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Common Features of a Traditional Japanese Home

Chances are, you have probably seen an authentic Japanese film, television show, or at least one that is set on a Japanese home. Even Hollywood movies or shows feature Japanese homes. And you may have noticed the unique certain commonalities among them. Let’s discuss what these typical themes are.

Sliding doors

Sliding doors are very common among Japanese homes. This can be traced back to the olden times when the ancient Japanese used partition screens to isolate big rooms from other rooms. The partitions originally were fixed into the homes’ walls, but because it was inconvenient, grooves were added making them sliding instead. And these sliding doors are what you often see even among modern Japanese homes nowadays. The Japanese term shoji is what they used to call the fixed partitions separating the rooms, but now the term is used to refer to the sliding doors that consist of little squares of paper that are affixed to wood lattices. The squares, often white are translucent enough for soft light to seep through, resulting to in-home beauty that’s both function and style.

Floor mats

Tatami is what the Japanese use to refer to the mats laid down on their floors. In the past, tatami mats were only used exclusively for sitting on, so they were just limited in number. But nowadays, tatami mats now entirely cover the floors of the rooms. This practice actually stemmed from the cushions being sat on by monks at the Buddhist temples, referred to as enza. The result is a square-type cushion called zabuton, which was first made from exquisite cloth, and has now evolved to its modern day form, during the 1600s to 1800s, where cushion was then attached to the cloth.

Dining Japanese style

During the olden times, when people ate their meals, they ate separately on boxed trays known as the bento. But during the dawn of the Meiji era, at the time when Chinese and Western cuisines came into Japan, people started to gather and eat together. But instead of using chairs, tatami mats were also used, and the dining tables had shorter legs so that it can be used while sitting down. This unique and popular Japanese style dining can also be found even in authentic Japanese restaurants these modern days.

Living room

For the traditional Japanese home, the living room is also where the family usually eats together. It is considered the center and focal point of the home. You can also notice the presence of a special cabinet, they call chadansu, that houses the bowls, plates, and other utensils they use for dining. The chadansu used to carry special tea ceremony utensils but it was later on used to store other utensils as well.

It can be very cold during winter season in Japan, and in order to help the family warm up, they may use of kotatsu, which is a heated table, found in their living slash dining room. The origin of the kotatsu can be traced back to the middle ages, which originated from Zen Buddhist temples. During the past, coal were used to heat up the kotatsu, but during these modern times, the kotatsu now uses electricity to heat up. To enclose the heat, kotatsus are shielded by futon, and then placed under the board of the table.

These are some of the more common Japanese home features. If you’re interested in learning more about Japanese style homes and fixtures, you can get your ideas, ornaments, decors and favors from Japanese Style, home of authentic Japanese products and related items. Browse our collection at Japanese Style today!