In Japan, the tradition of soaking in hot water goes back centuries, and the practice of bathing in a Japanese ofuro is quite different from the Western concept of the hot tub.
For anyone who wants to build a Japanese ofuro and enjoy Japanese-style soaking in the comfort of their home, we’ve had a look at what other people have been doing – and as a result, here are our favorite 17 DIY ofuro tub plans you might like to try recreating yourself.
1. How to Build a One Person Hot Tub – MOTHER EARTH NEWS
If you’ve heard of Japanese ofuro tubs and want to find out more about the concept, this post would be a great place to start. It tells you all about the tradition of Japanese bathing and explains how to use an ofuro when you get the chance. If you then decide you want to have a go at building one yourself, it also has a tutorial to teach you how to do it, so with just a little effort, you can look forward to Japanese-style bathing without needing to travel to the Far East.
2. Making a Cedar Hot Tub
The tub in this video isn’t specifically meant to be a traditional Japanese ofuro, but it is deep enough to give you a similar full-immersion experience, so it can be used in much the same way. However, at the same time, it’s also large enough to accommodate more than one person at a time, allowing you to combine Japanese- and Western-style bathing in the same tub. Sound like something you might be interested in building? Then check out the tutorial to see how it’s done!
3. DIY Japanese Soaking Tub Made from Recycled Lumber!
Building a Japanese ofuro doesn’t need to cost you a fortune, as this video proves. In it, you’ll see how this YouTuber builds a cute and functional version mainly from recycled lumber. That alone reduces the cost significantly, and if you want to try making something similar, this video will teach you how to do it.
4. Japanese Soaking Tubs 101 – DoItYourself.com
Rather than teaching you how to make a specific design of ofuro, this post explains the basics of Japanese soaking tubs – as you can probably guess from the title. It tells you about the different types that exist and gives you advice about building one in your home, allowing you to ensure you choose the right ofuro project for your needs.
5. DIY Japanese Soaking Tub from Bryce & Katie
For those who want to have access to the ofuro experience but who don’t have that much available space, this is a video that’s worth a watch – since the ofuro these YouTubers make is of a particularly diminutive size. It’s just about big enough for one person to immerse themselves in, but it’s extremely easy to make, so if you’re looking for a plan for a compact ofuro that anyone can build, this is the one for you.
6. DIY Concrete Ofuro (Japanese Soaking Tub) – Curbly
Here’s an example of a different style of ofuro – because this version was made from poured concrete. Working with concrete might seem a little intimidating at first if you’ve never tried it before, but it’s not as difficult as you might imagine. This post shows what can be achieved with it too, so check it out and see if it’s something you might like to try.
7. Woodworking – How to Make a Wooden Bathtub
If you’re not too worried about having a 100% authentic and traditional ofuro in your home but would like something that can give you a similar bathing and soaking experience, this is a video that should be of interest. In it, you’ll see how these YouTubers made a beautiful round ofuro-style hot tub from cedarwood. It might not quite be the real thing, but most people will still enjoy soaking in something like it, making it another video that’s well worth a watch.
8. How to Build a Japanese Soaking Tub – Hunker
In this post, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to building your own Japanese soaking tub. It gives you a brief introduction to the concept before discussing choosing the style and material you’re going to use. It then goes on to give you all the info you’ll need to get started on your project, making this a valuable resource for anyone who wants to try.
9. Cedar Hot Tub from Nancy Quan Builds
Here’s a plan that impressed us a lot. In this video, this YouTuber shows us how she built a high-quality soaking tub from cedarwood, and it looks so professional you’d never guess it was a DIY job. It’s not an authentic Japanese ofuro, but it’s quite a similar design – and since she did such an impressive job of it, we thought it was worth a place in our list all the same.
10. Japanese Style Hot Tub Build from Jaz Creations
For keen amateur woodworkers who are interested in the carpentry side of building an ofuro, this video will be of interest. In it, this skilled YouTuber demonstrates how he made a Japanese-style hot tub from wood, and it’s a design we liked a lot. We’re sure we won’t be the only ones either, so give his video a watch and see what you think.
11. Rubbermaid Propane Heated Soaking Hot Tub (Ofuro Tub) – Instructables
Whenever we need a plan for a DIY project, the Instructables site rarely lets us down – and here’s another great addition to their collection. In it, you’ll learn how to make a propane-heated ofuro, and like all the plans on the site, this is a well-written tutorial that gives you all the details you’ll need to recreate the design at home.
12. How to Make a Wooden Bathtub Using Yoshino Cedar from Okeya Kondo
If you’re interested in seeing how the real thing is made, this is a video you’ll love – because in it, you’ll get to see an ofuro being constructed in Japan. Unfortunately, the subtitles are in Japanese, but it’s still fascinating to watch, even if you can’t read them. Then, once you’ve seen how it’s done, you might be tempted to have a go yourself.
13. Build a Rustic Cedar Hot Tub for Under $1,000 – Make
Building a high-quality hot tub is likely to set you back a fair bit of cash, but by DIYing it, you’re still going to save a whole lot of money compared to buying one and having it installed. The tub in this post will cost around $1000, which probably represents a saving of several thousand bucks. It’s not a traditional ofuro, but it’s very similar – so if that’s the kind of thing you want, it might be the idea you’re looking for.
14. Western Red Cedar Hot Tub Construction
In this video, we get to see a group of professionals building a cedar hot tub that’s not too dissimilar to a traditional Japanese tub. It might not teach you exactly how to build one of your own, but it should give you some ideas about what’s possible, and that should help you decide which kind of tub to build in your yard when the time comes.
15. How to Build a Wooden Hot Tub (DIY) – Wooden SPA Solutions
Although this post doesn’t teach you how to build a traditional Japanese ofuro, it still has plenty of useful information about building a deep, round hot tub, so anyone thinking of building an ofuro will do well to check it out. The parts that deal with buying and working with the wood are especially useful, and for that alone, this post is a recommended read.
16. Building a Japanese Soaking Tub – The Ultimate Spa Experience
Here’s an example of an ambitious project to build a Japanese soaking tub outside. In the video, the YouTuber explains a little about the difference between a regular tub and a Japanese-style one before giving further details about how this one was built. It might not be a detailed plan you can copy, but it still contains plenty of useful info, making it another video that’s work a look.
17. Teak Wood Hot Tub Construction
To finish, here’s one more video showing you how to build the kind of tub that resembles an ofuro, even if it isn’t completely true to the original Japanese design. Any tall soaking tub that gives you the possibility of immersing yourself up to the neck will allow you to enjoy something of the ofuro experience, and if you’re more interested in savoring your soak than emulating true Japanese culture, this is another idea that should appeal.
Plenty of ideas for building Japanese-style soaking tubs
As you can see, there’s no shortage online of plans that will allow you to enjoy a Japanese-style soaking experience, whether it’s in an authentic ofuro tub or in a tub that simply shares many of the same design features.
We’ve enjoyed collecting these plans, so we hope you’ve enjoyed reading and watching them all too. And above all, we hope we’ve helped you find the ideas you needed for building a DIY Japanese ofuro of your own.