japanese bathroom design

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The Art of the Japanese Bath Jutakutokushu 0 10 October, 2012 House in Asamayamaby Kidosaki Architects StudioWe recently featured this residence in Nagano Prefecture with an exceptional view of Mt. Asama from the living room. The client also wished to gaze at the mountain while bathing. The bathtub is positioned at an angle so that – when laying in the tub – the view is aligned with the peak of the mountain. Kasahara House in Karuizawaby Ken Yokogawa Architect AssociatesSituated in Nagano Prefecture across from Mt. Asama, this weekend house has a bathroom attached to the master bedroom. This private room is situated on the lower level along the hill. The wall on northwest is fully glazed and screened by the forest. There are two bathtubs in the room: one made of cypress while the other is dug in the black-granite-clad floor. Villa M in Fujizakuraby Ken Yokogawa Architect & AssociatesThis weekend house in Yamanashi Prefecture has an outdoor bath connected to the main building by a bridge. The architect was inspired by the clients’ son’s love for baths – he was only an elementary school student at the time – to create this hexagonal bath made of black granite with a wooden canopy. Cliff Houseby Yoshifumi NakamuraPerched atop the cliff in Kanagawa Prefecture, this bathroom occupies southwest corner facing Mt. Fuji. The custom-order Japanese umbrella pine bathtub sits quaintly in the middle of the space. Lemm Hutby Yoshifumi NakamuraThe architect designed this small hut in the rural area in Nagano as his weekend house. The self-sustaining hut has a bath house with goemon-style tub. The water in this cast-iron tub is directly heated by a fire below. Since the bottom of the tub is very hot, the bather would sit on a wooden deck, which hangs on the wall in the above photo. White Hut and Tilia Japonicaby Takahashi Maki and AssociatesWe recently featured this small house – nominated for the 28th annual Shinkenchiku Award– located by a park in a residential neighborhood in Saitama Prefecture. The top floor of the 58 m2 (624 ft2) house is dedicated to a bathroom. The bathtub is positioned in the middle of the floor, and the person taking a bath can gaze at the sky through the roof trusses or hear the activity in the adjacent park. Sky Garden Houseby Keiji Ashizawa DesignThis house for a young family and their parents is located in a residential neighborhood in Tokyo. The bathroom is located beneath the ground, along the sloping street. The enclosed space receives natural light from a top light, which gives the dark-grey-tile-clad room an austere atmosphere. Dual Houseby Kohmura Kenichi / Ken-ArchitectsThe two bathrooms of this house – located in a residential neighborhood in Tokyo – have distinct characters. One faces a park on the west and the other faces the adjacent bamboo grove to the east. The sloped ceiling of the east side bathroom is clad with bamboo reflecting its surroundings. Earth, Wind & Sunshineby Akira Hikone / A. H. ArchitectsThe bathroom of this residence faces its inner courtyard. In the summer, cool breeze blows over the pond outside. House in Yamasakiby Yo ShimadaLocated in a valley in Hyogo Prefecture that has many cloudy days throughout the year, the bathroom of this residence is covered by a double layer of translucent polycarbonate sheets. The light-filled white space is enlivened by fluorescent orange shower curtain and a brightly colored acrylic step. The room below receives sunlight through the stairway. Soft and Hairy Houseby Ushida FindlayThis bathroom is enclosed in a small round pod. Dotted by circular windows, the organic womb-like environment makes bathing inside an otherworldly experience. House in Karuizawaby Yasushi Horibe Architect & AssociatesDark stone and light pine boards contrast to give this leafy outdoor bathroom a calming atmosphere for this weekend house in Karuizawa. House in Shioyaby Mitsumasa Sadakata / uemachi laboratoryLight is filtered through timber slats covering the ceiling and glazing offering privacy and texture. When the window is open, there’s an unobstructed view to the Seto Inland Sea. House in Monzenby Satoshi Okada architectsA hidden skylight provides light to this bath with a private zen-like view of a solitary Japanese maple. House in Ichiharaby Yasushi Horibe Architect & AssociatesThis very compact bathroom is lined in thin tiles. The small, yet deep, wooden bath looks into a small courtyard. Floating House between Sea and Forestby Eiji Ueno / Oak VillageSliding glass doors slide open to reveal the corner of this home to the garden, and the bath can be used as rotenburo, traditional Japanese open-air bath. Lakeside Houseby Kidosaki Architects StudioWood is a common feature in Japanese baths. The generous wet room is lined in hinoki wood which naturally resists rot and mold.An outdoor bath is called a rotenburo in Japanese. This one is enclosed in its own small precinct by a wooden fence. Bathers can stare up at the pine trees as they have a soak. House in Machikaneyamaby Kita ChikaraThis bath and shower is located in a terrace. The double-layered glass skylight can be open, making it feel like an outdoor extension of the en suite bathroom. Photography Shinkenchiku-sha Tags baths, bathtubs, bathrooms, wood, glass, nature
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While it’s not uncommon to think of a bathroom space in the home as a place that is visited only briefly, the Japanese have a different take on this room. In Japanese culture, a bathroom is a space for rest and rejuvenation as much as it is for cleanliness.  Because it’s a space that is lingered in, a Japanese-style bathroom is built for enjoying, and not simply efficiency.
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The beauty in a Japanese-style bathroom is found in the delicate details that are incorporated. Japan is an island and as a result, Japanese culture is saturated in dedications and references to the power of water. Many Japanese bathrooms incorporate water or waterfall effects in some form. For example, a small stone fountain on a bathroom countertop not only creates a pleasing and natural visual effect, but incorporates natural sound into your relaxing environment.
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The en suite on the third floor isn’t your typical bathroom. ‘We wanted to create a Japanese-style space,’ says Chris. ‘Cedar is a great wood for Japanese baths, so we decided to use it in here for the basin, bath, floor and panelling.’ The bath is smaller and deeper than an ordinary bath, with the idea that you dunk yourself into the deep, hot water, and then step out into a cold shower.
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Much like a Japanese garden, a Japanese style bathroom must be built with nature in mind. Utilizing greenery such as bamboo plants or mossy potted plants is a key element to creating the feeling that the peaceful natural world can exist within your walls.  Placement of these plants is just as essential. Make sure that bamboo plants or potted moss is lined up in pleasing, lines that don’t overwhelm the senses.
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There are three common design elements to virtually every Japanese bath: a deep tub used solely for soaking, an “on-demand” water heater, and a separate compartment for the toilet. Indeed, for the Japanese, placing a toilet in the same room as the bathtub would be as disgusting as lathering off grime in the furo.
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Don’t forget to bring bamboo into your décor wherever possible, but with a clear purpose. Whether it’s bamboo floors, trim or plants, it’s a feature worth investing in. Bamboo is going to seamlessly incorporate a natural feel with the moisture resistance a bathroom requires to stand up under general use. Similarly, it’s one of the world’s most renewable resources, which means your Japanese-style bathroom not only provides Zen, but works side by side with nature.
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Is your bathroom a Zen and tranquil space? If not, consider following this guide to achieve a Japanese-style bathroom.  It’s guaranteed to add a calm, relaxing element to your busy home.
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The bathroom sits underneath the sleeping loft, behind the kitchen. The owner wanted a Japanese-style soaking tub, which reminds her of her childhood bathing routine, and this compact model worked perfectly in the little bathroom. A showerhead above allows the bath to double as a shower.
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While Americans are used to the inefficiency of keeping a big tank of water hot night and day, the Japanese (along with many Europeans) have long employed on-demand hot water systems, which heat the water only when it’s needed. You might expect such a system to provide only a tepid shower, but it’s quite effective; the Japanese like their water hot, and they simply wouldn’t tolerate lukewarm showers or baths.
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This is what most of us would think of when we imagine a Japanese bathroom design and this is one template that everyone can try and replicate, despite being handicapped by limited space. Black granite backdrop, pristine white oval bathtub and gray stone pebbles that add a touch of authenticity make it picture-perfect.
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As germ theory became accepted at the end of the 19th century, the bathroom became a hospital room, with fixtures of porcelain and lined with tile or marble. These materials are expensive; as the bathroom became mainstream and accessible to all classes, it got smaller. The plumbers lined everything up in a row to use less pipe. By about 1910 the bathroom is pretty much indistinguishable from the ones built today.

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