sumi-e from a friend

SKMBT_C45012040509510 - Kopie (2)

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.

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!


about importer security filing

That price is definitely better in case of ocean freight. But, I wonder how difficult that importer security form is? What is the process and potential pitfalls if any?

Since 2009 the US customs require the importer (the customer) to fill in an “Importer security file”. This is applicable only to ocean freight (so shipments by air do not require it.)
The importer security for is quite bureaucratic and time consuming.
You have to submit before the shipment leaves the port of origin otherwise there is the risk (theoretical) that your shipment may be destroyed and you may be billed for the disposal of it…
But there is no pitfall, and the staff from our forwarder will help you.
Please find more information here:


Here are the specs:
Model/material: japanese Knotless sawara wood round bathtub
Sizes: dia 1270 mm (50″) x H630mm (int. dim.) – 740 mm high
Options: Additional cost of over flow drain (remove flexible hose)
Accessories: Sawara wood covers with handles
Set C accessories (ladle with handle, large bucket, and stool)

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…

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.

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!

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

the optimal depth of an ofuro

Hi, I have been admiring the products in your website.
I have one question:
-When I measure my partner’s body, from her seat to just-above shoulder height measures 24″. Including a small seat in the tub (say, 8″H), brings the interior dimension of the tub to 32″H. It seems that in order for her to soak without slouching her posture, the depth of the water would have to be at least 32″H. Therefore I imagine the exterior measurement (including feet or supporting slats) would bring the tub to around 34″H. Yet the deepest (standard) tub I see in your listings measures 690mm H, which is about 27 inches.
Can you please explain why the depth is as you have listed, and not greater, per the above situation. My partner is about 5′-6″, so she is about average height.
Thank you.
I will look forward to your reply.

Usually, the full immersion “up to the shoulders” bath is done sitting on the bottom of the tub (so to say, without seat)
Actually traditional japanese bathtubs do not have a seat.
The seat is used for a “half body bath”, for reading while in the tub or to get a pause from the full depth bath (when you feel too hot)
To have the full bath, you can sit in the tub on the opposite side of the seat . Alternatively, you can remove the seat plank.

Also consider that when you relax in the tub, rather than keeping a 90 degrees sitting posture, it is easier to slide a little forward until the feet touch the other side. (This is also why the tub should be not too long) In this case the shoulder line lowers a few inches.

We can make extra deep tubs (some examples in the custom tubs section), but the disadvantage are:
– increased specs to contain the extra water pressure (and therefore increased cost)
– you will need some steps to climb to enter and egress easily (or recess the tub in the floor)
– you will need more hot water each time.

weight of ofuro and floor heating

Hi, I read that you need 2-3 people to lift the tub. Can you give me some idea of the approximate weight?
The other point I’m worried about is the dryness …my bathroom has both underfloor heating and heated towel rail!!

Please note:
Gross weght: 130 kg (including plywood box)
Net weight: 90 kg (tub only)
(NOTE: this is in case of L1400mm x W750mm x H700mm tub)

Heating in the bathroom can damage your tub.
This can be solved by keeping water in the tub at all times (during the heating season).
Cover the tub to avoid condensation and mold in the bathroom.
The tub may get some stain also, but the hydro-repellent treatment we apply makes it easy to clean.
We cannot make a clear statement for your situation (recommend or not recommend): you have to consider the options and the risk involved.

About Bartok Design

Bartok Design is based in Japan and exports hinoki ofuro (Japanese wooden bathtubs) all over the world. We sell directly from maker to end-user, and have delivered over 300 units since 2003.



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Iacopo Torrini in Kobe, 兵庫県, JP on Houzz

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