What is a Japanese Bathroom?
A standard Japanese bathroom is divided by a wall with a door that separates
the dry changing and toweling area from the washing area.
The washing area has a place where you sit on a small stool, wash, soap
up and rise, and after that get into a hot bath and soak. It may
also allow the use of a shower. There is enough room in the wet room
for a parent and child to bath together and that is quite normal to do.
The bath tubs have a water reheating facility that can heat up cold water
to boiling. These is also a plastic foldaway cover over the tub to retain heat when not being used.
This is quite different from a western style bathroom that is based
around the shower or shallow bath tub, and the concept that you don't
splash water around the bathroom. The water in a standard tub goes cold
and can not be reheated.
The traditional look of wooden bath, stools and ladles is not part of
the everyday Japanese bathroom, even if that is what accessory stores carry.
A practical Japanese Bathroom
Early sketches of bathroom layout.
The approach taken was to effectively put a spa bath into the shower
unit. Custom shower screens effectively allow you to divide the bathroom
into wet and dry areas.
It is possibly to get an actual Acrylic or GRP Japanese style bathtub
in Australia, but the solution to reheating the water is not trivial. The
real solution to the bath tub design issue came with the discovery of a
suitable spa bath tub.
An Australian manufacturer of spa baths, stylus Bathroom & Kitchen Solutions Pty Ltd , had a Japanese inspired spa called the Fuji Spa Bath. It was purchased through Hardware & General Supplies Limited, Brookvale.
This has the depth required and the
facility to reheat the water. It effectively has a seat in one half, so
that it does not need as much water to fill and you sit in it quite upright.
The depth of the spa, and level of the connecting sew pipes meant that
the bath could not be sunk into the bathroom floor as you would expect
to do if you were building the bathroom from scratch.
The steps into the tub serve as seats and remove the need for additional
small stools, but the steps are wide enough to fit standard stools too
The steps, hob (that little wall the show door sits on) and spa support
are made of cut concrete blocks and covered with a non slip tile.
made shower screen and doors by EZY~Glide Show Screens Pty Ltd Arncliffe, separate the washing are from the smaller
dry area. Ended up using a split door for clearance reasons.
A GROHE removable shower head with a long hose and adjustable height
allows a western style shower, as well as convenient rinsing during a Japanese
The dry area has a toilet, small sink with storage and a mirror and a towel hanger.
These items were purchased from Harvey Norman Hardware Balgowlah.
The Tiles and, under floor heating in the dry area were obtained from Tilecraft Northern Beaches, Mona Vale.
Selecting a Builder
It is one thing to design this, but it was another to get someone to actually build what we
wanted. To that end we ended up selecting Unique Bathrooms (Sydney)
, who completed
the job in what seemed like no time at all.
A book that may be useful:
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