The history of the wood soaking tub in Japan stretches back to ancient times: it's only (relatively) recently that the eastern ritual has caught on in the western world.
The ofuro, a traditional Japanese soaking tub, is a straight-sided tub deep enough to immerse a human in hot water. Traditional ofuro are made from Hinoki wood, a cypress found only in Japan, prized for its piney scent, anti-bacterial qualities, and longevity. Create a similar sanctuary using the following sources (for accoutrements, consult Hinoki Wood Bath Accessories).
Above: The serene bathrooms in the Galerie Sofie Lachaert bed-and-breakfast in Tielrode, Belgium, feature elliptical Japanese ofuros.
Above: This Hinoki Elliptical Ofuro, by Alaska-based Sea Otter Woodworks, is made from cedar and hinoki; prices start at $4,050.
Above: Founded by Italian architect Iacopo Torrini, Tokyo-based Bartok Designs produces custom tubs and ships worldwide.
Above: A rectangular ofuro crafted from knotty hinoki by Bartok Designs.
Above: The Rectangular Hinoki Bath by Oxfordshire-based Indigenous Tiles is available with either straight or sloped ends.
N.B. This post is an update, the original post ran on July 2, 2009.