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For centuries, bathing has been an art form in Japan. A ritual that is not simply about cleanliness, but also an opportunity to dedicate time to relaxation and rejuvenation – a zen-like experience centred on the striking form of the ofuro deep soaking tub. Inspired by these timeless customs, Aquatica has reimagined Japanese bathing for the modern era, introducing a range of contemporary European-made baths that offer the unique sit-and-soak experience.
The origins of the Japanese reverence for bathing can be traced back hundreds of years to when the therapeutic benefits of hot springs were discovered. These natural springs with their warm, mineral-rich waters, known as onsen, are found all over Japan and are recognised for their healing properties.
Over time, the Japanese developed a sophisticated and widespread bathing culture founded on their knowledge of the many benefits of a good soak. Hot water opens the pores and releases toxins from the body, for example, and steam helps to soothe the muscles and relax the mind.
Communities built elaborate bathhouses, called sento, where people could come to bathe and socialise. The sento became a popular gathering place for people of all ages and social classes; somewhere to meet, soak and feel restored.
The wealthy were soon bringing these traditions into their homes. Handcrafted wooden Ofuro bathtubs became popular, typically made from hinoki wood which is prized for its natural antibacterial properties. Bathers would often add essential oils or salts to the water for a more luxurious and revitalising bath time.
From the original wooden baths to modern interpretations, the Ofuro bath offers a wonderfully ergonomic experience. The internal seat, angled backrest and elevated rim for head support allow even the tallest bathers to immerse themselves up to their neck, while outstanding heat retention lends itself to longer, more indulgent soaks.
In recent years, there has been a growing appreciation of Japanese craft and design, and the country’s bathing traditions are also being more widely adopted. Japanese bathhouses and spas are springing up across the US and Europe, bringing their tranquil atmosphere and understated style to an audience eager to invest in health and wellbeing. As part of this trend, increasing numbers of people are seeking to recreate the Japanese bathing experience in their homes, with many installing Ofuro tubs of their own so they can enjoy the unique sit-and-soak experience every day.
Aquatica is responding to this shift by launching a range of contemporary models – tubs that feature the best of the old and the new. So the classic upright shape is combined with modern sculpted stone made in Europe, and the internal seat and backrest are shaped to create an optimised seating position. There are even options to add advanced spa features such as hydromassage and chromotherapy.
The Japanese were undoubtedly pioneers of the art of bathing, creating a uniquely immersive and therapeutic approach to the daily soak. Aquatica is now honoring that tradition, evolving it for a new generation who are embracing the healing qualities of the Japanese approach to bathing, and creating products that are made to fit seamlessly into our busy lives and modern bathrooms.
See Aquatica’s full range of Ofuro Japanese bathtubs here: https://www.aquaticabath.ca/category/japanese-bathtubs