What is a Japanese Bathtub?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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A Japanese bathtub is a very large tub typically utilized for relaxing and revitalizing. A Japanese bathtub is usually filled with very warm or hot water to relax muscles and increase circulation. This tub is used by every family member after normal bathing. Many modern versions of this tub feature a digital control panel to adjust water flow and temperature. Although commonplace in many Japanese households, these tubs are seldom found in other parts of the world.

The Japanese bathtub is used for relaxation and rejuvenation at the end of the day. It is commonly referred to as Ofuru in most Japanese households. This type of tub is believed to have evolved from an ancient Japanese volcanic bath called Onsen. It is much deeper than an ordinary bathtub and often has a built-in seat at one end. The Japanese bathtub typically provides complete immersion to the neck area when filled with water.

This bathtub variant is usually filled with very warm or hot water prior to entering. The warmth of the water is intended to relax tense muscles and increase blood circulation throughout the entire body. Immersion in the hot water can have an invigorating effect upon the body and provide a sense of relaxation and well-being. Essential oils are sometimes added to the water for aromatherapy purposes.


Relaxing in this tub is a part of the daily bathing ritual for many Japanese families. This tub is often placed in the bathroom as a type of centerpiece. A separate bathtub or shower unit is also located in the bathroom for daily hygiene. The Japanese bathtub is entered only after normal bathing or showering has taken place; the water is not changed between each user.

In terms of configuration, this tub may be square, rectangular, or oval and typically occupies about the same amount of floor space as a regular bathtub. Modern versions of the Japanese bathtub are often equipped with a digital control panel to adjust the water flow and temperature. This control panel is typically mounted to a wall outside of the tub. Many tubs are equipped with a timer mechanism to allow for automatic filling at a certain time each day. Some models also have massaging water jets that can be activated and directed from inside the tub.

These tubs are commonplace in Japan and found in many homes. They are generally not used by people in other parts of the world. Spas and hot tubs offer similar benefits to the Japanese bathtub and are much more common in the U.S. and Europe. These tubs must typically be imported for use in countries other than Japan.


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