High/Low: The Japanese Wooden Bath Bucket

Here at The Organized Home, we all dream of installing a Japanese-style spa bath with a deep wooden soaking tub. And while this is likely to remain a fantasy for most of us, one of the key Japanese bathing ritual accessories, the copper-ringed wooden bucket, turns out to be within reach. We’ve long admired the real thing made of hinoki, a lemon-scented cypress wood grown only in Japan. And we recently happened upon a surprise lookalike that hails from Ohio.

Pamela Shamshiri Japanese bathroom in LA, via Rizzoli, The Perfect Bath by Barbara Sallick.
Above: At home in LA, architect Pamela Shamshiri has a Japanese soaking tub with a traditional hinoki stool and wash bucket at its side. Photograph from The Perfect Bath by Barbara Sallick, courtesy of Rizzoli. See Expert Advice: How to Create the Perfect Bath.

The buckets are used to rinse the body after soaping and scrubbing, but they also make great soap and shampoo caddies. Beyond the bath, they can take on other roles, including that of fruit bowl. (In Japan hinoki boxes are used for making tofu.)


Hinoki bath bucket by Kiso Lifestyle Labo from Nalata Nalata.
Above: The Hinoki Copper Bath Bucket, $100, from Nalata Nalata in NYC. (Made by Kiso Labo of Kiso, Japan, the same Bath Bowl is also available from Mjölk in Toronto.) It’s 9 inches wide and 4 inches tall and watertight. UK readers, Native & Co. sells a top-of-the-line Hinoki Bath Bowl for £85.
In addition to its lovely scent, hinoki has a silky smooth finish and is naturally mold- and mildew-resistant.


Hinoki bathtub bucket from Hinoki Japan via Amazon.
Above: The Hinoki Oke Pure Wood Bathtub Bucket comes in two sizes—the 8.25-inch size is $62.35 and the 9.45-inch size is $64 from Hinoki Japan via Amazon.


Old-fashioned oak bucket from Lehman's, Ohio.
Above: Located in Amish country Ohio, farm tool specialists Lehman’s offers Old-Fashioned Wooden Buckets of oak with brass rings in four sizes, starting at $29.95 for the 1 quart size. Note that only the bees-wax-lined versions are watertight. Lehman’s also sells a wooden Shoulder Yoke, $159.99, for hauling a pair of buckets.
And if you love the look of hinoki, you can go beyond the bucket and source all sorts of accessories, including Hinoki Wood Stools, Hinoki Bath Mats, Hinoki Tissue Box Covers, and Hinoki Soap Dishes.

Go to High/Low Design for more of our discoveries.

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