Every countryside home needs a riverside rotenburo, but will it be the tub of dreams?

It’s been over a year since we purchased a super-cheap house in the Japanese countryside for just US$9,100, and in that time everyone on our team has been coming up with great ideas to improve the run-down two-storey building.

For our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma, the place just wouldn’t be complete without an outdoor bath, and when he floated the idea with us, we all immediately agreed, imagining ourselves unwinding with sunset skinny dips, sake in hand.

▼ Masanuki brings a bagful of ideas to the SoraHouse.

Like the rest of us, Masanuki is on a tight budget, so he had to get creative with his bath plans. Currently, the house has no running water or electricity, but the plot of land the house sits on does have its own river, so Masanuki headed down there to get started on the outdoor bath, or “rotenburo” as they’re called in Japan.

Before he got to work, Masanuki decided to energise himself with a spot of takigyo, or Japanese waterfall meditation, which he’d tried at a temple a couple of years ago.

Masanuki was clearly out of practice wth it, struggling to catch his breath under the cold water.

Masanuki was now freezing and in need of a hot bath, so he made his way out of the waterfall and over to the pile of items he’d brought with him.

Masanuki had a budget of 10,000 yen (US$69.87) to spend on his bath project, and when we followed him over to his collection of goods, we found he’d spent the money on a bucket, a portable gas stove, a used pot, and a whole heap of gas cannisters.

As we were just about to ask Masanuki where the bath component of the bath actually was, he hushed us with a finger, and produced…the lowest-rated portable bathtub from Amazon Japan!

As loyal readers will know, Masanuki purchased this portable bathtub earlier this year, taking it for a trial dip in the middle of the office. He’s been looking at it stashed away next to his desk ever since, wondering what it would be like to take it for an outdoor dip, and now he was keen to find out if it really would be as relaxing and as blissful as he imagined.

After putting it together, Masanuki sat the tub by the river and began to fill it with water, using the blue bucket he’d brought with him.

The more he filled it with water, the bigger the shoe got, until it was finally at the perfect level for a soak.

Masanuki stepped into the shoe and closed his eyes, ready for waves of relaxation to wash over him.

▼ “Gaaaahhh!”

▼ “Too…cold!”

Rotenburo are generally meant to be hot not cold, so Masanuki hopped out to light his gas stove and heat up a pot of river water.

Masanuki figured he might be on to a good thing here — if he could just add a little bit of hot water to take the chill out of the water in his shoe, this might actually turn out to be an enjoyable soak in nature.

He added some boiling hot water to the mix, and blended it with a little more river water to avoid burning his buttocks…

▼…here goes!

▼ Slipping gingerly into the shoe, Masanuki felt that this was definitely the right fit.

▼ In fact, it was perfect!

Surrounded by mountains, trees, and the sound of the nearby waterfall, this was a lush riverside location people would spend good money to enjoy. Masanuki leant back and felt like he was in heaven.

We’d initially scoffed at the sight of Masanuki’s shoe-shaped portable bathtub, but now look who’s laughing.

We should never have doubted him, and because he’s a nice guy, Masanuki says we can borrow his shoe-shaped bathtub anytime we need a riverside break from the renovations.

Judging by all the weed clearing, scrap selling, and ghost hunting we still have to do, we’re guessing we’ll be making good use of the portable bathtub in the coming months. Thanks, Masanuki!

Photos ©SoraNews24
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