japanese ofuro bathtubs, tatami, shoji screens, hot tub spa

  • blog:

  • 16.02.24 * Accounting for "save & relocate japanese homes" activity

    As promised, here below is the balance sheet for the activity of relocating japanese historic homes.


    I did not make the final decision but I think the new activity will be called Japanese Historic Homes and will have a dedicated homepage.

    I was (wisely!) advised that if I want to produce concrete results, I should appeal to those interested in owning a japanese home rather than just hoping to find philanthropists with deep pockets and the mission of preserving for posterity as many buildings and environments of value as possible...

    "I love your idea of establishing a network to try and preserve more heritage buildings. As far as naming goes I would shy away from "save-japan.org" as this sounds like it could be connected to Fukushima or some other existing cause.
    I personally think you need to appeal to those folks who wish to OWN a heritage Japanese home rather than those that wish to SAVE a heritage home, as the former has the means (money) to buy.
    Something like Japan-Historic-Homes.org may work. This may facilitate easy web searches. "Heritage" is arguably a more correct word to use but I think some folks may get this confused with modern homes which have a "Heritage style". "Historic" (or
    "Historical") does sound a bit dry and perhaps over-important, but everyone who looks at the site name will conclude that you mean old, beautiful homes of significance. Anyway, this is just a first effort. I would be very happy to help you further in any way I can."

    So please be in touch and let me know your opinion as well!

    All the Best//



    16.02.24 * demolition work almost completed for the fujisawa teahouse


    We are sad to see it go but are looking forward to seeing it rebuilt in full glory in Chiba prefecture next year.
    It is a big shock for the building but imagine it is like a life saving surgery.
    It is painful but all dismantling work was done gently to preserve all the parts.
    I cannot imagine this jewel left prey of the bulldozers...


    Please find the full photo reportage here:



    16.02.07 * ugly website

    Let me publish here the exchange of correspondence I had with a previous customer.
    The mail came like a bolt from the blue:

    > hi
    > how is it possible that you sell such expensive high quality baths and
    > live in a high tech environment...but your website is so unpractical and
    > ugly?
    > it stops me from really searching, thats not good pr!
    > greetz
    > (signature)
    > fan of wooden baths
    > owner of one.

    Dear (customer),

    Thank you for your honest comment.
    I think you are 100% right.
    Actually I am in the process of renovating the HP but it is taking more
    time than anticipated.

    Please bear with us one more month!


    Bartok design Japan Co.
    Manager: Iacopo Torrini
    e-mail: japan@bartokdesign.com
    tel: +81-78-262-6811
    fax: +81-78-262-7151
    cell.: +81-90-8205-1200

    ok, accepted!

    Sorry for the direct comment, I am Dutch and people from Holland are known for their directness. The difference with southern countries is already big, so you can imagine how it is in Japan

    I will visit Japan within 1-2 years, I am interested in japanese woodworkingskills.
    Is your business to be visited? Would be nice.

    I will be mainly in Nasu (Tochigi) but who knows...
    When my current bath will be rotten I defenitely want another ofuro, because it ads a lot of well beinig to my life, using such a bath.



    Well I must apologize with all of you as well for the old and non-smartphone optimized HP but, as I said above, YES! the site is under renovation.
    It will come also with enhanced web-shop functions and I plan to offer you a heftier slice of Japan, including "karakami" ricepaper, "urushi" lacquer and more!
    O tanoshimi-ni ~~

    Meanwhile please feel free to send me your bolts... Any comment is appreciated especially if it is helping me improving the service.

    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini


    16.02.03 * great news about the tea-house!

    Sorry for the belated update: I think many of you are in trepidation for the destiny of the tea house in Fujisawa.

    Well, 1/27 was an incredible day, I think there are all the ingredients for a suspense movie.
    The crowdfunding campaign I started on 1/23 at http://igg.me/at/teahouse produced many contacts.

    On 1/27 I went to Tokyo with a 10,000 mhA spare battery plugged in my phone and kept sending mails and calls for help.
    I was messaging previous clients while riding the shinkansen and calling ikebana associations or busy stock brokers while waiting to transfer to the next train.
    I called dozens of people and sent hundreds of emails.

    Nonetheless I arrived to the meeting on site with empty hands.
    Two people from the forwarding company were already there discussing details about the street width with the contractor.
    The real estate agent was preparing the documents and memorandums to be signed while I was answering the cheerful and excited questions of the owners.
    Where is the building going? When is it going to be rebuilt? Can we go visit?
    I even got the promise from the old owner she would visit the new location of the house and offer a tea ceremony to all the presents...


    But there was only one problem.
    Time was up and I had not a clear commitment for taking over the house.
    I did not give up until the last moment but after inflating everybody`s hopes, I was going to hurt them even more with the harsh reality, sooner or later.
    My face was smiling but there was a deep cloud of uncertainty in my heart.
    I received many mails of encouragement:
    "Even if you failed this time, the effort and financial exposure would not had been a vain effort. This case contributed to raise awareness about the problem and spread the seeds of more consideration for the items of value we are inheriting from the past."

    I know, you will think I am reckless but there is only one thing that helped me not to panic: Using the "reverse gear" was just not an option on the table.
    Like those simple remote controlled car toys that can only go straight or turn left and right to avoid obstacles the only option I had was to keep looking forward for the end of the tunnel.


    We started to move out the left over furniture to the living room of a relative living next door while the carpenter started to remove some planks from the ceiling to see if it could be dismantled safely. Some old newspapers started to come out from under the tatamis.

    And yes! the sunshine come at 16:00. I received a call from Hamish Murphy, an australian gentlemen, introduced to me by Mr. D. from Tokyo who had been introduced to me by Mr. L. from the UK.
    Hamish has been living in Japan for 29 years (if I remember correctly) and is going to start a Permaculture site in Kamogawa, Chiba prefecture.
    If you do not know what permaculture is, I recommend to research it on wikipedia. It is is a beautiful concept and practical philosophy.

    As I was in Yokohama only for that day, Hamish decided to come right away to see the house and reached at around 18:00.
    All the workers already went away and after showing him the house, we sat in the smallest tea-room with the owner and her son.
    The owner offered us a matcha-tea - by coincidence there were also just 2 manju dumplings left from the afternoon.
    It was such an emotionally intense atmosphere, looking at the garden in the dark out of the window and the old lady noted that this was "the last tea served in the tea-room."



    Then, after 3 days of thorough consideration, Hamish gave me the GO sign to take my place in the contract and carry on the demolition and reconstruction project!
    I am SOOO happy for him, for the house, for the owner. AMAZING.

    A sukiya-zukuri house is a traditional construction but is light weight and more energy efficient compared to a massive "kominka".
    Permaculture gives importance to ecological materials as much as the energy efficiency and this tea house represent a good balance of the two aspects (ecology and high performance).
    Hamish is considering to use the tea-house as a guest house in the Permaculture project. "As a guest house it would be a beautiful gateway into a world of recycling and self-sustaining systems." he says.
    He is considering rebuilding the walls with natural clay mixed with momigara (grain chaffs), restoring not only the shape but also the authentic soul of the building.

    Since the plan of the house will be modified, he is not going to reuse the roof tiles but the great news is that he is going to transplant as many trees as possible to Chiba prefecture!
    All the stones and accessories in the garden and even the bamboo fence (!) are going to be transferred and reused as well.

    In the end I think this solution will be great also for the owner. She will be able to visit the house easily and maybe also help with the design of the garden that she is so skilled at.
    And I am looking forward to the "first tea served in the tea-room" after the reconstruction!


    The house will be probably rebuilt in 2017 and I will keep you informed.
    Meanwhile, visit the links below for additional pictures.

    Thank you everybody for your great support, encouragement and advice.

    Feel free to add your comments here below. All the Best!


    16.01.26 * 6 hours (and a miracle) can save the Fujisawa tea-house

    It is now 5:56 am in japan and I am giving up the campaign to save (and enjoy!) the sukiya-zukuri tea house in Fujisawa.

    In 3 days of indiegogo campaign I received: 2 Contributions, 498 Visits, 135 Referrals.


    I know that many of you sent hundreds of mails to spread the voice, and I commend you for all your advice and help.
    I converted to cash my life insurance policy to have the funds to sign the contract tomorrow but the there is not a solid option to bring the project to completion.

    The house will not be touched until 2/10 but we will not have time to organize the meetings required and to meet the deadline offered by the new ownership.
    They may accept a lump sum to buy some time but of course there is no guarantee they would consider such an option alltogether.
    Besided, if I could not realize the project with so many interested and proactive prospects (like this time), it is not likely that 13 days will change the final result.

    Time is running out and I have to take the hard decision.
    There is no point to bring all the parties to the meeting tomorrow so I will call everybody (the contractor, the new owner, the old owner, the shipping company) at 12:00 JST.

    Said this, my mind is repeating an italian saying: "la speranza e` l`ultima a morire"
    (lit. translation: hope is the last to die)

    If you have one more idea, one more contact to propose this project, please do it now.
    The short link to the campaign is:


    Thank you for everything!


    16.01.23 * crowdfunding campaign for adopting the tea-house

    I created a crowd-funding campaign for the project of the relocation of the tea-house.
    I only have 3 days to fund it before the signing of the contract.
    Even if I manage to buy some time when I meet the different parties on 1/27, in any case the dismantling should start immediately if we want to save the sukiya-tsukuri house from the bulldozers.
    Please check this link and spread the voice!

    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini


    16.01.06 * short update about heritage building relocation projects

    I hope you had a great start of 2016.

    Please note:
    1) starting new homepage dedicated to relocation projects:
    Sorry, I am a little behind. It has been very busy and I am giving priority to the matching for the tea house since we do not have much time.
    I will keep you posted. I am still in doubt about the naming of the new activity. I am undecided between "re-heritage.org" and "save-japan.org"
    I would be grateful to hear your opinion once again.

    2) temple: the owner/priest is now busy alienating another property and it is better not to mix the two topics as she could get confused. The religious association will cease to exist around mid of january. The closing for the other property will be at the end of february so I am planning to proceed with the site inspection and quotation in the beginning of march 2016.

    3) tea house: I uploaded some pictures and videos.
    Video (here below)

    Please let me know if you are interested in adopting the tea house.
    Demolition work must start at the end of january.

    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini


    16.01.04 * demolition cost quotation about the fujisawa tea house

    Here is the quotation for the demolition.
    I added below in red the costs which are not included in the above.

    Here is a schematic plan of the building.

    click here for an aerial view of the site

    Please refer to the previous entries on this topic for more details.
    Contact me asap if interested because I will will not be able to commit to the demolition company without an official backing.

    contact iacopo -> japanbartokdesign.com


    15.12.31 * happy new year!

    From Japan, there are high chances that I am preceding you in the new year...
    I hope that 2016 will be prosperous and serene for you and your family!


    am starting the year with a clear objective and am very energized because we have the chance to save a japanese old traditional building.

    The owner of the tea-house near Enoshima approved my plan but we need to act quickly.
    I plan to appoint the entity which will adopt the building during the first week of january.

    The deadline is 1/7 so please contact me promptly if interested.

    The total cost of the demolition and reconstruction is estimated in about 35 million yen (300,000 USD) + reimbursable expenses.

    Here below is the entry with the details if you missed it.


    What excites me is that I feel that this project may become the first step to rebuild a new sensibility around traditional handicrafts and heritage buildings in japan (like a boomerang effect).
    I think we can leverage this first example to produce a larger impact and a positive change in the common sense of japanese real estate and the dominating scrap and build practices.
    This may sound as a dream but sometimes dreams come true.
    And if there is a time to ... go for your dreams is today!
    We leave the old year for a shiny, immaculate 2016 and I hope I will be able to share with you the path, the emotions and the successes of a wonderful year!

    All the Best!

    iacopo torrini


    15.12.31 * last rush to save the fujisawa teahouse.

    This is an update about the tea-house relocation project.
    The land will be sold at the end of january and the new owner is planning to demolish the building and garden.


    january - 1st week: I will go on site to meet the old owner and new owner. (I will also take detailed pictures and measurements of the building) january - 2nd week: I will need the decision and commitment from the perspective foster-owner january - 3rd week: we will start demolition. (I am already in touch with two specialized companies)

    COST: from 4 to 6 million yen (36,000 USD ~ 50,000 USD)
    Of course the more detailed is the demolition (to reuse also roof riles, flooring planks, ceiling framing etc.) the higher the demolition cost. Anyway this will result in a more original building and enable savings in the construction phase.

    The demolition will take about 4 weeks and I am planning to obtain the approval from the new owner by convincing him he will save the money and time for the demolition anyway.


    to avoid storage fees, I am planning to load all the material directly on containers so we would be ready for shipping as soon as end of february. Ocean freight takes about 1-2 months according to the destination. I think one 40' container should be enough but considering also items from the garden and to stay on the safe side, I am computing 2 containers, drayage and devanning. COST: 2 million yen (17,000 USD)


    Construction would take about 5 months (if it was done in japan). According to local legislations / construction methods / availability of manpower and materials it may take more.

    The company doing the demolition is also available to go abroad to coordinate the construction! I think that there are 3 options:
    1) bring all the craftsmen from japan
    2) provide one experienced carpenter to instruct/supervise and use local workers.
    3) a mix of the two options above.

    COST: from 20 to 25 million yen (170,000 USD ~ 210,000 USD)

    In both cases, I would travel together with the contractor principal about once a month (five times) to coordinate the work.

    COST: about 2 million yen (17,000 USD) + airplane tickets

    Please contact me by email at japan@bartokdesign.com if interested.

    TOTAL COST: about 35 million yen (300,000 USD) + reinbursable expenses





    15.10.23 * construction of sushi counter


    update: see the pictures of the completed counter here:

    We are now building 2 hinoki wood counters. They will sit on top a marble counter and will have a stainless steel cladding towards the kitchen.
    The substructure of the counter consists of blocks of AB and B grade hinoki laminated together.

    The corners are round so after laminating the necessary width, we used a jigsaw and trimmer to shape them.

    Finally, we will apply a 7mm veneer on the top and front and a 3mm veneer on the curved corners, for this reason there is an indent in the base.

    We were lucky to find a very beautiful lumber, quarter sawn (with straight grain) more than 7m long. We will use this for the surface layer. Even if the counter is divided in sections for transportation and assembly, the wood grain will naturally flow on the counter once completed.


    15.12.02 * Naming of the movement for adopting heritage buildings

    Hi, I need your help.
    I want to create a separate container for the project as above.
    If you are not familiar with what I am talking about please check the links below:





    What naming/URL would be most suitable for a new homepage dedicated to this activity?
    oriental? catchy? powerful? witty? emotional?
    Please let me hear your precious opinion!

    I prepared an extremely simple form with only one question.
    You are anonymous. Answer here below.


    15.11.27 * adoption of temple, tea house and australian ryokan

    Dear friends,

    Recently I am receiving and sharing some information that are not directly related with the wooden bathtubs. I believe it is important to save historical buildings even if minor (or actually even more because they are minor...)
    To me, a basic "machi-ya" old house conveys more emotions and sense of space than tens of monumental temples or shiny revamped castles to satisfy the "shutter chance" that makes the tourists happy...

    But, I am not here to make polemics. I feel that I am in the position of bridging the "fading" traditional japan with the japanese lovers worldwide and I am committed to fulfill this duty.
    I just uncovered the tip of an iceberg and I think that there is a lot that can be done in terms of saving old buildings and thus (hopefully ... some day...) stimulating a new sense of value among the japanese.

    But I am aware that not all of the fans of japanese baths are also interested in this heritage-buildings-salvage project.
    So I decided to build a new site for this purpose.
    I need some time, maybe 30-45 days but I will split the 2 projects, promise.
    So if you are not interested, do not quit reading this, bear with me one more month.
    Will you, please?

    Let me then give now a short update about the projects as today (+ there is a new entry!):

    1) salvage of the Osaka temple (transfer): the buddhist priest is elderly and very conservative. He is worried that any movement around the building now could ruin his negotiation to sell the land to a developer specialized in rental apartment buildings.
    But I am in touch thru a very sensitive real estate agent and as soon as the situation clears I will prepare a survey and an estimate of the cost to dismantle the wooden structure with roof tiles, doors, fixtures and acessories. Once I have an idea of the sizes and the volumes I will also provide an estimate of the shipping cost.
    I cannot set a certain date but It will be as soon as possible.

    2) salvage of the Teahouse near Enoshima: our action and especially the sharing on facebook (done by my the owners` relative) produced a positive action!
    They decided to remove the property from the market for now.
    (I think they are considering some offers by restaurants interested in renting the property and continuing the tea-house business).
    I cannot say yet it is safe, and will keep an eye on the situation, but it seems the emergency is settled at the moment!


    3) Well, there is another adoption project on the table. I already presented back in january the case of an australian friend who owns the prestigious "Shizuka Ryokan" in Victoria - Australia and is looking for a buyer.
    Peter and his wife want to move back close to elderly relatives and are offering the keys to this amazing business!
    Get the buildings, the trees, the kangaroos and all the clients and achievements for AUS 1,750,000
    The deal he was working on got stuck at the end and the property is again on the market!
    Contact Peter at info**at**shizuka.com.au (of course substitute the **at**) for more details.

    Again, I will keep in touch and I wish you a relaxing weekend!


    iacopo torrini

    mail for any question/problem to: japan**at**bartokdesign.com


    15.11.19 * Adopt a traditional building with tea rooms! (4 options)

    As you know, I am taking action to find an alternative location for a wooden structure temple in Osaka. The site is being developed and the building will be demolished unless it is transferred before then.
    This story was spotted by a japanese woman who is trying to save the stunning beautiful japanese house of a relative near Enoshima (Tokyo area).

    The relative is elderly and cannot maintain the house anymore. It is about 479 sq.mt. of land in a prestigious residential area in Fujisawa (near Yokohama) so the price is quite high (about 140-150 million yen.)
    In japan land has value while the building is totally devaluated after 25-30 years.
    The problem is that it is difficult to get a return on the investment so the only thing that real estate agencies can propose is to demolish the building and garden and split the lot in commercially viable lots of 150 sq.mt. which can be easily sold at a high price.


    The building is 1 story high and a floor area of about 87 sq.mt. It was built 90 years ago and has been used as a school for tea ceremony for the past 20 years. It was built with selected materials and is in pristine conditions every nook and corner. It consists of 3 tea rooms.



    Option 1)
    Of course it would be great if somebody is interested to buy it and use for tea ceremony, ikebana class or other traditional japanese art.
    It is 4 Km (15 minutes by car) from Enoshima and the area will be flooded with tourists in view of the olympic games.

    Option 2)
    It can be used as a restaurant but not as a hotel (local regulations.)

    Option 3)
    It can be used as a residence by a real japan lover (but note it has no car-park and bathroom/shower so some work is needed)

    Option 4)
    If there is no buyer and they decide to demolish the building, I am looking for somebody interested in adopting it. The building can be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere.
    As soon as we have more information about the temple project, I will be able to provide an estimate about the cost.

    Please let me know if you are interested or know anybody who might...

    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini


    15.11.10 * increase of price for airfreight shipments

    his is just a brief note about air shipping fares from Japan (I assume it is a generalized market adjustment worldwide).
    All the forwarders we work with gave us the notice that the airfreight basic charges will increase 20% after december 1st. 2015.
    Usually the fares go up before Christmas but 20% is a notable increase!

    Again, it is a recurring pattern that the fares decrease after the holiday season is over but never go completely back to normal.
    If you are considering purchasing a Bartok bath (especially kadomaru type) I recommend to finalize and order before 11/15.

    I take this opportunity to announce that the Bartok design homepage is undergoing a renovation process and in december it will have an easier to use shop and booking section which will hopefully ease the matching between different clients shipping to similar locations and therefore allow considerable savings in the shipping charges.
    Of course I will keep you updated on the progress.

    Have a nice day// Sayonara~


    15.11.08 * More pics and floor plan of the Jo-Sho-Ji temple

    The response to my previous mailing about the salvage of a wooden structure temple in Osaka was just overwhelming.
    I am confident we will be able to find the right match for the structure and I will keep you posted with the progress of the transactions, site surveys and schedule.

    Actually at the moment the keys of the hon-do (the main pavillion) are now in the hands of the Buddhist authority which is considering the application for the secularization of the building. The monk cannot let us inside in this phase, so the real estate agent passed me few more detailed pictures of the structure from the outside.


    The temple name is Jo-Sho-ji.
    Here below is the street view of the site.


    Here below is a site plan showing the external dimensions (excluding the projection of the roof). The area highlighted in light blue is the hon-do (main hall)


    SCHEDULE (tentative):

    * 2015/11
    Within the end of november I am planning to make a survey inside the building and ask a specialized company an estimate of the cost for dismantling the structure in such a way it can be rebuild without damage. I am planning to enquire Kongo-gumi which is specialized in the construction and maintenance of religious architecture since year 578 A.D. !!

    As said earlier, the cost of the building itself, including the accessories is free of charge.
    * 2015/12
    Following, I will evaluate the cost of loading on containers, customs issues and shipping cost. I should be able to have clear data by the end of december.
    * 2016/1
    A couple of weeks should be enough to evaluate the feasibility of the project and the most suitable "foster family".
    * 2016/2
    Time to carefully dismantle the structure as the D-day for the demolition is set for the end of the month.

    Please refer to this blog for updates and additional details.

    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini


    15.10.21 * Update about the project of transferring the temple:

    This makes me think that there is a great potential in acting as a bridge between the "shining new building addict" Japanese and the community of the japan-lovers worldwide.
    It looks like a win-win situation.

    There are hundreds of kura (storage house), kaoku (house) , minka (country house) and even theatre stages, ryokans, bathhouses that are being wiped away everyday.
    If there is anything I can do to match the right building with the right owner, I will do it!

    Here below is some of the feedback I received:
    Dear Iacopo,

    Not a crazy idea at all!! I think it's a great idea. Please can you let me know dismantling and shipping charges to UK and I have a storage place here.
    Also I want to use the tub now so can this also be shipped Asap!
    I am going to use much more Japanese things in our projects in the UK and Europe.
    Best Wishes
    Hi Iacopo,

    I must say you sure have a way to attract my interest !!
    Well, as I might have told you I live in a house with approximately 11,000 square meters of land around it and therefore plenty of room, I think, for the temple.
    Also, Cairns has a permanent population of about 3,500 Japanese who, I would think, they would be entusiastic to knwo that there is an progonal temple in their city.
    Could you please tell me more Iacopo? Any idea how much it will cost to dismantle it and the sort of volume/weight of material it will generate to transport it to Australia. If I have that kind of information I will be able to start getting some quotes and some idea of the cost of transporting it to Cairns.
    Further, I guess I will need to know how to reassemble it once here.
    Depending on the expense involved I might try to engage the local Japanese community to ee whether they are able contribute to the project somehow.
    I am really quite excited about this idea!
    By the way, Iacopo, my invitation to you and your family to visit Cairns is still open ended! If Zeno wants to come to Cairns to study some English at my school he is always most welcome!
    Hello from France,
    Your message as just reached us and we care about your project...as you said "teleporting" would have a smell of unthinkable ! We could dare...

    Do you have floor plans and other pictures of the inside of the Temple house ?
    We could be interested to find a new location in the other country of the biggest European Natural forest and Ocean coast near Bordeaux and Biarritz in France ( South West ).
    We are looking forward to understand what is the inside shape and craftsmanship pieces with other pictures ?Do you have technical pre study about the process of transplantation with an architect ? Any idea about the cost involved ?
    Let's talk about it ?
    Have a nice day.
    With our best regards.
    Cordiales salutations.
    I wish we had the space!
    It makes our hearts sing for Japan...
    Thanks for showing me
    Hello and thank you for your message regarding the temple. I own a large land in ***** in the north of France. I would love to make a special place for people to come and create/compose/write/meditate... Can you send me more details? Idea of costs? There is just 20km from my place one of the largest ports in France, Le Havre.... container ships arriving everyday from all over the world. I look forward to hearing from you
    warm regards
    Dear Iacopo,
    Have you had any responses yet?
    I have been wondering about some of my colleagues who may have large amounts of land attached to their properties out of London.
    Also, I will forward to my contacts in the Oriental Studies Department at Oxford University- maybe the university would be interested.
    I believe we could make this happen.
    Kind regards,
    Torrini, Wow. We should have just gotten the temple and not built the house. I'm not sure how our neighbors would take to it though.
    We will be getting back to you on our Japanese room shortly. Thanks.
    I am very interested. Can you tell me what is the cost and what are the dimensions?
    I live in Arizona USA and I have just the perfect place
    Great iacopo,
    We are looking forward to this project. I am sure we can make this happen.
    We have the right people and space to rebuild and keep the temple in honor.
    Thank you again and hope to talk to you later.
    Warm regards,

    Then, there are many courtesy messages and many people interested in the artifacts and parts of the building.
    I think I will give priority to the projects which would reconstruct the building in its integrity.

    There is even a friend asking the cost of the land with the temple on it.
    Is he planning to move to japan? I will check with him in private...

    Anyway, keep tuned. I will post here additional information and updates.
    UPDATE 10.24:

    Next week (10/26~31) I will visit the site and take pictures of the interior and survey the site.


    15.10.21 * Update about the project of transferring the temple:

    This makes me think that there is a great potential in acting as a bridge between the "shining new building addict" Japanese and the community of the japan-lovers worldwide.
    It looks like a win-win situation.

    There are hundreds of kura (storage house), kaoku (house) , minka (country house) and even theatre stages, ryokans, bathhouses that are being wiped away everyday.
    If there is anything I can do to match the right building with the right owner, I will do it!

    Here below is some of the feedback I received:
    Dear Iacopo,

    Not a crazy idea at all!! I think it's a great idea. Please can you let me know dismantling and shipping charges to UK and I have a storage place here.
    Also I want to use the tub now so can this also be shipped Asap!
    I am going to use much more Japanese things in our projects in the UK and Europe.
    Best Wishes
    Hi Iacopo,

    I must say you sure have a way to attract my interest !!
    Well, as I might have told you I live in a house with approximately 11,000 square meters of land around it and therefore plenty of room, I think, for the temple.
    Also, Cairns has a permanent population of about 3,500 Japanese who, I would think, they would be entusiastic to knwo that there is an progonal temple in their city.
    Could you please tell me more Iacopo? Any idea how much it will cost to dismantle it and the sort of volume/weight of material it will generate to transport it to Australia. If I have that kind of information I will be able to start getting some quotes and some idea of the cost of transporting it to Cairns.
    Further, I guess I will need to know how to reassemble it once here.
    Depending on the expense involved I might try to engage the local Japanese community to ee whether they are able contribute to the project somehow.
    I am really quite excited about this idea!
    By the way, Iacopo, my invitation to you and your family to visit Cairns is still open ended! If Zeno wants to come to Cairns to study some English at my school he is always most welcome!
    Hello from France,
    Your message as just reached us and we care about your project...as you said "teleporting" would have a smell of unthinkable ! We could dare...

    Do you have floor plans and other pictures of the inside of the Temple house ?
    We could be interested to find a new location in the other country of the biggest European Natural forest and Ocean coast near Bordeaux and Biarritz in France ( South West ).
    We are looking forward to understand what is the inside shape and craftsmanship pieces with other pictures ?Do you have technical pre study about the process of transplantation with an architect ? Any idea about the cost involved ?
    Let's talk about it ?
    Have a nice day.
    With our best regards.
    Cordiales salutations.
    I wish we had the space!
    It makes our hearts sing for Japan...
    Thanks for showing me
    Hello and thank you for your message regarding the temple. I own a large land in ***** in the north of France. I would love to make a special place for people to come and create/compose/write/meditate... Can you send me more details? Idea of costs? There is just 20km from my place one of the largest ports in France, Le Havre.... container ships arriving everyday from all over the world. I look forward to hearing from you
    warm regards
    Dear Iacopo,
    Have you had any responses yet?
    I have been wondering about some of my colleagues who may have large amounts of land attached to their properties out of London.
    Also, I will forward to my contacts in the Oriental Studies Department at Oxford University- maybe the university would be interested.
    I believe we could make this happen.
    Kind regards,
    Torrini, Wow. We should have just gotten the temple and not built the house. I'm not sure how our neighbors would take to it though.
    We will be getting back to you on our Japanese room shortly. Thanks.
    I am very interested. Can you tell me what is the cost and what are the dimensions?
    I live in Arizona USA and I have just the perfect place
    Great iacopo,
    We are looking forward to this project. I am sure we can make this happen.
    We have the right people and space to rebuild and keep the temple in honor.
    Thank you again and hope to talk to you later.
    Warm regards,

    Then, there are many courtesy messages and many people interested in the artifacts and parts of the building.
    I think I will give priority to the projects which would reconstruct the building in its integrity.

    There is even a friend asking the cost of the land with the temple on it.
    Is he planning to move to japan? I will check with him in private...

    Anyway, keep tuned. I will post here additional information and updates.


    15.10.18 * Bring home a japanese temple!

    I have to admit, I LOVE that we live in a day and age where we can think of the unthinkable.
    Have you ever considered teleporting a japanese temple in your backyard and using it to surprise your friends invited for a genuine tea ceremony?

    It sounds crazy? Actually it is.
    But you can, and it is free.
    Feel free to read here below for more details.

    A japanese temple looking for a caring home.
    I was having a coffee with a real estate company I am working with and heard that this temple , located in Osaka is going to be destroyed in february 2016.
    The buddhist priest does not have heirs or apprentices and could convince the community that there is no future for the temple.
    Since his family is owning the land, he is going to tear the building down, sell the land and use the proceeds for his retirement.

    This is the external gate. The temple was rebuild after the WWII so it is not ancient but as every temple in japan uses premium handcrafted material.
    The fact that it is relatively recent also means that the construction materials are still in very good conditions.
    If we cannot save this site, how about rebuilding the temple somewhere else?


    Alternatively, I also think it would make sense to reuse the material for other scopes. There are many statues in pristine conditions.
    "hongawara type" roof shingles, doors, shelves, "ranma" carvings, tatami mats, shoji screens, framing material etc.
    Japanese timber frame buildings can be dismantled and reassembled without major disruption.

    I think we should give the good example and show to the japanese how much the traditional culture and historic heritage are precious.

    What do you think? Do you need the temple? It is free!
    Of course there will be costs involved in dismantling the materials and shipping them in a container.
    But I think that it can be a unique chance to enter in possession of a precious artifact.
    I am sharing this information just in case it may match you or your aquaintances schedule and plans.

    My hope is that the action of a foreigner "adopting an historical building" may trigger a shift towards a different set of mind in Japan.
    Please let me know if you want more information. We have to act quickly as the demolition date has already been set (february 2016).

    Contact me at japan@bartokdesign.com for any question.

    Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!


    UPDATE 10/20

    We had an overwhelming feedback!
    Thanks everybody for the prompt and kind reply.
    I will get in touch with the real estate company and get more information.
    I am planning to get back to you before the end of october.

    All the Best//


    15.06.20 * work in progress on round tubs

    We are now working on an order of 8 tubs for an Hong Kong restaurant.
    The first lot of 4 will be shipped in july and the second lot in august.


    I wonder if the customers will enjoy the hot water while eating? Or will take a bath while enjoying the landscape after the meal? I will keep you posted.
    I am sure it will be a highly successful formula as the "japanese style" is really rocking in Hong Kong as well as Singapore.



    15.05.04 * Shipping matching service (beta version)

    Last month a client was enthusiastic at the idea of purchasing a japanese bathtub.
    Unfortunately, the shipping cost quotation came as a cold shower.
    For a small size tub, the shipping cost can be close to the actual cost of the tub itself...

    She asked if there was a way to lower the cost.
    Actually, we charge only about 5,000-9,000 JPY for processing fees, the rest is pure cost, as we receive it from the shipping company.
    After years of comparative bidding, we selected the best providers. Some are very specialized for some areas (eg. Australia), some are more competitive for air, some others for ocean shipping and so on.
    We usually request a couple of quotations and submit the cheapest.

    Anyway, let`s go back to the conversation with the client I mentioned here above.
    I told her that the only way would be to consolidate a couple of shippings. I asked - as a joke - if she did not have a friend willing to order an ofuro at the same time...
    Well, we were talking on the phone and I was almost dazzled at the light bulb she had!
    A friend of hers from California was also planning to buy an ofuro! This could be a great chance!

    Unfortunately, there is no big saving if the destinations are far and would involve separate landing locations...
    Sorry about that.

    But after hanging up, I had my own light-bulb: how about opening up our schedule to the clients so that they can find another japanese lover with a matching schedule?

    This is why I am now writing this page.
    I will test a new method (beta version) using a third party scheduling service.
    If it works I will find a long term solution.

    Please access the calendar here.

    1) Choose the service according to your area.
    2) Choose the preferred date on the calendar.
    3) Fill in your address. (Phone no. is not required)

    If we find another person with similar schedule we will contact both to verify if there is flexibility and try to ship the 2,3 or more ofuro all at once!
    This could make you save big bucks!

    Please let me know any comment or advice here below.


    15.05.03 * Ando Tadao house ... for sale!

    Well, this may seem a little out of topic compared to the other posts of this blog.
    But I realize most of you reading this blog love japanese design and minimalist aesthetics, (of course, besides japanese bathtubs...!)
    Well, I heard of a 1984 house designed by Ando Tadao which is for sale and I`d like to share with you this juicy information. I am noticing that many residents of Singapore and Honk Kong are eagerly purchasing real estate in Japan: I would be honored if this post helped you finding the house of your dreams!

    My friend Rica is married with an Englishman and lives in Kobe.
    She is a real estate broker and deals with rentals as well as with residential and investment properties for sale. She just advertised this new gem:

    ando-tadao-dining.jpgIt is a compact size private residence located in a beautiful area famous for its well preserved natural environment, on the hillside of Nishinomiya
    The property consists of a 2 story house + basement (4BR) with a total floor area of 207.20 sqm and insists on a generous lot (for japanese standards) of 440.95 sqm

    It is located in the green Megamiyama (Nishinomiya city) with easy access to both Osaka and Kobe.

    The asking price is 78,500,000 JPY. For more information, check directly Rica`s homepage

    One final note. The only problem with this property is... that it is not equipped with a hinoki ofuro...
    The good news is that we can provide one for you, to match perfectly the size and style of the house ^^!

    ando-tadao-stonefloor.jpg Enjoy your weekend!


    15.04.11 * Wow

    Wow! WOW! wOw! woW!

    I cannot help dedicating a twin entry to this beautiful tub installed in Canada.
    Please check also the client`s comments in the testimonials section.

    I thanked again the client for his kindness and generosity.
    He replied saying: "Please feel free to use the photos and our comments although we would prefer to remain anonymous. We hope the photos help to inspire other potential customers to order your fine tubs."
    He is dedicating the pictures to all the japanese lovers` community, so here are more pictures!







    15.01.15 * large truck for a compact tub

    This tub is being taken to the packaging company.
    We loaded it on the forklift and took it outside...


    But could not help it to smile when we saw the 10T truck that come to pick up the tub...
    I am sure the ofuro felt like a prince ☆!


    15.03.06 * testing the tub


    This is the photo of the tub we shipped to Vancouver being installed.
    For me being used to cramped japanese residences with small rooms and "virtual" gardens it is always a nice surprise to see the generosity of space of an american home...

    Also it is always a fresh surprise for me to see the same tub that I saw last month in the hands of our carpenter Wada-san while he was drinking tea... The tub is now in a completely different reality, surrounded by smiling westerner`s faces...
    There is maybe a positive side to globalization, where people living 10000 miles away from Japan can put in our homes a real Japanese bathtub, made by hand by an experienced (and sometimes a little grumpy) japanese craftsman!


    15.03.01 * kitchens and baths magazine

    Just a brief note to say that Bartok design Japan has been featured on an american specialized magazine.


    There is just a short article in the "free standing baths" sections, but if you have the chance to grab a copy, do not miss it out!


    15.02.16 * Comments about Anke`s book


    Here below are some comments I received to my newsletter introducing Anke`s book last saturday:

    1) Dear Iacopo, I am very interested. Best! T.

    2) Dear Iacopo,

    Thank you for passing on the information about Anke's book. I would like to buy two copies of the book.

    One for my mother for her 73rd birthday in April. She has visited Japan a few times and we have travelled together as she does not speak Japanese. She adores Japan, I think this would be a lovely gift.

    And one for my parents in law who visited us in Japan once and still refer to it as the best holiday/cultural experience of their lifetime!

    Thanks again,

    3) Hi Iacopo

    This is an excellent idea to share this book with us !

    I would be very happy to see it and more than that, I would like to offer it to a young couple, just married, who are planning a wedding trip to Japan. I'm quite sure they will love it !

    I would then be grateful if you could forward my mail to Anke
    We still enjoy a lot the bath tub !

    With best regards

    4) Hello
    Many thanks for this information.
    I would love to order a copy of this beautiful book from Anke.
    Please forward her my details.

    Best wishes,

    5) Beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing, iacopo
    Would like to see a few more pages/spreads.

    With regards from Italy

    6) Hello, thank you for reviewing this book.
    I would love to contact Anke to buy a copy.

    Thank you


    7) I would be very interested in purchasing a copy of Anke's book. Do you think she would sign them if we asked her very nicely?

    With best wishes,


    comment from Anke)

    Dear Iacopo.

    Seven incoming E-mails from Bartok design Japan - entirely unexpected - entirely surprising.

    When I opend it with my sumi-E on top, your book review and a picture of the Tottori -Sakyu section, I can hardly describe my feelings - dumpfounded - humble - excited - appreciative - happy.

    I do accept your work gratefully and like to thank you very much for your enthusiastic , very kind , moving and touching description. It was just overwhelming - even to read the spontaneous answers of your clients together with a book order.

    Like you said "we all share the passion for the japanese aesthetics, the profound naturality, the addictive simplicity of the japanese traditional culture", we are obviously soul - mates.
    Not like friends and acquaintances who didn't appreciate it that much I think (lack of understanding shown for my interests or for Japan in general). Well, human frailities like envy may play a part too, since I just do what I like to do and mind and body have not reached my biological age.

    With pleasure I am going to send your customers an E- mail, ask for their addresses , send them a book and just hope they will like it.
    Thank you again

    Reply from Iacopo)

    Dear Anke:

    You are welcome.
    When I sent my greeting card last Christmas to previous customers and received many kind answers, I had the realization I can be the binding agent for a wonderful community of people who share the same passion.
    I feel my mission is to connect these friends, like a bridge connects the two sides of a river.

    I am glad I could connect to you some alike minds who are interested in your work. At the same time, by reviewing your book I know I gave many people a smile and this is even more important for me! (forgive my sincerity...)

    All the Best//


    8) Good morning Sir

    I would like to order 3 copies of this book.
    Thank you for this email and for sharing your gift.


    9) Joli message de Iacopo...
    qui ne pense pas qu'à ses baignoires...
    J'aime beaucoup...


    15.02.14 * sumi-e from a friend

    SKMBT_C45012040509510 - Kopie (2).jpg

    Earth, Water, Fire and Wind - By Anke Dabs

    I received a book from Anke, a german architect who is building a new house and is planning to install one of our ofuros.

    I like to think to my clients as a community of friends. We all share the passion for the japanese aesthetics, the profound naturality, the addictive simplicity of the japanese traditional culture.
    But this present from Anke is just more than normal book, more than you would expect to receive from a stranger to which you are linked just by a common interest for japanese hot springs and bathing rituals.

    The book is very powerful. It is the diary of a solo trip she made to japan on her 70th birthday.
    There are some artistic b/w snapshots and the commenting prose (in german and english) is dry, minimal and conveys vivid images.
    "Yohaku no bi" is not only very poetic and energizing, it contains a mine of information for the seekers of the authentic japan.
    She picks and describe some fine ryokans and onsens out of the paths of the normal japan tourist and many of them were the set of the novels of famous XXth century japanese writers who shared the same spaces, the same experiences and projected them in their works.

    Of course they are well known places but her selection, her descriptions and the fact Anke entangles her travel experiences with the stories of black and white fiction protagonists gives the reader the thrill of an elegant time-trip.

    I also would like climb Mt. Haguro, listening to the sound of my steps and savoring in my mind the verses of Matsuo Basho from his 1689 travel diary: "oku no hosomichi" (the narrow road to the interior)

    But I would be selfish to keep this little treasure for myself.
    Of course you are welcome to follow Anke`s path and enjoy her recommended aesthetic meditation spots.

    This is why I decided to share with you this book.

    If you are interested please send me an E-mail and I will forward it to Anke (I do not want to publish it here as it may become the target of spam). It's printed at book on demands, so she can order more books, even one by one. Price is 17.00€ + 4,00€ postage.


    Anke comments:
    When I did the book, I didn't think of selling it or that somebody I don't know might be interested. I did it because I really liked to do it and thought it might be a nice Christmas present for friends and acquaintances and people who are interested in Japan.


    15.02.14 * one more lot of asnaro

    Yes, we got another stock of beautiful asnaro-hiba wood.
    We can build about 8 tubs now.
    If you are looking at the picture and wondering, yes: the massive "7692" is one piece!



    15.02.04 * new stock of Asnaro

    Well, we begged all the lumberyards in our network and could finally obtain a nice lot of high quality asnaro wood.


    It should be enough for 3-4 tubs depending on the size.
    If you are planning to choose asnaro, I recommend to hurry up...


    15.02.02 * goodbye Kenji


    Yesterday I participated to the memorial service for my wife`s grandmother.
    I asked the Buddhist monk and everybody also to pray for Kenji Goto, the japanese journalist murdered by the ISIL in Syria.

    Of course I am deeply sorry for the sad epilogue of the story and I feel very sympathetic to his mother, wife and young baby.
    But even more, I am sad that the violence and the superstition hit (and maybe this is not by chance) not just an innocent but a symbol of tolerance and progressivism.

    Kenji in the video message that left as a testament, conveys very well his passion for his mission as a reporter as well as his dedication for Syria and its people.
    I strongly hope that his sacrifice will not become the excuse for new violence and revenges.
    I propose to honor his death as well as his message of peace, of forgiveness, of mutual understanding.

    I am Kenji.

    Addendum: Sorry for borrowing this public space for a private meditation but I really think that Kenji`s blood is very precious and would like to do all I can to ensure his sacrifice was not in vain. "If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also." These are words from the New Testament but this is the bottomline of what what Kenji spoke about. And every courageous man of any religion should think and act this way.

    15.01.28 * we run out of Asnaro...

    Just a quick note to say that we do not have good asnaro wood on stock at the moment.
    We are embarassed, but we received so many orders in the last 3 months that we run out of stock.

    We will try to look for a good supply but the lumber we trust and can recommend is the one cut is Aomori-prefecture (there are restrictions about the number of trees that can be cut).
    Since for a bathtub a uniformly and well dried wood is important, we make it dry naturally (no kiln dry) for 12months.

    This means probably that we will not be able to make asnaro bathtubs until the end of the year... But I will keep you posted.

    Of course, you are welcome to use hinoki of which we have a good stock.

    Bye for now!


    15.01.22 * givers gain!

    We are receiving many orders of a single bottle of legendary hinoki aroma oil (extracted from 250+ years old trees) so we decided to upgrade the package.
    Of course no extra charge.


    Hinoki aroma oil not only makes an original gift, it is a multi-layered piece of culture and becomes unforgettable as it anchors to the memory of the receiver with the power of the five senses.
    If you do not own a japanese bath, this essential oil is perfect to enjoy the relaxation and energetic charge of hinoki wood and share these sensations with the people you care about.

    Shop page is here --> legendary hinoki aroma oil gift pack


    15.01.15 * finally arrived

    We shipped a tub in Canada and it was delayed for over one week because of port workers strike. We were worried and felt sorry for the client but he kindly sent us a picture with the pallet safely arrived.

    We never received a claim until now for damage occurred during shipping and from what I can see of the outside of the crate, I hope also in this case the tub will be OK.
    Pay attention when opening the crate and do not forger to remove all screws before opening the lid!


    I can enjoy the weekend now :)


    15.01.18 * japanese ryokan for sale

    Shizuka ryokan, the iconic japanese ryokan in Australia (near Melbourne) is now on sale!

    I almost made up my mind and decided to leave Kobe and move to Australia`s "Spa country" to manage the ryokan while continuing my business on the internet!
    Unfortunately I have kids going to school and my wife said no...
    So I decided to spread the voice here. Anybody interested?


    The property consists of 1.4 hectares of residential zoned land, dotted with local pine trees and featuring landscaped Japanese gardens and stone pathways
    The ryokan building with 6 spa guestrooms and a massage treatment room (all with ensuites and courtyard gardens), large lounge and dining space, internal zen stone garden, commercial kitchen, sunny deck, office, reception, laundry, staff accommodation (comprising 2 ensuite bedrooms and lounge / dining room) etc.


    Of course there is plenty of room for new extensions and in this case I think that a couple of Bartok design hinoki bathtubs would be just like the icing on the cake...!

    The business is well rooted with a "manicured" website shizuka.com.au, top rankings in trip advisor and prestigious awards from the Australian tourism association.
    It has been featured on the Australian and the Japanese television and is patronized by famous Australian personalities.


    If interested, contact Peter at the email available at the bottom right of this page:


    14.12.22 * Comments about the pocket onsen indiegogo campaign

    Here below I will display some comments I received by people who received the pocket onsen. Feel free to add your in the comment field below or mail me if you want to be anonymous and/or add a picture.

    Got my pocket onsen in the mail today. Packaging is superb! It will make a great Christmas gift.
    I should have waited another day before writing! The oil was delivered yesterday. I was finally able to open it this morning (I was doing home visits yesterday) and it is luscious!

    Thank you so much for contacting me about this project, and please let me know
    if you have any other aromatherapy distillations of rare things. I'd love to
    be involved.

    I can't wait to get this to my friends - fortunately, I ordered several so I
    will have them for my "special stock"!

    Best wishes for the holidays for you!


    14.12.22 * visit from Cape Town

    We received a kind visit from South Africa.
    The clients are remodeling their new house and are considering using a japanese bathtub and some other interior items such as tatami and shoji screens.


    Actually this time the client was visiting the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara) as well, so I had a chance of meeting them at my office in Kobe first, that is where we discussed the technical details.
    Then I reached them in Tokyo and escorted them to our workshop in Chiba prefecture.

    We do not get the chance of clients visiting us very often, but it is of course very useful to explain the features, details and installation requirements of a japanese bathtub so we hope you will also come to Japan and visit us!



    14.12.02 * server problems

    On december 1 and 2, we had some problems to the server and both the home page and the mail service were not accessible for several hours.


    We apologize for the inconvenience. If you sent us an email and are not receiving answer, please send it again.

    Also, if you doubt that we are not receiving your mails, please CC: to my personal mail
    -> iax1213@gmail.com


    14.11.19 * complimentary hygrometer

    A client reported a (superficial) crack to an asnaro tub we shipped earlier this year.

    The ofuro was made with well dried ao-hiba and something like this does not happen unless the wood is really very dehydrated.

    We asked the client to check the relative humidity in the room and report to us (3 readings at morning - noon - evening)
    Before thinking of a way to repair the crack, we should quickly isolate and eliminate the problem otherwise the tub may suffer more damage.

    1) Is there a heater or radiant floor in the bathroom? If yes, it should be kept off while the tub is empty.

    2) Is there central air conditioning? Often these systems have dehumidifiers in line. Again, the AC should not be used in the bath area while the tub is empty.

    3) Is the ofuro seldom used? (should be used 2, 3 or more times a week!)

    4) Keeping some water inside may preserve the tub for periods when it is not used. Anyway, it is important to either fill the tub to the top, or keep few inches of water and
    a cover on the tub so that the humidity can reach also the area close to the edge.

    5) If the tub is left unused for extended periods and the AC/heating is very powerful, the option of keeping some water inside and a cover on top may not be sufficient as the dry environment would attack the outside of the tub. In this case I recommend to wrap the tub also on the outside (as much as possible) in a similarly to the way it was delivered.

    Wishing that this would never happen again, from now on, we will include with our bathtubs a complimentary hygrometer.
    We recommend to keep it in the bathroom and be sure that the humidity is above 55-60%. If the environment is very dry, and the tub is seldom used there is the chance that the wood may crack.



    14.11.28 * pocket onsen with special offer

    We are ready for shipping and have a special offer.
    The price of the pocket onsen purchased outside of the crowd funding campaign is 7,000 JPY for N. america and Oceania, 7.300 JPY for Europe etc.

    But, as a special Christmas present, I am slipping in the wooden box for free.

    The offer is valid until 12/31/2014 and is limited to 3 units per person.
    You can order your Pocket Onsen with complimentary box here:


    14.11.28 * on schedule with the aroma oil!

    We just completed the production of the "special reserve" hinoki aroma oil.
    I limited the production compared to the first plan but the yield was very good and we have 300 10cc bottles ready for shipping to all of you who kindly participated to the "pocket onsen" campaign.


    Next week I should be able to complete the shipping. I am looking forward to hearing your comments!


    14.11.13 * lamination of planks

    There is often a misunderstanding about what japanese call "hagi-zai" (laminated material)

    The english term "laminated wood" includes rotary cut veneer lamination (plywood) and square rods finger joined (glulam).
    We have the image of the laminated wood as an engineered material, sturdy but unequivocally man-made and thus not natural.

    On the other hand hagi-zai involves joining wide planks side by side with the aid of full penetration dowels. We try to match the vein and if the situation allows it, the joint is almost invisible. (in case of a tub we have to give priority to balancing the warping and thus it is almost inpossible to make an invisible joint in this case)

    The lumber is equalized with rotary saw and electric planer


    Here is the solid lumber with thru holes ready for joining.


    Glue is applied inside the holes


    Long dowels are hammered inside to connect all the planks together


    Here is the finished "hagi-zai". At this point it is straightened and prepared for the "shiguchi" = wood joints. (To create a box we use mostly dove tail joints.) Finally the panel are assembled to create the tub and hand planed.



    14.11.11 * the cheap yen may bring an ofuro to your home...

    The autumn brought a weak yen both against the dollar and the euro.
    This means it is a good timing to purchase japanese goods, especially when they are priced in yen.
    This post is not to push the back of our readers and convince them to buy an ofuro.
    In particular now, it is a very busy period and we have a 45-60 days lead time for the production.

    The reason for this post is that I know that japanese hinoki tubs are expensive, and remain a dream for many. Well, this may be an opportunity to bring home a japanese product with 15% discount compared to 2 months ago: so if you are considering buying and ofuro, I friendly recommend you to do it now.


    I am not a financial analyst, but considering that countries like China and Russia are dumping federal bonds, and the saudis do not seem so clung to the petrodollar anymore, I feel that the strength of the dollar may be a flash in the pan...

    I welcome all your questions and comments.

    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini


    14.10.28 * 58 thousand arigatou!

    Our indiegogo campaign just ended.
    Thanks your help and efforts, the pocket-onsen was shared on facebook 419 times and retweeted 44 times. It was featured on the Gadget flow, Rocketnews and several local newspapers.
    The financial result was a collection of 2,472 US$ (about 8% of the target 30,000 US$)
    Anyway, I am developing the product and will deliver the kits around dec. 15.
    (If somebody is interested in a "pocket-onsen" as an original Christmas present, it is available for purchase in the shop section of this site.)

    What has been really amazing about this campaign is the amount of insight, passionate advice that you gave me. Starting with the naming, the content of the kit, the graphics, the packaging! The pocket-onsen was really "crowd nurtured" and this has been a mind sizzling experience. I am really grateful for it.

    140828-new-product-opinion poll - survey page

    140828-new-product-opinion poll results page

    140831-indiegogo-cover page opinion poll - survey page

    140831-indiegogo-cover page opinion poll results page

    140907-hinoki-oil-lebels - survey page

    140907-hinoki-oil-lebels - results page

    I am now in contact with some hotels and hotel chains who are interested in selling it in the spa gift shop or offering it as a novelty in their higher rank rooms. There are several ryokan style hotels and japanese themed hot springs around the world and if you have some connection I would appreciate if you can spread the word about the pocket-onsen.

    I am looking forward to the developments of the relation we are building together.
    I am always available for chatting about new ideas and projects, please contact me by email at japan@bartokdesign.com

    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini

    Please take a look here for the campaign page: http://www.igg.me/at/pocket-onsen


    14.09.03 * a little more patience...

    Update a bout the indiegogo campaign: I am brushing up the details and plan to open the doors between 18:00 and 20:00 Japan time.
    Keep an eye on this post if you do not want to miss the early bird special package!

    UPDATE OF 19:55: Well, we are almost there but still need few minutes.
    I will send the link to the Indiegogo campaign to our mailing list @ 20:30 and will post it to this blog @ 21:00 JST.

    See you in one hour!

    UPDATE OF 21:00:
    Sorry for the wait, our indiegogo campaign just started!

    Please follow the link above to know more about our new 250 years old "special reserve hinoki aroma oil" and the "pocket onsen" kit to enjoy the japanese bath experience from your home.

    As usual, I am eager to hear your feedback, so please let me know your opinion by email or thru the comments section of Indiegogo.

    I appreciate all your effort to spread the word about the campaign!
    All the Best//


    Watch the video:

    This explains how the oil is made:


    14.09.01 * see you in Paris!

    It is official: our indiegogo campaign will kick off on 9/3 and will close on 9/26 (lasting 24 days.)

    The product is still mysterious (a part for the 1200 of you in the mailing list)
    The additional news is that I will go to Paris on 9/10 and participate to the commercial fair "spa meeting".
    I hope I will have the opportunity to promote the campaign.

    Anybody in Paris on sep 10? I`d love to meet you: free to send me an email at japan@bartokdesign.com
    I think I will wear a yukata, so you can`t miss me.

    Please stay tuned!


    14.08.30 * results of survey on new (mysterious) product

    on 8/28, I lauched a survey among all of you who purchased hinoki products or got in contact with me in the past 10 years.

    I was frantic and wary about how to start and target the Indiegogo campaign starting on 9/3
    (and the product is still a secret for many...!)

    The results of the survey were mind-blowing.
    Many of you kindly answered, shared your common-sense, wisdom, insight.
    I received so much encouragement and many gold nuggets which no doubt will decide the destiny of the campaign.

    The main doubts on the packaging, number of items and price target produced split results, but it really gave me the guidelines to define the details of the campaign.


    But the real mine of gold is in the free comments that you generously and passionately shared with me. The results database will be shared by email to all participants.

    For the curious (who did not participate in the survey), here are some comments:

    1) Difficult to answer the last question since I haven't had the chance to try the instant onsen experience!

    2) I think it's great idea. Also beautiful colorful pouches! T.

    3) It's a lovely idea, your problem may be how to differentiate from competitors (it's an easy concept to copy). As a name, instant Ofuro is obviously more correct but instant Onsen is more appealing. Pricing is difficult and depends on the market. I live in Singapore and mix with other expats. I used to live in Tokyo as an expat and we were always looking for gifts to give people back home, this would have been a nice souvenir too. As a gift especially for someone special, if the fabrics of the bags and workmanship are of high quality I would probably pay more. Also where the bags are made could have an influence on the price. E.g. If they were made by a community that is trying to recover from the tsunami then I would find that 'added value' and again pay more. I presume the hinoki balls will be made by yourselves? For me it is important that the workmanship is 'Made in Japan' not China etc! Good luck!

    4) "I enjoy using our hinoki bucket and ladle set.
    Perhaps with the hinoki balls you would need to offer another product, that being a small bottle of hinoki oil to reinfuse balls after a period of use...
    This is a novel and pretty gift idea. I could imagine using them in a Japanese theme Pot Pouri (I am from Victoria, Australia)"

    See more comments here below:

    5) great idea :)

    6) "I think the pricing and naming depends on your target market.
    If it is for people outside Japan, then with postage, they are going to be expensive.
    Good luck!"

    7) It seems to be done with good quality products. I don't know anything about costs of the item, but looks like a nice Christmas japanese flavoured present. Price? 50 - 60 €?

    8) "I'm not sure I understand what the kit will be but here are a few thoughts:
    If you want people to put 3 balls into a tub, it is too few. 8 is a lucky number in China (and perhaps other cultures). That to me would seem like a minimum.
    The only pouch with a contrasting string is the 2nd. I think it makes it stand out from the other 3. Perhaps you should use a contrasting string for all the pouches.
    The word ""instant"" is not very elegant or ""luxury"". My impression of instant is ""instant coffee"" which is tastes terrible. I never drink instant coffee.
    You need a more luxurious term or one that simply makes people feel good about having the ""onsen"" or ""ofuro"" experience at home. For non-japanese customers you may need to use ""hot spring"" instead because they won't understand onsen or ofuro.
    Finally, you could suggest the balls as a ""massage"" item. That you can roll the base of your feet on the balls while you are in the tub."

    9) Depends on what is included. It is hard to say without seeing the product. Also it is difficult to tell the scale of the balls. I think you should focus on keeping the style as Japanese as possible. Particularly as these would make great gifts in the west. I think you're pattern is a great traditional pattern that would appeal to a lot of people including both sexes. I'm not crazy about the word "instant" as it feels a little cheap to an experience that is so luxurious. But that is just my opinion. I don't like 4 balls either (I would call the actual balls Ofuro Orbs) I would try for 5 but depending on their size, 3 may be fine. Maybe different names for different audiences? For Americans maybe "ZEN BATH.. the Ofuro experience". It's clearer to a westerner and the word zen conjures up thoughts of tranquility and exotic locales. Also as you grow could develop new experiences "ZEN BATH.... the _______ experience. Your work is beautiful, concentrate on this product living up to that style and quality... Just some quick thoughts...best of luck! T. P.

    10) I love hinoki and I look forward to the day when I can afford ofuro in my house. I like this idea of yours. Number of balls is dependant on aroma. If they are strong then three will suffice.

    11) It's not entirely clear what the product is, so it's not so easy to provide good feedback, and is there one product or several?

    12) Great idea!

    13) Three is a nice number if that's enough to create the smell of hinoki in a tub. I'm not sure about the name. It would depend on whether people know what the words mean. Is onsen more commonly known or is ofuro. I would guess onsen, but I don't really know.

    14) Very interesting idea. Good luck with your project.

    15) Fun gift idea.

    16) "If you're marketing to american market, most are not familliar with the japanese terms ofuro or onsen. -at least not readily. It's different if they're allready searching for it, but it seems you want to attract people who aren't aware of hinoki and its aroma.
    3 balls for pouches, but small hinoki box may be a nice option- I would expect to pay more for that, and I would expect to see 4 balls if its in a box."

    17) "I love this idea & would definitely give these as gifts, as well as get a set for myself.

    Bag material idea- I recall seeing textures linen (& maybe silk, too?) face cloths when I was in Japan & then again at the Muji stores in NYC. Maybe something like this, related to bathing, would be appropriate?

    Other materials - there are so many Japanese textile traditions. Maybeshibori"

    18) "Dear Iacopo Torrini, You produce amazing bathtubs and utensils for bathing relaxation, we've been admiring your work. This idea of the Ofuro wood balls is good to promote the ofuro tradition, in a way similar to Proust's madeleines which evoked the qualities of an intense and beautiful experience. I wish you all the best for this endeavor, Sandra

    How big are the spheres? They should have a perfect size like the hikaru dorodango"

    19) What is the "special product" in the kit?

    20) "もし、檜の形が何種類かあって好きなように選べるともっといいと思います。(数も形も組み合わせ自由なのが理想)

    and many more!


    14.08.30 * hinoki aroma water

    I am very proud to present a new product.
    As you know hinoki essential oil has relaxing, aromatic and bactericidal properties.
    For this reason it is often used in aroma diffusers or spayed in the air as an ambient aroma.
    Since the oil does not mix with water, the essential oil needs to be diluted in ethylene (ethyl alcohol) before adding it to the water.

    But there is a more natural, easy to use and multipurpose way to create an aroma water.
    In case of hinoki, it is as simple as... buying the aroma water!
    Aroma water is a by-product of the distillation of oil and already contains the aromatic particles.

    It can be readily used and you can even spray it on your face. Hinoki water mist is a very popular skin tonic in Japan and Korea and is used before makeup to moisturize the complexion while controlling the sebum secretion.

    For more details check also the label in the photo below.

    For purchase please inquire at: japan@bartokdesign.com


    14.08.28 * Survey for Indiegogo campaign

    Dear friends, dear deep-Japan lovers.

    As it leaked from some previous posts, I am going to start a crowd-funding campaign to develop a new product. One aim is to bring the ofuro culture to a broader public.
    Another aim is to bring to the world a mind sizzling new sensation.


    Is it too obscure? You will have to wait until next week, september 3rd when we will launch the campaign.

    There are still some details I am working on and I really would appreciate to hear your opinion.
    I sent a mail to all our previous customers with a link to the survey page.
    If you are willing to contribute, just subscribe to our mailing list in the box to the right -->

    Thank you, I really appreciate your help!

    iacopo torrini ~


    14.08.23 * foot bath

    By popular request here it is! The wooden foot bath for your daily relaxation.

    It is lightweight and easy to store so you can use it where you want when you want.


    Sawara wood foot bath
    (430x270H) (d=16 7/8" h=10 5/8")

    shipping options

    Check also the bathroom accessories page on the shop for more products.


    14.08.19 * instant ofuro on Indiegogo

    Well, this is a preview, but it is official:
    I will launch a new product on indiegogo.com at the end of the august.
    This is one of the reason I am naked (from the waist up) in the middle of a forest.
    The product will be a special ........ and it will come together with these cute hinoki aroma balls and kimono fabric pouch.
    If you want to know the details, please subscribe to our news letter, on the right side of this very post.

    I`ll be in touch!



    14.07.11 * japanese lumber for a beautiful home

    Some of the material used for the doors and furniture of this house is japanese hinoki.
    The house is really stunning beautiful, poetic and minimalist.
    Enjoy the photos!


    14.07.02 * hinoki walk in closet

    Here are two pictures of the walk in closet that a client made with hinoki lumber.
    The style of the house is stunning modern with a special sensibility for the texture and feel of the materials. The soft touch and warmth of wood complements perfectly the "beton brut" poetry of the exposed concrete walls.
    Of course, the use of hinoki wood is also functional to preserving the clothes from insects and the insurgence of mold / smell.


    14.05.16 * glass coating

    We completed the experimental phase of hinoki wood treated with a new glass based product.
    The sample in the picture above has been coated with 2 layers and let dry for 12 hours.
    This product is isopropyl alcohol based and its effect is semi-permanent.

    Generally, any type of full penetration product silicon based or fluoride based deteriorates overtime and it becomes more permeable to water (and dirt).
    This product creates a matte glass coating thus it is virtually permanent and does not allow dirt or mold particles to stick to the wood.
    If used outside, it can be labeled as self cleaning as when it rains also the dirt particles are swept away.

    One downside is that it closes the pores of wood hence the aroma of hinoki is almost completely eliminated (unlike other silicon based products like Kihada ichiban).

    We are going to use this glass based product on the bottom plank (top and bottom side) because it is the most vulnerable as it collects all the tensions coming from the sides.
    It is also the last surface to dry while the side planks are already contracting.
    The aroma releasing surface may be reduced by 1/9 but the tub becomes sturdier and more stable.

    Please contact us for any question. -> japan@bartokdesign.com


    14.05.06 * free oil samples for monitor program

    As you may know, bartok design developed a line of hinoki aroma oils.
    They are enhanced with hinokitiol active principle to boost the oil bactericidal and skin repair efficacy.We need your opinion.

    For this purpose we are now shipping 100 free samples (30 for end users and 70 for spa professionals and aromatherapists).
    If you are interested, please contact us by email specifying your address.
    Please return us your comments. We will not contact you for any other purpose nor disclose any personal information or redistribute it to third parties.

    The hinokitiol is quite expensive as it takes about 25Kg. of hiba wood to produce 1g of pure hinokitiol powder.
    We are recommending 3 formulations. (5%,10%,15%).
    For this concentration, hinokitiol is soluble in the oil without need of a solution medium like alcohol, so the hinoki oil is pure and without chemical additives..

    We are in doubt if it is better to market the oil already mixed (oil + hinokitiol powder),
    or provide them separately so the user can verify the amount of hinokitiol and mix them before use.
    Mixing is achieved by simply shaking the bottle. For the 10% and 15% solutions we recommend to place the oil bottle in hot water for 30 seconds.

    few seconds after adding the hinokitiol (you can see the powder particles in suspension)
    This is in case we were to ship the pure oil + the small tube with the pure hinokitiol powder (1.25g - 2.5g - 3.75g)

    (NOTE: Until ond of may 2014 we will ask all clients which option they prefer.)

    We need your opinion about the marketing format of our enhanced hinoki oil.
    (ready-mixed or bi-component).

    We will ship a free sample (value 6$) to the first 100 people who contact us.
    Of course shipping is prepaid so you will only have to test it and let us know.
    This is also a chance for you to try our hinoki oil for free!
    Please contact us by email to japan@bartokdesign.com
    UPDATE: The program is completed. Thank you for your interest and precious feed back. This gave us the leads to develop a "legendary hinoki oil". Please find more on our indiegogo page: http://www.igg.me/at/pocket-onsen

    hinoki oil sample.JPG


    14.04.06 * hinoki aroma bath products

    Is there anything more soothing and relaxing than soaking in a hot tub?


    Actually yes. I think that all of you who experienced a wooden japanese bathtub will agree with us.
    For all of you who never tried and wand to try how it feels, there is good news.
    We developed a line of hinoki aroma oils to use in the tub.

    Take a look at our shop pages for more information.


    14.03.06 * buy a japanese bathtub before it is too late!

    Dear Japan lovers:

    As you might know, the japanese sales tax is increasing starting 2014/4/1 (from 5% to 8%).
    If your tub purchase is finalized after 4/1, we will have to update the price (increase of 3%).
    (Unfortunately it is not an april fool...)
    If you confirm your interest, we recommend to take advantage of the old price until the end of march and confirm your order.

    Thank you for your kind understanding.


    13.09.07 * paradise is not for humans only

    The resort chain "Caro Foresta" put special efforts in targeting clients with pets.
    Of course dogs are allowed in the resort, are pampered with a broad choice of delicious menus and are babysitted so that the owners can fully enjoy their vacation.

    But yes, since the resort in Nasu is in a hot spring area, why the best friend of man shouldn`t enjoy the hot water also?
    There it is: they offer hinoki outdoor baths (rotenburo) for the joy of your dog.
    I can see the smile on their face!


    13.06.04 * Fixed exchange rate for you~!

    After years of bullish strong yen, the japanese bills weakened some 30% against the dollar and euro in a span of few months.
    one yen was buying you about 75 yen in autumn 2012 but climbed up to 102.31 yen on 5/15 (My wife` birthday...).

    In the past 2 weeks, the yen is slowly recovering some positions and returned under the 100 units bar. As today, one dollar is worth about 98 yen.


    But at Bartok design, one dollar is still worth 102.31.
    Until 6/15.
    Did you miss the chance to confirm your order and see the dollar is slipping again?
    No reason to regret, we extend the highest exchange rate of the past 4 years until june 15.
    We strongly recommend you to take advantage of the "102.31 yen campaign" before also this chance is gone...


    13.05.30 * abenomics...

    As you know, the new japanese Prime Minister, entered in charge last december has enacted agressive financial and fiscal measures with the purpose of pumping some fresh blood in the ailing japanese economy.
    One of the first targets was the strong yen, a formidable obstacle to the japanese exports for the past 4-5 years. With an increase in public spending and monetary easing, the target was reached, maybe even too abruptly.
    This alone does not change the outlook of japanese economy but is an element of hope and of course a concrete boost for exporters such as Bartok design Japan.
    We are glad that our clients can buy our products with a 30-35% discount!


    But there is a downside.
    Like putting fire to a pile of paper, the response to a massive economic stimulus is immediate, the flames are high and the temperature is rising. But how long is it going to last? In any case, for the time being construction materials costs are rising rapidly. Compared to 6 months ago steel is +15%, concrete is 7%up and concrete forms are up over 20% up. Wood for carpentry increased some 5% but selected and rare wood (like hinoki) is rising more rapidly and is not rare to stumble into no-common-sense requests.
    Public spending tends to boost cost of high grade materials and hinoki is used in historical building renovations, hot springs, conference centers, hotels etc.
    We have our stock but will have to face the situation of more costly material sooner or later.
    From the mid of june, we will have to apply a cost increase of about 10% and our quotation will have a strict 15 days validity.
    I am addressing this notice especially to those who requested a quotation and are now evaluating the option of using one of our baths,
    Sorry, our quotations until 2013/5/31 have a 1 month validity and cannot be extended further. No exception. Thank you in advance for your kind understanding.

    Even our costs are increasing, the weak yen will still make our products more accessible and this is good news for all the japanese bath lovers in the world...!
    All the Best//

    iacopo torrini


    13.02.01 * wabisabi featured on Tokyo TV

    Wabisabi Culture (a japanese style ryokan and meditation center in central Italy) and their large Bartok design ofuro have been featured on Tokyo TV!
    The ofuro footage starts at around 2:20 on the video below:


    13.02.07 * Bartok design featured on DWELL

    Big news: 3 of our tubs have been featured on DWELL


    13.01.27 * perfect timing to buy an ofuro


    In case you did not notice it, the dollar and euro are gaining value over the yen.
    Today, one dollar buys you almost 91 yen, it was 78 yen/dollar six months ago.
    In few words, if you purchase a japanese bathtub now you can save about 20% compared to the price you would have payed in summer 2012.
    Is the yen weakness going to last? We do not know, anyway the boost of exports and the planned increase of the sales tax (from 5% to 8% in 2014 and 10% in 2015) create the premises for demand increase which can boost the economy and generate a flow of capitals towards the japanese stock market.

    Is the yen going back to 78 yen per dollar? Again nobody can say it, but it is likely that it is going to stabilize to a medial value for the months to come.
    If you are planning to buy an ofuro, this may be the chance you were waiting for...!


    13.01.01 * happy new year!

    From the land of the rising sun, we could see the beginning of 2013 before most of the other countries. And, despite the uncertainty of this period, we had the clear impression that it will be a DELICIOUS new year!


    We would like to participate our warmest wishes to all our japan loving friends all over the world!


    12.04.21 * cutting planks


    A block of quarter-sawn lumber is split in planks for making a bathtub. The thichness is 45mm: once it is planed it will be 42mm finished.



    12.04.20 * hinoki ofuro in the fuji TV morning news

    a beautiful japanese ofuro. Who`s taking a bath here?
    and, what is the cameraman doing with my hinoki bathtubs ... ?

    Last week I was interviewed for fuji television, the media coverage of the "new wave of the japanese bathing culture" is rising ... and there I am in the spotlight again :) !

    ofuro on TV japanese bath TV

    they filmed in high vision the grain of our beautiful kiso valley hinoki.
    Ikeda san was not so happy about entereing in the ofuro together...
    But the hinoki fragrance made him relax almost instantly

    hinoki wood plankstogether in the bathtub...

    The VTR will be broadcasted on 4/25 in the morning news on Fuji television (national programming) and will also contain an interview with a client from L.A.

    I will keep you posted!


    12.03.01 * Ofuro featured on japanese TV!

    Here are some strips from the program broadcasted last month on the japanese TV.

    The carpenters father and son work on the corner joint by creating a precise tongue and groove
    the convex part is hammered for a precise fit. Once the wood is wet the two planks of wood hug eachother thus creating a perfectly watertight joint
    the bottom inner perimeter is completed with the insertion of a pad made of hinoki bark which has sealant and bactericidal properties.
    most of our tubs are "copper bottomed" for optimal performance and durability. Here is our client from California enjoying the bathing ritual...
    and here are other testimonials from the 17 countries wordwide where we have references. 
    Lastly, a reference from Rome-Italy, in an apartment just meters away from the Colosseum.
    Our carpenter is so happy to see that his creations are appreciated by people living so far away...!

    Please look here for an extract of the video:

    < japanese ofuro

    12.02.16 * waiting for the show

    Yes, today is the day. The primetime TV program featuring two of our ofuros used abroad will be on air tonight. But... WAIT A MINUTE!...
    I was so surprised to see this full color advertisment on the morning paper!!


    12.02.12 * Bartok design ofuro featured on japanese TV program

    Channel 19, a major TV broadcasting company in japan contacted with reference to our hinoki bathtubs...!
    They run a very popular program: "Wafū Sōhonke" which would translate "total Japanese traditional house". They make a show every week (with rebroadcasting on saturdays) about japanese traditional crafts. -> -> http://www.tv-osaka.co.jp/ip4/wafu/

    They shoot 2 locations where our tubs are installed, in Italy and California.
    I am also looking forward to see it and hear the clients`s comments !!

    The program will be aired on 2/16, see more details here below:

    Show Title:Wafu Souhonke - Produced by TV Osaka/Aired Nationwide by TV Tokyo
    On air Every Thursday Night 9:00PM~

    Aired Date: February 16th, 2012 (Thursday) 9:00PM 1.5hour Special
    Cast: Takeo Chii, Hisako Manda, Takahiro Azuma and more
    Show Summary) Through this show, we are reporting the "Heart of Japan" to our audience.
    We want to reconsider "Japanese Culture" that we think we know, but we actually might not.

    Project Title: Made in Japan Products That Are Found in the World-Part 2

    Project Summary:
    The skills and quality in goods created in Japan are kept by the Japanese craftsman and those are not only recognized in Japan but also in the world. Japanese products are utilized in unexpected places in the world. This project is a part 2 of a search of those unknown "Made in Japan" goods in the world.



    12.02.09 * featured on interior design blog

    we have been featured on this blog!

    Feel free to check out~


    12.02.06 * wabisabiculture on TV (sereno-variabile)

    Our friends ryokan in central Italy -wabisabiculture - have been featured in a weekend very popular container TV program!


    For the streaming video refer to the link below:

    For the intro about Wabisabi Culture fastforward the timeline until min. 21:50



    11.10.25 * ofuro featured on interior design magazine

    First of all thanks again to the architect who commissioned us this hinoki bathtub, and congratulations for his superb architectural design quality!

    I feel that the rough and natural feeling of the knotty wood complements perfectly the classy shine of the glass mosaic walls.

    His work was featured in Interior Design Magazine, I recommend to see also the picture gallery for a full overview of the house.


    11.09.29 * spherical drain plug!

    Yes, by popular demand we can now supply a spherical drain plug!
    It is cool and can plug the drain socket in direction.
    It should fit your 40A type drain fitting.


    The ball is in durable chemical rubber: after many years it may shrink slightly but will not ovalize.
    The chain and ring are in stainless steel.
    (as of 3.1.2014 there was a price increase from the maker.)

    The price is:
    6,500 JPY as an option for a new tub
    7,900 JPY + EMS shipping fee if you only want to purchase the plug.


    11.09.28 * installation of a hinoki tub in Tokyo

    Here are some pictures of a hinoki tub installed in a house in Tokyo.
    Note that the ledge contains the recirculation system valve (we DO NOT provide the system itself. In Japan most of the home use hot water heaters are equipped with this option.)


    After the wall is finished, the tub is placed.


    Note the cuts in the ledge to drain the water accumulating on the ledge.



    11.09.22 * hinoki slanted bathtubs in resort hotel

    Few years ago we shipped a tub to Hawaii.
    I remembered they were planning to finish the area around the tub with river stones.
    Yesterday, a client was looking for a similar solution, so I tried to check the homepage to see if they had a picture of the tub installed.

    And yes, there it is...

    hawaii resort bath
    Copyright of the picture by Four Seasons Resort.

    You can find another idea of a tub buried in river stones here:
    Copyright of the picture by Zimbio


    11.08.26 * ofuro price list

    Our policy is to produce custom ofuros freshly after your order.
    This way we do not have to use a lot of space to store the stock and do not have to immobilize capital for ready-to-ship products.

    The customer`s advantage is a reasonable price, maker-to-client and the possibility to adapt the tub to your needs and bathroom sizes, up to the milllimeter!

    For this reason, feel free to ask us a custom quotation. We are at your disposal!

    This said, If you just want to have a quick reference or compare with standard sizes of different makers, please refer to the chart below. Again, this is just for reference, always ask for a final quotation as we may be able to make better conditions according to the season of the year and the material we have in stock.

    Click on the image below to download the pdf version.



    11.03.21 * hinoki tub in osaka

    Here are some pictures of a tub installed in a private residence near Osaka.
    It is actually a new building designed by Torrini.

    110320y-sink.jpgHere is the powder room with tatami-like vynil tiles.

    110320y-bath.jpgThe bathroom has no-slip warm-touch gres tiles produced by INAX.

    110320y-shower.jpgThe ledge is in marble and the wall upper section is finished in hinoki wainscoting.

    110320y-inside.jpgPerfect for contemplating the sea-view from the window!


    11.03.28 * ofuro installed in Australia


    This is a beautiful picture of a tub we made a couple of years ago.
    The scenery from the window is breathtaking!
    Also, the owner collected with patience and refined taste many other japanese items (we helped with supplying the lighting fixtures and door knobs) to create an authentic interior.


    11.03.22 * tears of light in japan

    Dear friends concerned about the 3/11 quake in japan, let me share with you a webpage.
    It is called Northeastern Pacific Ocean Earthquake Reconstruction Project - Support page
    But I especially like the section called Murmurs, messages, words. which is constantly updated on the top page.
    It collects testimonies, messages of encouragements sent by tweeter or other instant messaging services. They are words of hope and heartwarming short poems, tiny but real gems in the mud of the tsunami.

    here is the link: http://fukkououen.web.fc2.com/tweet_top.html

    Let me translate a few:

    Yesterday my 2 year old son wend to the door and started to wear on his shoes. What are you doing? - I asked. I am going to arrest (capture) the earthquake - he answered.

    When Chubu Electric Power stated they will transfer a part of the power to the troubled Kanto Electric, my grumpy father who usually keeps the TV, heater and lights of the ground floor on all the day, started without a word to unplug all utilities. I was a little touched seeing him do so.

    Japan s great. Also the private sector officials, in trying to help everyone.
    I heard that even the Yakuza is giving availability to several trucks to transport goods to the Tohoku region. Until recently I was not proud to be a japanese. But Japan is a great country. I'm honestly impressed. Fellow japanese, let`s do our best!

    A child was lining in front of me in the convenience store. He was buying some candies but when he got closer to the register and saw the donation box, slipped his 500 yen inside and went back to the shelf to return the candies. The clerk said "thank you" and his voice was trembling

    Working part-time as a waiter. The shop was almost full and when the earthquake happened, we had them evacuate for safety. I started to think "today we had many eat-and-flee customers" when one by one almost all clients come back to pay the bill. The few people who could not return, come back today purposely to set their bill. Japan is a great country!

    People who lost everything not only need compassion. They need a reason to smile.

    I will add some more later on.


    11.03.20 * sobbing and smiling over the earthquake

    We continue to receive many kind emails of condolence, empathy, encouragement.
    Thank you for this heartful thoughts, the japanese need it.

    We appreciate your concerns, but do not worry too much, the japanese will stand again.
    There is a beatiful and simple okinawan song composed over the second world war and the heavy toll of civil lives. The title is HANA (flower). As it is stated in the refrain:
    nakinasai warainasai itsu no hi ka itsu no hi ka hana wo sakasou yo.
    Come on, Cry! Come on Laugh! One day, one day, let`s make the flowers bloom.
    -Listen here-


    11.03.16 * update about the Japan earthquake

    Dear friends allover the world,

    We appreciate all your kind mails and phone calls and feel sorry to make you worry.
    Actually we are far from the areas of destruction and did not suffer any damage.
    I am also astonished to look at the TV: they look like images from another country as there was no shake or tsunami in western japan.
    Due to overloaded telephone lines I was able to contact our warehouse in Chiba only on sunday morning, 36 hours after the quake. The tremblor was strong but fortunately no damage to people and equipment.

    Now the nuclear emergency is giving some serious concern.
    I cannot be optimistic but there is no point in panicking and I am trying to collect unbiased data and act rationally. I am sharing some thoughts and founds on my facebook profile.

    About the work, we are fully operational, all our material is safely stocked inside and we are at your disposal for any question. Actually, we try to keep busy to counteract the hypnotic effect of the round the clock TV news...!

    Lastly, let me share with you the link to some donation sites.
    These people lost family, property, work. At least let`s return them some hope.


    11.02.25 * hinoki tub installed in Seattle


    We just received the beautiful pictures and kind comment of a client from the West Coast:

    Happy New Year! I hope that all is going well for you in Japan.

    Here are a few photos of our hinoki tub installed. It is a joy to use!!! Now you need to make a journey to this part of the world to see it in person!

    Thank you so much to you, Wada-san, and anyone else who assisted in making or getting it ready to ship. It was a long journey to get it in place and I am very happy we did it.

    All my best,


    To hear that the client is satisfied and enjoying the tub is is for us the most important thing and is the source of more energy and enthusiasm in continuing our mission of introducing the art of japanese soaking baths Worldwide!



    11.01.19 * hinoki tub featured on Vogue


    Our friend`s ryokan in central Italy was featured on Vogue!
    Find the link here below to read the article.



    10.09.27 * decorative and artistic kumiko shoji

    Take a look at these works of art!
    (click on each picture for an enlarged view.)
    The "kumiko shoji" possess the geometric harmony of a moroccan lattice-work and the wit and non casual irregularities proper of the most refined japanese court culture.
    Feel free to let us know your requirements (pattern, sizes) for your custom shoji!



    10.07.01 * shoji doors for spain!

    shoji doors

    shoji paper We build and shipped some custom size shoji doors made in "sugi" pine wood. sizes are 1238mm x H 2200 for one door and 950mm x H 2200 for another opening. (normal shojis are in the range of 900mm for the width and 1800-2000mm for the height.)

    We also provided overhead rail floor rails and jambs made in hinoki gluelam (it is safer than solid wood as it does not warp or bend)

    We supplied the shoji paper and glue/spackle separately as paper is easily damaged by humidity during the ocean freight. Inside the container the temperature tends to be very high, and paper will stretch and wrinkle if it is already attached on the shoji frame.


    10.06.05 * virtual 3D showroom

    We know that rather than the cold buttons of the mouse, you prefer the delicate touch of the cherry blossoms falling on your hair.
    Anyway, if you are far from japan and missing its onsen, its cozy ryokan with mystical stone gardens shining with the moonlight, we hope you will enjoy this 3D walkthru simulation.
    If you like it, write a comment!

    You can actually walk inside this virtual japanese room (and take a relaxing bath in our ofuro, of course!)

    1) You need to use Internet Explorer (sorry, does not work for other browsers)

    2) Download the Power sketch viewer plugin from "Magic Hour Co.". Click the Icon.

    3) Access the 3D file. virtual-showroom3d.php


    You can jump to the saved views with the buttons in the control bar or just press the mouse left button and slowly glide thru the garden...

    (Yes, there is also a toilet behind the fusuma doors in case you cannot contain your surprise...)

    I hope this can be a hint if you are considering a japanese atmosphere for your home extension.


    10.05.15 * sunoko for Canada

    Did you know you can order just a duckboard?


    In this case, a friend architect ordered one for (I imagine) a very special bathroom. We had a detailed correspondence about using the planks long wise or width wise. We custom built the sleepers to adjust to the existing slope. The grating was divided in two pieces for easy maintenance. The client chose not to chamfer the corners of the planks for a sharper look. We adjusted the size a couple of times.
    Every communication was done in a fast and accurate sequence of questions and answers, like in a ping pong game. Perfect.
    Well, almost perfect...
    The sunoko is now happily installed, I hear, but... we are having 2 practical problems. I am mentioning it here so it can be of reference for other cases.
    We strive for perfection but sometimes problems happen all at the same time...
    Please bear with us as we will do our best to assist you in any circumstance.

    problem 1) One plank was damaged during the transportation with EMS!

    solution 1) All the shipments are insured. If you already opened the box and used it for more than a week, there is nothing we can do from our side. You will have to file the claim to the post office, they will produce a damage report. Send it to us. We will file it to the japanese post office and obtain a refund. Meanwhile we will make a new sunoko section and ship it to you. Sorry for the trouble!

    problem 2) Some of the stainless steel nails developed some rust stains!

    solution 2) No kidding! I confirm we use SUS1818 type stainelss nails.
    As you can find on internet resources (wikipedia etc.), the only case that stainless steel produces rust is when it gets in touch with another ferroid material. The chrome coating anti-oxidation barrier of stainless steel is neutralized by the electrolitic effect of the two metals touching.

    a) It is possible that some metal dust from the hammer remained on the nail head
    b) or maybe your water is very rich in iron

    Dip a moist, soft toothbrush in a box of baking soda. Or you can use a mild pickling gel. Rub back and forth gently on the stained area. Rinse abundantly.


    10.06.03 * Moving ...

    This is for all of you who visited our warehouse (and for all of you who plan to visit...)
    On 6/28 we are moving! The new warehouse/showroom will be operational from 7/1.

    We are relocating closer to Chiba, within the Tokyo Central lumberyard - Chiba lumber center.
    The address is: Yoshioka 496 Yotsukaidō City, Chiba Pref.
    The closest station is Yotsukaido Sta. (on the JR Sobu line for Chiba)

    We are actually very close to Narita Airport, you are welcome to drop by on your way back!


    10.05.15 * Photos of installed tub in the US

    Our client kindly participated us these pictures.
    Looking at the ofuro bath tub from the lavatory area:

    Japanese and western. Just like the lucky owner of this sleek bathroom (a japanese-american couple), mixing it up makes life more interesting!

    The tub is a large knotless hinoki with tob border frame.


    10.03.11 * An Italian In Kabuki Part II: Nango Rikimaru

    Please enjoy the second video in my kabuki experiences series. This video is a short run through of where this wonderful opportunity has taken me.


    10.02.26 * My Kabuki Experiences

    For those of you with additional interests in Japan, we have prepared a short video of how I was invited to perform with a village kabuki group.
    Kabuki is a stylized Japanese drama that includes dance, best recognized by the ghost-like white make-up that the actors apply. Click here to read more about Kabuki on wikipedia. Village Kabuki is a non-professional version of Kabuki that were and still are community events in the more rural parts of Japan.
    I have been performing for 10 years now and it is wonderful to be part of a fading tradition in Japan. Please enjoy!


    10.02.08 * wood wainscoting for your bathroom

    A great way to complement a hinoki bathtub is with wooden wainscoting.

    There are two options to choose from. Narrow [top left] and wide [top right].

    The wood paneling is packed and delivered like this:

    IMGP0761mh.jpg DSC00006.jpg

    installed like this:


    and looks like this:



    10.02.05 * VTR of Yoshiaki visiting ryokan in Kiso

    Here is another short VTR that Yoshiaki took in Kiso valley when visiting the ryokan of a friend.
    The place is located in Nagano-ken, Kiso-gun.
    The name of the ryokan is: NEZAME-SANSHI (=purple mountains). This is because the mountains surrounding Kiso in all directions turn to purple at sunset.

    I hope you enjoy!


    10.01.29 * ofuro tubs video

    We prepared a short VTR about our japanese ofuro tubs.
    How do you like it? We welcome your comments!


    10.01.25 * bartok tubs in their new homes!

    Our wonderful customers have graciously sent us photographs of their installed and fully functional bathtubs. In both big and small, traditional and modern spaces, the tub fits in perfectly creating a relaxing atmosphere that anyone can enjoy.

    ofuro installation


    10.01.22 * Shoji Doors Shipped

    Our client decided on option B, the doors with a contemporary feel. Below are the products ready to be shipped.

    doors brighter.jpg

    Shoji doors are usually made with rice paper, however, rice paper is delicate and doesn't fair well in humid environments, like a bathroom. We recommend to replace the paper with a synthetic material that looks like paper call warlon. This fascinating material is used for many interior applications in Japan today. (Warlon website in Japanese only)

    rails bright.jpg

    Above are the rails that are to be fitted above and below for the doors to slide.

    wainscoting bright.jpg

    And for the final touch wooden wainscot paneling, and Japan has been brought to your home!


    10.01.22 * Shoji Doors for Japanese Style Room

    Bedroom-quotes resized.jpg
    We had a client who wanted a comprehensive Japanese look for his room. The image above was taken from the bedroom facing the bathroom and closet. Our client wanted to used traditional Japanese shoji doors to separate the spaces.

    I sent my client the following two proposals:
    shoji door options resized.jpg

    Option A is classic Japanese but involves more pieces. This design includes a column and beam casing which separates the closet doors from the bathroom doors and the top storage from the full sized doors.

    Option B is simple and more contemporary. There are no exposed columns so the doors look like parts of a whole and because there is no beam the ceiling will feel higher.

    Options A and B can also be mixed and matched according to one's vision.


    09.10.20 * facebook group

    I opened a group on facebook with the title: "japanese bath lovers".

    Of course I`d be glad if you join!
    Feel free to share your photos and experiences about japan, japanese spas, and anything you feel appropriate!

    here is the url: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=159922796737&ref=mf



    09.10.20 * tub installed in Tokyo


    japanese tub

    Here are some pictures of a beautiful hinoki bathtub installed in Tokyo.
    click on the pictures for an enlarged view!

    soaking tub



    09.08.25 * hinoki tub ! SEPTEMBER SALE !

    Dear friend,

    Did you contact us some time ago with reference to a quotation for a japanese tub?
    Is your project still on track?

    Or did you just knew about us and wish to have a quote?

    We are at your disposability for any question/problem.

    Also, note that if you confirm your order in september, we will be able to apply a 7% discount on the quote for what concerns hinoki products! (no discount on the transportation cost.)

    There will be an extra 3% discount (10% total!) for the first 3 tubs ordered in september.
    Updated 090909: sorry, the extra discount has been allocated...

    This offer starts today aug/25 and expires sept/30/2009 at 18:00 JST.
    Please note:
    * This offer cannot be cumulated with other discounts.
    * This offer is valid only for bank transfer payments (no credit cards or paypal)
    * This is Bartok design`s first promotional sale.
    * We do not have plans to make it a regular feature and in case it will be repeated it will not be before august 2010.
    * These conditions include a governamental 5% tax facilitation.

    Contact us for further details!


    09.07.21 * Lighting fixtures for Australia

    We received a mail from our previous hinoki-bath customer.
    Now she wanted to complete her renovation with japanese style lighting fixtures.

    ofuro fixturesofuro renovation
    The japanese maker of course cannot offer support or guarantee overseas and we had to ask our client to sign a liability release paper.

    Since we are a japanese company we can purchase at 50% off listed prices and transfer this advantage to our clients. Sales conditions vary case by case according to the quantity, makers and products.

    Some items are order made and may require one month or more for production. Feel free to contact us for any question.


    09.07.21 * japanese tub found home in Suisse

    Here are some photos that do not need many comments...
    It is the simple and happy story of a japanese tub in search for a new home (and caring family)

    ofuro arrivalFirst the arrival in front of a renovated ancient barn...how charming!

    soaking tub
    Then the installation in its pit (will it really fit? - this was one of the client main concerns.)
    While waiting for the tap (not rady yet) the tub is left with few centimeters of water on the bottom to avoid any possible dryness damage. ...(and to enjoy even more the asnaro wood scent!)

    wood tub and window    ofuro stools and accessories

    Lastly, a regenerating view on the garden. A perfect mix of eurpean and oriental sensations!


    09.04.27 * shipment of interior items

    More and more often, we receive additional requests from previous customers.
    Apparently japanese natural items are addictive and once people open their eyes to this new reality, they decided they want to be surrounded by a complete japanese style interior.

    Of course we can produce shoji and solid doors. We can build custom furniture, supply planks for wall application (wainscoting) or floor finish.

    Additionally, we know dozens of craftsmen with whom we work together on a daily bases on construction projects. For this reason, we can supply tatami-mats, fabrics, gutters, and even lighting fixtures. If you are looking for some japanese products feel free to ask us.
    If we can supply what you are looking for, we will prepare a quotation. Our sales margin ranges from 15% to 20% but as it is applied on wholesale prices from trusted suppliers, so you will find the prices very reasonable.

    Japanese room shipment

    Here above is a large shipment we coordinated for a client in Italy.
    It includes custom sized tatami mats, futon, shoji doors with their rails and a beutiful rainchain in copper.



    09.05.13 * towel ladder

    We received the request from a previous customer of custom bath accessories to match an asnaro tub.


    We received precise information and could elaborate it to include traditional japanese construction details.
    The small parts in the picture are door pulls and robe hooks.


    The "towel ladder" is divided in pieces for an easy assembly on site. This allowed fit within the set sizes for postal parcels. Using EMS mail for small shipments is fast, cheap and without fuss.


    09.04.16 * cutting the top frame

    This is a very nice cut of Asnaro wood. It has a large section and could be used for carving a Buddha statue or some aulic application which require the best wood.

    ofuro construction

    We are building a tub for a customer in Belgium and hope he will appreciate some extra service...


    09.04.28 * Payments with Pay Pal

    By popular demand...

    We are now able to accept payments by Credit Card via PayPal.

    Solution Graphics

    Feel free to ask us for more details.


    09.03.10 * wooden box

    ofuro shipping

    New customs rules for imports into California, put restrictions on materials containing formalin also with reference to the packaging.
    As plywood (which contains adhesives) cannot be used, we built a solid wood crate.
    This is the second going to California this year.

    It looks like the box itself can be used to make some furniture or millwork...


    09.02.19 * New company

    Thanks to all hinoki lovers, our sales of japanese tubs in 2008 increased by almost 50% compared to the previous terms.
    We decided it is time to create an indipendent company (separated from my business as an architect) to handle the design, manufacture and sales of wooden products.
    One of the merits is that this will allow us a japanese sales tax saving of about 2.5% which will benefit our clients.

    The new company, BARTOK DESIGN JAPAN Co. will deal exclusively in wooden products exports. Address and contact numbers remain without variation.
    Our new primary bank account is at MINATO BANK, we also have another account at TOKYO MITSUBISHI UFJ BANKING CORP.
    Do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information.


    09.02.27 * fresh hinoki supply

    Here is a load of fine hinoki "masakiban" from the Kiso Valley. Taking advantage of the poor economic conjuncture, we could obtain a good price for excellent material.
    We will be glad to turn this advantage to our clients!

    Actually in the recent months, asnaro wood is becoming more difficult to find.
    Everibody noticed the beautiful and reasonably priced asnaro and the competition for the best logs is increasing.
    Also for this reason we recommend hinoki if you plan to buy a wooden tub in 2009.


    09.02.09 * tub for hawaii - 4

    Here we are!
    Our carpenter worked thru the weekend and the tub is almost complete.
    You can see the finished product in the "gallery" pages.
    We used a thick wall construction to keep the design of the tub as simple as possible, without using a top border nor skirted joints.


    09.02.06 * tub for hawaii -3

    The tub walls are now getting ready.
    This is the preparation phase which requires most of the time.
    All wood is cut and planed by hand.


    09.02.03 * tub for hawaii - 1

    We started the construction of a nice sloped edge tub.
    In this case we will document the construction process.

    Watch out for updates!


    09.02.05 * tub for hawaii - 2

    Japanese tub construction

    Here is another phase of the bathtub construction.
    The short and long sides are being laminated.

    Next, we will prepare the bottom plank and proceed to assemble it together.

    Otanoshimi ni mattete kudasai ne!


    09.02.06 * web server problems

    We moved this website on a faster server for your convenience. Anyway, due to this reason this homepage and email experienced some down time in the period 1/28 ~ 2/5.
    We sincerely apologise for the unconvenience. If you contacted us by mail or by our request form, chances are that we did not receive your kind request.

    If in doubt, please contact us again.



    08.12.02 * laminating the planks

    In these pictures it is easy to understand how the side walls of a hinoki tub are laminated.

    First the material is assorted so that knots or other imperfections get discarded and of course, so that the total width of the planks is equal on the four sides of the tub. This is also a way to optimize the use of the material and avoid loss.

    The wood is hand sawn by overlapping 2 planks so that with one single cut two perfecly matching planks are cut.

    The pictures show the phase when the planks are drilled and connected with woodes plugs (dabo). The planks are joined with a waterproof bond and kept in the press overnight.

    The corner of the tubs are realized with a more complex joint which is sealed by the insertion of hinoki wood bark which acts as a kind of natural gasket. Moreover, this bark has excellent fungicidal property and prevents mold stains in the most vulnerable point (the corners).


    08.12.27 * Snow and hot water

    These are some pictures kindly participated by a client and friend who owns a large knotty hinoki tub. He refurbished a country house in central Italy and is the lucky owner of this unique bath house...

    winter ofuro

    how can I properly comment these pictures?
    I come up with this haiku (short japanese poem):


    samu fuyu ni / kokoro atameru / kimi no aijo

    in the cold winter / warming up my heart / your friendship

    Japanese soaking


    08.11.27 * tub fitting

    What am I doing here!?

    Actually, today we showed our material and products to a perspective customer from Germany who is visiting Japan.

    It is always a pleasure to have a tea together and exchange thoughts with fellow westerners who share with us passion for japan and fine hand crafts.

    We looked at the plans and after some talking, we felt it might be easier just to try one tub, as you would do with a pair of boots. We had an "outlet" tub and the client could enter and get a more direct idea of the size and of the feeling of the tub.
    Even a smaller tub seems spacious and comfortable when you try it. No big surprise, the sizes we were recommending actually did fit perfect, anyway after trying the tub the client could feel reassured and move forward without worry.
    If you visit Japan, drop by for a tub fitting (if you let us the time we can pick you up at JR Maihama station).

    Well, we wanted to show you how it works so I found the good excuse to enter the tub myself...


    08.10.06 * round tubs for Hakone

    These large round tubs were made for a hot spring luxury hotel near Mt. Fuji.
    They are so beautiful to look at that I could stay here staring for hours...
    Can you imagine how would it be to take a hot bath inside?

    Just for your information, round tubs of this size go for 16,000 + per piece, without transportation cost...
    On the other end, how much is our physical and mental health worth?
    We do not have statistical data but it is known that a relaxing bath a day improves almost all body functions and extend life-span. Additionally it is also believed to improve relations and productivity.

    This may be the reasons that made a client comment "In this time of financial uncertainty, a japanese tub is actually the best investment I made. Under all points of view."


    08.09.27 * 100% natural tub-1

    Of course all our tubs are natural: we only use wood and do not treat it with any chemical or coating agent. How can you make a tub which is more natural than a wood tub?
    Actually we do use some bond inside the joints of our tubs. We prefer epoxy bond instead of urea based products because it is long lasting and safe for the health.

    Anyway this time we received an interesting challenge.
    We were required to build a 100% natural tub (actually 2 tubs), without the use of any synthetic material. We had to resort to the knowledge and wisdom of our carpenter`s father who dedicated great passion and almost 3 weeks of work for this project. It was really a great chance for passing down the ancient tecnique (and art) to the younger generations. It was more than 50 years since he last used the this construction method!
    Read some more details in the next entry.


    08.09.29 * 100% natural tub-2

    Here is how we are building the 100% natural tub in the traditional way.
    The shape most suitable is the "TARU" which is assembled like a barrell with vertical planks of hinoki. The water pressure distributes uniformly on the perimeter and is collected by the stainless steel bands hammered from the bottom up.

    The hinoki planks are cut with variable angles so to match eachother seamlessly. Between these we used a natural bond made of rice starch called "SOKOI". This is 100% natural and does not contain anything but rice and water!


    08.08.27 * Central Italy: hot water in the tub I

    These pictures seem to have been taken from Kyoto or Nara...

    (It is actually from a rural stone-masonry lovely house in the beautiful Appennine mountains.) I will skip any comment, it would fade anyway in the emotions that come out from the images...


    08.08.29 * Central Italy: hot water in the tub II

    Let me report the wise comment of our client (and friend):
    "I am confirmed in the belief that Japanese were thousands of years ahead of us westerners: in the age when we were using perfumes to hide our odors and (in the rare occasions we were washing), we were using underwears and busts to hide our body, japanese were...


    Naked. Alone or in good company. Clean in the mind and in the body."

    Also in this case, I cannot but agree...!


    08.09.10 * Asnaro tub installed in Paris

    Here it is, our tub installed in a landmark attic in the bellybottom of Paris.
    The creative decoration of the bathroom with a revisitation of the stone garden theme show how a natural wooden bath can go well both in traditional or contemporary settings.

    The floor in iron-wood wraps up to finish the ledge of the tub which is built-in type.
    In the large bath area there is also a shower-box and extra long vanity counter.
    It looks like I could spend hours in this oasis before ever thinking of getting back to the outside world...

    Interior design and realization by:
    Espaces Parisiens Planning
    37, rue Galilee
    75116 Paris - France
    tel. 01 40 70 08 47


    08.08.01 * new product: hiba oil

    hiba oil

    We always receive the same question:
    Q. How should I maintain/clean the tub?

    The answer is always:
    1.Ensure good ventilation in the bathrom.
    2.You may wipe the tub dry after use if you want.
    3.Never use soap or detergent to clean the tub.
    4. Do nothing, just enjoy the tub.

    5. If you find some stains you may remove them with alcohol or other stain remover - only applied on the spot - rub gently and rinse thoroughly.

    The tub needs love and care more than maintenance.
    If you use it often (preferably daily), keep an eye on the hygrometer and take care of small stains as soon as you spot them, you tub will have a long and happy life.

    Anyway, our clients feel this is not enough. They want to do something. They want to be proactive and show concretely their affection for the tub.

    Over the years we tried vegetable base detergents, non-oil oils and ecologic cleaners.
    They were sticky or just meaningless and we continued to recommend just - pure love - to take care of the tub.

    But yes, we finally found a product we can recommend for cleaning and rehidratating the wood. It is an oil base product from the same line as the ones used for aromatherapy.

    See our product page for specific information and use instructions.

    Japanese people do not use hiba oil for clenaning wooden bathtubs but it has amazing applications in our everyday life. Here below are some detailed information about Hiba oil:


    1. MEDICAL:
    Hiba oil is used to prevent nosocomial infections, especially those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
    It is also used to treat eczema (atopic dermatitis).

    2. SANITARY:
    Hiba oil is used together with Squalane (a natural moisturizing factor) in soap and shampoos particularly indicated for delicate skins.
    Hiba water (a byproduct of the distillation of hiba oil) is used as a fragrance in bathing salts.

    Hiba oil is used to prevent plant diseases originated by mold (wood moulder disease, root rot disease etc.).
    In apiculture is used with good reasult to prevent and fight chalk disease (Ascospharera apis)

    Hiba oil is used for conservation of fresh (not frozen) melon, strawberry, mushrooms.
    It is also used as a natural flavouring agent for candies and other foods.


    It prevents conditions for the development of mold and fungi.
    Hiba oil has a wide spectrum of action against many different families of bacteria and is especially effective to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


    Hiba oil has a proven relaxative qualities. Stress relief has been laboratory tested on Guinea pigs.

    Hiba oil has an insecticidal action against thermites and cockroaches. It is also used as an insect repellent against fleas and mites.

    Hiba oil smoothes strong smells.
    It is specially effective against smells originated by body activity (ammonia, aminoacid base).


    08.06.21 * hinoki lumber for surrey

    We were requested to supply hinoki timber (rough saw cut) to be used by the local joinery to build doors and furniture. At first we offered a quote in cultivated hinoki from Yoshino (Nara Prefecture).
    But - HEY! - the client required all the wood to be quarter sawn to match the coordinated bathtub color and grain.

    We checked our stock and asked all our dealers and acquaintances but it is difficult to obtain such quantity of natural timber of such quality and knotless on 4 sides...!

    Finally we agreed on a smart solution. We were provided a detailed order of all the small pieces and parts needed for construction. This allowed us to better optimize small cuts we had and to be able to offer better lumber for a much - much lower cost.
    Each piece was marked with a number which refers to a detailed list and to the drawings.

    It was hard work, but when the reasult is so satisfactory, we forget all the fatigue.


    08.04.01 * Wood bath-tub installed in Prague

    hinoki ofuro

    Our client was so kind to send us the photo of installed asnaro bathtub so we are glad to publish it here!
    The asnaro wood paneling creates a warm atmosphere, a kind of "other world", a natural corner.

    I am sure here you can forget the cold of central european winters and re-energize body and mind...

    I think the local contractor made a great job and the spout was partially recessed inside the wall as planned. Afterall no matter how our cultures may be different, working with wood and loving wood is definately a common heritage.


    08.03.18 * wabi sabi (II) - tub setting

    The tub has been mounted, around is a wide hinoki duckboard.
    The stone floor, the ceiling beams...
    I can see everywhere passionate details and feel a magic atmosphere...
    I am really overwhelmed by the emotions looking at these pictures.
    It is central Italy but really feels like Edo period Japan. This is not just because the materials are original, but because the spirit, the concept of the project is authentic.

    In the end, when man respects nature and put care and love in his acts, even different cultures touch and become one. I am sure that people entering in this ofuro will understand something more of the real essence of humanity.


    08.03.18 * wabi sabi (I) - arrival

    These are pictures kindly provided by the client.
    A rural house in central Italy has been remodeled into a japanese culture center.
    Watch up for more details at this link:

    The heavy tub is being unloaded on site.


    08.02.29 * packing the tub

    Here we are packaging a tub to be shipped by ocean freight.

    * One layer of polyethylene sheet to prevent dehidratation and dirt.
    * Solid veneer construction for the custom crate to avoid the need for fumigation or (time consuming) custom inspections/quarantine.

    Luckily we did not have any problem or damage claim at all so far.


    08.02.13 * cutting the planks

    wood tub building ofuro making
    japanese bath wood Preparing the material for a new tub going to NY.
    These are asnaro planks. The top kamachi border will be 100x60.

    07.12.20 * lifting the tub

    Japanese bath

    The tub going to paris is ready to be packaged and shipped.
    It is a really nice tub, I am almost sorry to see it go...


    07.12.05 * massive asnaro lumber

    We are now working on a large asnaro tub with a 260mm wide border!
    Commonly, large top frame borders like in your case are done laminaing 2
    planks, anyway we had a beautiful piece of asnaro in the warehouse, so the frame will be done
    in one piece!

    It was probably ment to be a cut for a beam or daikoku-bashira (main column) but at present there are not many chances to use expensive wood even for temples or shrines...

    The lumber was 360x360 straight cut! This means that the 1/3 central segment of the tree was almost half meter square at the base. The tree had probably a diameter of 1200 to 1500mm !!
    We could get our kamachi in one piece and also most of the planks for the sides from the same piece. This means the tub is going to be all straight cut!

    Please do not ask us to provide such lumber for your project. This stroke of luck does not happen more than once a year...


    07.09.02 * lumber for a tub

    It is amazing how much lumber you need to build a wooden tub!


    07.08.13 * blog introduction

    hajimemasite - nice to meet you.

    It was a long time we wanted to start this blog but always had other priorities for the day...
    Anyway, in these pages we would like to convey you the passion of our craftsmen, the warmth of the wood. We enjoy our work and are starting to feel a little guilty if we keep all this for ourselves... So find here some pictures and some comments (when we have the time to post).

    For all who do not know, "daiku" is the carpenter, the meister in wood-working.
    This blog is not a sophisticated one, you will find here sawdust, sweat and all our smiles!

    Note that this is a rare photo I managed to take with Mr. Ikeda and Mr. Kondo.
    They are always busy and never stop. When we get a chance to sit down, we chat drinking tea, so I never manage to take an official photo of us to put in the company profile...

    Add a tentative group shipping schedule

    join the japanese bath lovers FB page

    Solution Graphics

    japanese ofuro bathtubs, tatami, shoji screens, hot tub spa