.


You might want to contact a licensed plumber for this step. Drill a hole in the bottom of your tub and install a drain. The plumbing needs to be connected to the drain so that the tub may empty properly. The plumbing should also provide hot and cold water to come in at the top of the tub. Since Japanese soaking tubs use a large amount of water, you may want to install high-flow plumbing.


Design the exterior of the tub as you choose or so it blends with your décor. You can stain or paint the wood, or you can add accents like a mosaic.

If the Japanese soaking tub is for outdoor use, make sure to treat the wood against weather damage.