Projects & Improvements

What We Can Learn From The Japanese About Thriving In Winter

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Benoist)

Fall has its beauty, but it can be a little too fleeting. Only too soon are we dealing with winter’s bare trees, slush, and seemingly neverending cold weather. If there’s a season where everyone deserves a little extra self-care, it’s winter. Japanese culture has an age-old way to combat the chill, which we could all learn a lot from.

Those looking to ease into season need only to look at the Japanese custom of soaking in an “ofuro,” a deep tub that submerges you in water for the ultimate in relaxation. Also called, appropriately enough, a Japanese soaking tub, the ofuro replicates the experience of soaking in one of the thousands of hot springs that dot the country.

The benefits are many, according to traditional ofuro maker Bartok Designs, who makes the tubs to order in Japan, then ships them all over the world. Their website lists all the ways that a 30-60 minute soak each day will leave you feeling energized, rejuvenated, and—importantly—relaxed.

Hinoki wood is the preferred material for the ofuro, as the aromatic cypress is both bacterial and rot-resistant and is thought to have healing properties.

Even if you don’t quite connect to the restorative spa idea, there are a number of really functional benefits to Japanese soaking tubs. For one, they are ideal for small bathrooms. Also, a Japanese soaking tub uses less water than a conventional tub (as long as it’s a one- or two-person tub).

And, even while you save space with these tubs, you don’t sacrifice depth, as they allow you to fully submerge your body.

What do you think? Does the idea of an hour-long soak in one of these tubs sound like a soul saver this season?