Staying warm this winter – take a Japanese ofuro in your own home

9 Jan

[Update 10/20/2010] Here are some interesting stats on Japanese people and their ofuro habit. Note that over 50% (55.3% to be exact) of the respondents said that they reuse their water for washing machines.

http://whatjapanthinks.com/2006/11/28/over-half-the-japanese-re-use-their-bath-water/

The post was written in 2006…it’s now 4 years later and here in the US, this option is still not available to us…as one of the Japanese commented (on another discussion site), it’s hard to believe that the US is a technically advanced and “green” country…sigh~

Actually, speaking of conservation, I wouldn’t mind having one of the Japanese style toilet + sink combos either.

http://donkeymon.net/donkeymon/gallery.pl?whichGall=Life%20in%20Japan&whichImg=5

It saves water and space…what’s not to love?

***********************

Even after enduring two icy cold seasons in the Midwest, Charlie and I find winters in California to be the coldest. Last year we managed to keep warm by freeloading off our downstairs neighbors’ heat (we lived on the top floor of a four-story building) and taking advantage of the new double-pane windows and central heating system in the building (the apartment complex was completed the summer we moved in.) Then in August we moved to an older one-story home with hardwood floors and poor insulation so we were apprehensive as the weather got colder.

Thankfully God provided a solution in the form of a Japanese soaking tub. And now every night we go to sleep toasty even when the outside temperature drops to the low 40s (I know, I know…this temperature would be spring-like in the Midwest.)

I came across the Takagi Tub several months ago while researching the Japanese ofuro (baths that allow you to soak up to your shoulders). Back then, we were thinking about acquiring a wooden tub because it seemed like the only portable and inexpensive option. But it turns out that wooden tubs can be quite costly and the ones available in the US are large and some even require custom installation. Then I read about the Takagi Tub, which is light-weight, easy to install, and fits in a standard shower stall. Even though At-House, the company that sells the tub, has a website that provides detailed information on their products, I was hesitant about buying the tub because it just seemed too good to be true – otherwise, why wouldn’t everyone have one? (My google search turned up only product/commercial descriptions and no user reviews.)

Then a few weeks ago, Charlie and I talked about soaking and decided to look it up again. According to At-House, since the tub is only 50 lbs, it’s highly “portable,” which means that we can take the tub with us when we move. Also, being able to install it ourselves means that we wouldn’t have to alter any of the existing fixtures (we are leasing our home.)

After reading the company product information carefully and measuring to make sure that the tub will indeed fit our stall, we took the “plunge” and placed our order, just in time for Christmas. They were sold out of the small model so we ordered the larger one which is only $20 more than the smaller one.

For $800, you get the tub and a cover which helps to retain the water temperature and to keep the tub clean when it is not in use. Shipping is a flat rate of $80 for anywhere in the US – no discount for living only 8-hours away but we got the tub in just three days.

Since there seems to be no user review or post about this tub, let me post some photos for those of you out there who might want to purchase one.

Box

How the package looked when it arrived

Taking it out of the box

Charlie taking it out of the box for inspection. The delivery guy isn’t allowed to help so he’s just standing there and watching. I’ll bet he doesn’t get to see something like this everyday!

Tub in box

Look at the simple but efficient packaging!

Lid

The tub lid/cover

Bottom of the tub

Bottom of the tub. Everything looked fine.

Getting it in the door

We forgot to measure to make sure that it would fit through the door. Good thing it did!

Installation

Charlie took off the glass shower doors before installing the tub.

Wood planks

The tub was slanted (for drainage) towards the opposite side of our shower head so Charlie added some wooden planks to prop it up the other way.

Tub in shower stall

And it really does fit in a standard shower stall! (We put the glass doors back in later but they fit without any problems.)

First soak

First soak that day…at 4 in the afternoon.

 

So how do we like it? As Charlie puts it, “It’s the beset $900* we’ve ever spent!”

Here’s the link to the Takagi Tub page on At-House’ website

 

*$880 before tax

P.s. Forgot to mention that in addition to keeping us warm, soaking in baths every night has also many health benefits, including better blood circulation and relief from aches and pains. My backaches from picking up and holding Noah has lessened a great deal since we started soaking! If only I can do yoga consistently too…sigh~

57 Responses to “Staying warm this winter – take a Japanese ofuro in your own home”

  1. Mary January 9, 2008 at 10:11 pm #

    wah… looks so warm =) does it fit two ?
    hehe…

  2. jenjapan January 10, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    Mary:

    It is nice and toasty…helps us to sleep better at night…too bad Noah’s too little to soak with us but no, it won’t fit two…unless you are pretty skinny and “coordinated” – we’re not but maybe you and K are =)

  3. Mitsuko April 17, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    I’m so glad you like it.
    It is my pleasure to introduce you the Japanese way to take a bath.

  4. Lydia May 2, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    Hi, thanks for your pictures and description. I am looking to add this into our bathroom. At-House gives me the link to your blog. This is really great!

    I saw in your description that you added some planks to prop it up because the tub was slanted for drainage towards the opposite side of your shower head, I am wondering 1. would flipping the tub the other way helps? 2. Does adding planks make it less stable?

    Also, when you take shower, could you do it in the remaining space in the pan or inside the tub? My husband is not a tub person.

    I’d appreciate a great deal if you could share your experience.

    Thanks!

    Lydia

  5. Lydia May 2, 2008 at 6:53 pm #

    Another question, do you by any chance know the size of your shower pan? I will be converting a bathtub into a shower like yours,but I think our current bathtub tiled wall to end of tub is 29 1/2. I assume the shower pan has a threshold that takes up some space too.

    Thanks so much!

  6. jenjapan May 6, 2008 at 5:18 am #

    Hi Lydia,

    Welcome to my blog. I didn’t realize that At-House was sending people here but I am glad to help since there wasn’t a lot of information when we bought our tub.

    Anyway, to answer the questions in your first comment:

    Flipping the tub – as you can see in the photos, our shower head and drainage is located on the right side of the shower stall. The drainage hole and the drain stopper (with a chain) are located on the lower side of the tub. So we put it in the shower stall this way because we didn’t want to have the hole and the stopper chain on the side where we get in an out (left side). I suppose you can flip it if that doesn’t bother you or if your shower head is on the other side.

    Plank/stable – I don’t know about this one but I asked and my husband says it’s stable. Still, I step into the tub carefully just to make sure. If you like, you can buy a shower stool (or one of those kids’ foot stools that they sell at IKEA) and it will make getting into the tub easier.

    Shower – you can do either. I generally take it inside the tub but my husband sometimes uses the space left in the pan. Our shower head doesn’t have a hose so I find it easier to do it in the tub to be closer. You can probably try standing in the pan where the tub will end and see if you like showering from that distance.

    Size of the shower pan and threshold – I’m not sure how to answer this question. All I know is that my husband took the measurements of the tub (what he saw online) and measured it against our stall to make sure there’s enough room. From what I can see, there’s about 1 to 1.5 inches left between the edge of the tub and the shower stall doors so I guess if you have a standard shower space, it should fit. But you should double-check with At-House to make sure.

    Okay, I hope my answers help. Let me know if you have other ones. Enjoy!

  7. Lydia May 6, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    Thanks for answering my questions! I’ve been checking you blog often to see your reply!. I also have been emailing back and forth with At-House, but I still have more questions. I learned about this tub at Fremont Tubz but they don’t have one on site.

    Since I’ve never seen this tub in real life, it’s hard for me to imagine what it looks like. You mentioned that your shower drain is on the right side and the tub’s is on the left side. So you must have had to flip it first so the tub’s hole is now on the right and you don’t have to worry about the chain. So, why is it still necessary to prop it up now that both holes are on the same side?

    From your picture, it looks like you are propping up the left side.
    Am I totally confused?!

    At-House told me the tub is 3 side insulated and aproned. Is the uninsulated, unaproned side the side with the drain hole? I assume this is the side that should be placed against the wall where the faucet is? does it look differently compared with the other 3 sides?

    Thanks!

    Lydia

  8. jenjapan May 6, 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    Lydia,

    I’ve got baby brain so I don’t remember much of how we installed our tub but according to my husband, both our shower pan and the takagi tub have slants towards their drain holes so it was necessary to put a plank under ours to adjust for both. Apparently, our shower pan’s drain hole is in the middle…

    As for the sides, probably the best way to understand it is to look at one of my photos above, showing the bottom of the tub. As you can see, the side where the drain hole is is different from the other three. And yes, for us, it’s the side that we put up against the wall.

    I’m sorry my photos and replies aren’t enough to address all of your questions…but it will make a lot more sense once you have the tub.

  9. Lydia May 8, 2008 at 2:20 am #

    Thanks you so much for your explanation again. Now it’s clear. I kept thinking your drain hole is on the right side but it’s actually in the middle. Now it makes sense.

    I looked again at the picture and yes, the side with the hole does look different. Thanks so much.

    Lydia

  10. Rob May 16, 2008 at 4:55 am #

    Hi Jen, Lydia and I are still considering a Takagi tub, but we’re having a lot of trouble figuring out how it would look or how we would install it. It would help us a lot if we could take a look at an installed Takagi tub, but we can’t find any showrooms near here that have one. The one Lydia mentioned is in Irvine.

    We live in Silicon Valley also, and I’m a UIUC alum too. I know it’s a potentially scary request, but do you think we could come look quickly at your tub some weekend? It would help us a lot with our design planning.

    I understand you have a small baby and totally understand if you wouldn’t be comfortable with that.

    Thanks, Rob

  11. laurel May 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    We were thinking about this but sitting on the floor, with a tape measure, is that it will be so cramped. For instance, it seems like you have to scrunch your legs up so tight that it would not be comfortable. I’m only 5’4″. So, how does it “feel” to sit in it, and is it truly comfortable for, say, a one-hour soak? TIA for your input.

  12. jenjapan May 27, 2008 at 5:05 am #

    Laurel,

    I’m only 5’4″ and my husband is 5’7″ and we both fit in the tub pretty comfortably. That said, we’re used to Asian style tubs which require you to sit with your knees bent toward your chest. So if you don’t like sitting in that position, this tub might not work for you. Also, we’re rarely in there for “one-hour” as we like the water pretty hot and it’s hard to stay in there more than 30 – 40 minutes.

    Lastly, we don’t mind that it’s “small” because that way it takes less water and time to fill up the tub (we like to soak up to our shoulders). I think At-House has other deep soak tubs that are longer (fit into the standard tub space) that might be more comfortable if you don’t want to sit in a smaller space.

    Hope this helps.

  13. Andrew July 2, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    Have you seen the traditional wooden ofuros at Roberts Hot Tubs?

  14. jenjapan July 2, 2008 at 10:14 pm #

    Andrew,

    I’ve browsed Roberts Hot Tubs’ website before but the prices and care needed for the wooden tubs are too much for us at this point. Maybe later on when we have more time and money.

  15. Peter August 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    My wife (a native of Japan who misses her old ofuro with the built-in heater – something that seems to be unavailable in the U.S.) and I are considering the Takagi tub. After about 8 months of use, are you still satisfied with the quality, usability, etc.? Thank you.

  16. jenjapan August 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    Peter:

    To answer your question, let me tell you what my husband said the other night,

    “How did we ever live without this tub?”

    So yes, we are still very happy with it. Ideally though we would like to have a permanent tub (draining is slow with our current set-up) but as we are living in a rental, this is the next best thing. I don’t know what your housing situation is but I would recommend installing a tub only if you have a second bathroom because showering with the tub is somewhat cramped.

    That said, we love soaking after a stressful day. And we appreciate how well the tub and lid keeps the water warm (we bath Japanese style where one person soaks after another). Recently I bought a thermometer so that we can aim for 40 degrees C baths. I highly recommend picking one up to fully enjoy your baths!

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  17. Moxie October 1, 2008 at 11:20 pm #

    I lived in Japan for 7 years and used tubs similar to this one. They were wonderful! So wonderful, that just yesterday, I purchased one for my weekend “go to” place. I am so-o-o-o looking forward to soaking in it. To respond to previous inquiries about the size of the shower pan…At House recommends a 36 x 36 x 6 pan for the TP-11. Remember to include the height of the pan and tub when installing your bath fixtures. I’m 5’4″ and found sitting in these tubs comfortable and extremely relaxing.

    I’ll let you know how it goes and “Thanks: for your blog on these tubs.

  18. jenjapan October 15, 2008 at 9:57 pm #

    Moxie,

    I was out of the country and didn’t see your comment until today. Thanks for the comment and info – hopefully you are enjoying your new tub now!

  19. tanya November 21, 2008 at 2:54 am #

    do you just use the shower head to fill the tub, or do you have a spigot?

  20. jenjapan November 26, 2008 at 1:57 am #

    Hi Tanya,

    We just use the regular shower head since we’re living in a rental and don’t want to bother returning things to original condition when we move.

    The shower head works just fine…

    I would recommend, however, that you buy a bath thermometer (you can pick up a cheap one from Daiso if you’re in the Bay Area) to help you gauge the water temperature.

  21. Janice December 20, 2008 at 6:14 am #

    My husband and I purchased our Takagi soaking tub in August 2008 . In August 2008 we decided on the larger Takagi after finding the site on-line. Our installation was in a downstairs bath that didn’t have room for a traditional shower or tub. My husband installed a hand held shower that can be used also. At-House was a wonderful company to work with through ordering (on-line), to recieving the shipment. We laughed as we couldn’t read the installation instructions as they were in Japanese, but everything was so easy and we had our first soak later the same evening. What a wonderful, relaxing way in which to end the day. We like the tub and dealing with At-House so much that we are now looking to install an Ofulo by At-House in our main bath upstairs.

    • jenjapan December 24, 2008 at 3:59 am #

      Hi Janice,

      So glad that you stopped by to share your experience with the Takagi tub. Isn’t soaking great even in the middle of the hot summer? We didn’t have to work with At-House much other than just place our order but the whole process was pretty simple and quick. Since we located in the same state, the tub got to us in no time.

      Now I’m just waiting for our son to get old enough so that he too can enjoy a nice soak =) Let’s continue to spread the word so more people can take advantage of a nice Japanese bath in their own home!

  22. Jessi P. December 30, 2008 at 3:18 am #

    Thank you so much for blogging about your experience! My husband and I are building our own house and due to the strange shape of the house (16 sides) have wound up with a space for a shower/tub that is wierder than we anticipated on paper. I found the At-House site today and think this is the solution but was worried that the site might not be up to date and that there wasn’t much other info out there about them, but I feel sooo much better reading people’s recent comments!! I can’t wait to get one!

    • jenjapan December 30, 2008 at 6:32 am #

      Hi Jessi,

      Glad to know that the info is helpful to you. Like I said in my post, there wasn’t a lot of user reviews about the tub so I thought it would help to share mine. Hopefully more people will blog about their experience with using Japanese soaking tubs in the US!

  23. iacopo November 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Hi Jen,
    I am glad that all of you appreciate the japanese soaking tub experience. I am a foreigner living in japan for 11 years. Bathing every night before sleeping has become ordinary for me but reading your comments, reminded me of the of the enthusiasm of the first times. The ofuro changed my life so much that I started designing and exporting wooden bath as a side business (or I`d rather say as a mission…).
    I will be glad if you take a look at my ofuro homepage at: http://www.bartokdesign.com/japan. If you think I can be helpful for any question regarding japanese ofuro, onsen spas or the bathing culture in general, do not hesitate to contact me. ki wo tsukete! (take care!)

  24. Jo Anne December 16, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    Hi there. I’m interested in getting this tub as well for my condo unit. I just have a few questions.

    Does it come with a heat control panel? How does the heating in the ofuro work? I remember ofuros I had in Japan had gas connected to the heating mech of the tub, which I have no idea happens with this one. They look the same though…

    Also, can two people fit in there?

    Hope you could give me more insight to this. Thanks!

    -Jo Anne

    • jenjapan December 16, 2009 at 6:30 am #

      Hi Jo Anne,

      Welcome! Happy to hear that you’re planning to put a soaking tub in your condo.

      To answer your questions – our tub does not come with a heat control panel or heating element. I don’t remember if I mentioned it in my post but we just use the shower and draw the bath by letting the water collect in the tub. Again, this is mainly because we’re in a rental and didn’t want to touch any of the existing fixtures. I must warn you, however, the bathroom gets pretty steamed up while the water is collecting. So hopefully you’re planning to install it in a bathroom that has good air ventilation. Ours doesn’t so we sometimes leave the the window open overnight to allow the room to completely dry out.

      Ideally, a complete set-up would be a tub that is connected to its own water heater, as well as a drainage system that allows you to reuse the water for other things such as laundry like they do in Japan…but sadly, we’re not there yet.

      As for how many people fit? If you sit really close (i.e. like spooning) you might fit two small/skinny sized people but it’s not going to be as enjoyable of an experience as sitting in one of those large American style/size spa tubs. That said, the tub is much more comfortable filled with water than without so if you’ve tried to sit in a dry space of the same size, your actual soaking experience will be a lot more comfortable. But basically, the way you soak in this tub is by sitting, with your knees folded close to your chest…

      Anyway, I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions, I am sure Takagi would be glad to help address them.

  25. Susan July 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Hi Everybody,
    I’m jumping in here to ask questions and to give my testimony of Jpn soaking! I’m in stalling my Takagi tub from In-house who were very helpful. They explained however the type of re-circulating heater used in Japan to reheat the water is not FDA approved here in the US. I can’t imagine why since we use hot tubs and you can buy them if you are using the tub outside. I’d love to see America use their water more efficiently! I also love the idea of reusing the used water for water plants, laundry etc.

    We are currently simply bumping out the former tub area to not only hold the tub but also leave enough space for washing. My carpenter thinks I’m crazy but I assure him I know exactly what I want.

    I am still desperately hunting for a heater to use, so any leads would be helpful.

    As for filling the tub I am using a in wall mount swivel headed laundry faucet. It isn’t pretty but it works great! You can use it to fill your washing bucket or swivel the head and fill the tub!
    Thanks again!
    Soaking in Seattle

  26. jenjapan August 21, 2010 at 4:58 am #

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for stopping by to leave your helpful comments. I’m sorry it’s taken a while for me to approve and post your comment. I don’t have much time to blog these days and didn’t realize that people were visiting.

    In any case, I hope you are enjoying your tub now – have you found any solutions to the heater issue?

    We’re having one of the coldest summers in 40 years in our area so we’re very happy to be able to soak all-year round!

  27. Robert September 8, 2010 at 5:54 am #

    Hi!

    There’s lots of wonderful information on this blog. It’s been a great help however I still have one question.

    Like Susan above, I also recently installed the Takagi tub and was also wondering how people are re-heating the water. I’d like to be able to re-use the water, like the traditional way.🙂

    Thanks!

  28. Susan September 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Jenjapan, thanks for posting all this info! One of the most important aspects to the ofuro that I loved was conserving water, not to mention the fact I was a lot more likely to hop into the tub when the reheating process time took a fraction of time compared to filling the tub.

    I’ve had a heck of time finding resources for a recirculating heater and have talked to tons of sources for over a year. Takagi tubs rep tells me a recirculating heater is not FDA approved in the US so they can’t sell them. I talked with a source in Portland that also sells the tubs and they said the same thing.

    A couple of options is purchasing a tankless heater that allows you to increase the temp a bit so you can leave the tub half full and fill the other half fresh each time you soak.

    There are also the thermal couple type stick heaters you can purchase.

    Hot Tub shops sell heaters for their American style hot tubs only but don’t have any idea about the soaking tubs. I don’t quite understand this since hot tubs use heaters. I can’t imagine this concept is THAT novel!

    The takagi tub comes with a template so one can install a recirculating heating system so we know it’s just a matter of time before one of us can figure this out. And I beg of you all if you figure it out before me please post it for us!

    If your tub is outside you are in luck, there are several types of re-circulating heaters available. Check out Roberts Tubs and Snorkel.

    I’ve recently had email contact with Roberts Tubs and they seem to think they will have an indoor type I can use but haven’t confirmed that yet. Here is their direct phone if anybody wants to contact them before I get a moment.

    “We most likely can provide a heating system, but I need more detail as to what you actually have, material type, etc.

    Please give us a call, 800-735-5290 ”

    I’ve been amazed how tough this aspect is. I almost feel like America is living on a different planet when if comes to international practices. BTW I am not done with the bathroom renovation and am now looking into a drainage system for the tub water to be used for grey water use, IE outdoor plant watering, even laundry. Has anyone done this before?

    Thanks again JenJapan!

  29. Susan September 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Here is the scoop on the re-circulating heating system to use with your Takagi acrylic tubs.

    I contacted Robert Tubs and spoke the service tech Bill who explained they offered a “spa pack” at $950.00. This is a smaller electric heater than the American hot tubs, since those type of heaters are too powerful.
    Here is the link
    http://www.rhtubs.com/heater.htm

    There are some code specifics that need to be followed so it be helpful to contact them before making any purchases.

    The heater is more than the tub, so I’ll have to save my pennies a bit longer. If someone does purchase this before we do, please let us know how it goes!

  30. Robert September 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Thank you for the information Susan.

    Yes, that heater is quite expensive so I will also have to save my pennies before thinking about purchasing it.

    • Susan September 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

      So after sending images to Robert’s Tubs to check the plumbing procedure, they had never installed their recirculating heater with the Takagi double walled tub and weren’t sure how to proceed.

      Has anyone had any luck?

      The bathroom is currently gutted but we are no where near completion. Fortunately we have a second bathroom but with winter coming soon I sure would like to wrap things up!

      Not yet Soaking in Seattle

  31. Bob October 21, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    We are building a new home and are planning to build in a ofuro tub
    and have the same question as others… I’d like to have a Japanese tub that is ready to go at any time, and heated (probably on a timer) so that at the right time of day we could use it. I like the aroma of the wood, but if a fiberglass or formed tub is the only practical way, I’d consider it.
    We need the information soon, since we’re forming the house right now.
    We may buy a portable unit for our current house also.

  32. jenjapan October 21, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    Hi everyone,

    I haven’t updated this post in a while but looks like all of you have found each other and are exchanging some useful info.

    I see that some of you are interested in tankless hot water heaters and heaters that will reheat the water as well as more concrete ways to reuse the water in general.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found much info about these concerns – I did a quick Japanese search and only came across posts discussing how inconvenient it is to take deep soaking baths in the US. >_<

    That said, I'm not sure why you are looking to reheat the water (in the tub) though I assume it's for keeping the water warm in between soaks? If it helps, we find that just keeping the lid (that is provided with the tub) on the tub after each soak helps keep the water hot for a window of about 30 to 60 min. Of course, we start with water that is a minimum of 40 degrees C…

    As for reusing the water – that depends on whether you soak with any bath salts, etc. We happen to like using epsom salt and other bath products so our water would probably only be good for laundry and not much else like watering plants. But as I've mentioned before, we find soaking several times a week to be greatly beneficial to our health and if the bath water is used by at least 1 – 2 people then that's already a water/energy saving over showering.

    In any case, the discussion has gone far beyond my original scope so there's probably not much for me to add. Someday when we move into our own house, we'll probably want to go through what you're doing too so thanks in advance for collecting and sharing all the information!

  33. soraya October 22, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Thank you for sharing all this info!🙂

  34. Skip November 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    It’s good to see so many people interested in ofuro! Due to some problems with google, our website (www.japanesebath.com) doesn’t come up in many searches. We are based in Alaska, and hand craft Hinoki ofuros, and ship them all over the world. Wooden ofuro hold their heat longer than synthetic tubs, and the smell of Hinoki is amazing. Have a look!

  35. Peter November 16, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    Just wanna ask… how long the hot water in tub last? In Japan it was still warm the next day if it stay covered. Please let me know…. I am wonder.

    • jenjapan March 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

      Hi Peter, sorry for taking so long to reply…winter is busy time in our household and I don’t blog (or check my blog) often. Anyway, to answer your question – unfortunately, the water doesn’t stay “warm” (not enough to bathe) until the morning. It is warm to the touch and feels good but would be cold for soaking. But this could be because we open it several times at night to soak before covering it for the night…

  36. Shelley Seale March 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    Hi Jen,
    Now that it’s about two years after you bought your tub, are you still liking it? I’m about to move into a place that I will also be leasing, and although it has a HUGE double-head shower, there is no bathtub. And I am a soaking bath kinda gal! This tub looks great and I wonder if you have continued to like it so much?
    Thanks,
    Shelley

    • jenjapan March 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

      Hi Shelley,

      Yes, we still LOVE our tub. It’s been a long cold winter in the San Francisco Bay Area so we have been soaking almost every night.

      Even in the summer time we find soaking to be relaxing and enjoyable so I highly recommend installing something if your new place doesn’t have a tub.

      The only suggestion I have is to take a look at your shower stall to see how the tub would fit in the space and think about how you can clean and maintain the tub. As you can see from the photos I posted above our tub sits on a few slabs of wood so there’s an opening in the bottom. Also, our bathroom doesn’t have a built-in fan so ventilation is only through the window. Since it’s been a very wet winter we’ve had a hard time getting the bathroom to dry out completely. So the tub has had to be cleaned more frequently.

      And by cleaning I mean my husband turns it upside down and scrubs down the bottom with some bleach.

      So depending on your usage and the ventilation in your bathroom you might need to figure out how to keep your tub clean, especially the parts that are exposed but hard to reach.

      Still, we can’t imagine not having this tub and not being able to soak at night. So I hope that it will work out for you too!

      • Shelley Seale September 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

        Thanks Jen. I’ve moved into my new place and am seriously considering the tub again. My shower is a VERY LARGE walk in shower – it’s seriously three times as big as any shower I’ve seen, and it’s completely flat walk-in from the bathroom – no edge or lip or anything.

        so I think the space wouldn’t be an issue, I would have the tub sit in the far corner, away from the shower head. So it would sit up in the corner against two sides, with two sides exposed. Does that make sense? I can include a photo if that helps.

        So how does this tub drain? I would assume there is a drain near the bottom. So you can’t just scrub the tub and then rinse it out to clean?

        Thanks again,
        Shelley

      • jenjapan September 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

        Hi Shelly,

        Congratulations on moving into your new place! I’m glad to hear that you have space for a soaking tub in your shower. I can imagine how you might install the tub and I’m not an expert but I think the arrangement would work. However, I’m not sure if I understand how the floor of the shower area works – if it doesn’t have an edge or lip then will the rest of the bathroom get soaked if water from the shower collects before draining? If your drain is quit efficient this won’t be a problem otherwise you might need to consider how to keep the rest of the bathroom dry or to slow down the tub when it drains.

        When you look at the interior of the tub, it looks just like any other tubs so yes, there’s a drain on one side of the tub and water flows from it out to the shower drain. And as far as I know you can just clean the interior of the tub like any other tubs. And actually unlike the other tubs, you can also wash and clean the outside too since it sits in a shower stall.

        Hope this helps!

  37. Bill September 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    If you are looking for the authentic Japanese ofuro – made from Hinoki Cypress – we build them to order at SeaOtter WoodWorks. Made in the USA. We will be happy to consult with any aspect of your project. You can check out website : japanesebath.com for more information, or give us a call at 888 810 7717.

  38. Shelley Seale October 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Jen, I have just ordered my ofuro from At Home! I can’t wait to get it and have it in my bathroom. Especially now with winter coming up – I could make it through the hot Texas summer just fine with showers only, but not sure I can make it through the winter without hot soaking baths! Also, your readers might want to know that At House has a facebook page, and there are some other photos and readers input:
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/At-House-Inc/151065542830?v=wall

    • jenjapan October 25, 2011 at 6:39 am #

      Shelley,

      Congrats! I hope it arrives soon and the installation will go smoothly. Thanks for sharing the info about At House’s Facebook page. I’m sure it will be very helpful to others who are looking for more information about how to set up a Japanese soaking tub at home. Enjoy your baths this winter!

  39. tina October 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    My husband is having a Toto Ofuro 2 installed in our master bathroom; we picked ours up at the Toto showroom in Torrance. It was about the same price as the Takagi Ofuro. We didn’t realize it was simply supposed to sit inside the existing shower stall. We had to rip out the bathroom floor anyways to fix a foundation problem, so we are simply installing it permanently.

    • Betsy February 25, 2013 at 5:53 am #

      So it is possible to plumb the tub directly to drain and fill? Did you run into any problems with the install? Do you love it?

  40. Melinda November 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Hi Jen,
    I’m so glad I found this posting. I live in VT and have just moved in to a rental with a shower stall only, no tub! It’s a beautiful space, kind of a ‘micro house’, but living without a bathtub with the impending Vermont winter is worrying me. I love to soak in a tub!
    I noticed that the Ofuro model now offered on the At House website is different than the model you purchased. I’m going home to measure to see if my shower stall will fit the tub! I would have to stand in the tub for showering. From your previous posts, it looks like that would work fine??? thanks!

  41. Melinda November 8, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    Hi Jen, Melinda again…….I’ve just measured the shower stall and it is just about 35 1/4 inches by 35″ square….if the tub unit that you have has a smaller base ( as it looks in your photos) it may work to sit in the inside area of the shower which measures about 31″ by 31″ but actually fit in the entire space with the overall outside area sitting on the lip of the shower stall. make sense?

  42. Mikki December 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Anyone familiar with the furohealth ofuros with the built in heater? http://www.furohealth.com

    • Bill January 23, 2012 at 5:03 am #

      I represent SeaOtter WoodWorks. We have been manufacturing traditional Hinoki Ofuros in Alaska for more than 15 years. We are happy to build just about any size tub you need. Most of our tubs are made with Hinoki (Japanese Cypress), however we do custom work using other materials.

      We take pride in constructing a each tub to last a lifetime. Our design is incredibly strong, guaranteed wet or dry, and guaranteed to be the centerpiece of your bath room.

      If interested, please visit our website:
      http://www.woodentubs.com
      or give us a call 888 810 7717

      Also you can see us March 22-24 at the Architectural Digest Home Show in NYC – come visit our booth!

  43. Nandakanda (@nandakanda7) April 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Hi I am so excited to find you on this web. THINKING EXACTLY the same idea to set small Japanese Bath tub! (actually my Canadian husband wanted one) Only a question I have is for the base? What do you have as a shower base? My contractor recommend to lay an tile floor since the commercial plastic base won’t be able to hold the weight of the water in the tub. As looking at your pic, seems it is the ordinary shower base. Did you ever have any crack or sinking into? Looking forward to hearing from you!!

    • jenjapan July 26, 2014 at 4:50 am #

      Wow, this comment was from very very long ago. I assume that you’ve found some kind of solution?
      We put the tub directly into our shower stall but elevated it using a few stacked planks of leftover hardwood floor panels from our flooring project. Not very elegant but we haven’t had any stability problems. Good luck!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Affordable Ofuro from Takagi : Grassrootsmodern - May 8, 2011

    […] last house, I’m always looking for other alternatives. I stumbled across this Takagi Ofuro on JenJapan’s site and I have to admit it looks like it may be a winner. Priced under $800 it definitely meets the […]

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