Top 10: Resources for a Japanese Bath

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Bathroom month is just about over, but we saved the best for last.

The most incredible bath we’ve ever taken was at a Japanese guest house (Ryokan) in wintry Nagano. The large communal bath (onsen) was outdoors, carved out of a hillside and surrounded by snowy trees and stone lanterns. The temperature was icy, but the cold seemed inconsequential once we settled into the steam to enjoy the view.

Ever since then we’ve fantasized about installing a Japanese bathtub here in California, the kind that reaches to your chin and smells of fresh hinoki wood. These tubs are hand-made, use gallons and gallons of water, and cost a pretty penny, so the dream remains… a dream. In the meantime, here are some great resources for approximating the onsen experience:

  • Hinoki wood bath accessories. Rot-proof, hiroki wood smells great when wet.
  • Bonsai. Pretend you’re bathing outside, with a view of a distant wood.
  • Smooth black pebbles. See “bonsai.”
  • Kago lantern. Ambiance is everything.
  • Yukata (men’s and women’s). Light cotton robes that feel great against steamed skin

    (pic from Japanese Guest Houses)

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