Traditional Japanese Houses: Everything You Need to Know and More!
Everything in Japan seems interesting when we observe it and come to know the details.
Traditional Japanese houses are really interesting and look very beautiful.
The construction and architecture of these houses show that life is very much linked to nature.
There are a lot of peculiarities that we can observe once we enter a Japanese house.
Genkan and the Doma
The “genkan” is the entrance of a Japanese house.
As we cross the genkan, we can see a place where shoes are kept or a rack for shoes to be arranged on.
This area is called the “doma” which is at the same level of the ground while the rest of the house is lifted a bit.
In ancient Japan, the area of the doma was larger.
Along with keeping your shoes and footwear, the doma was also used as a place where housewives sit to grill food or do other household chores.
In those days, the doma area was not concrete but was the bare ground itself.
Once we proceed inside the house, we can see the Japanese style rooms with wooden pillars and doors called “washitsu.”
The “tatami” is a rush-covered straw mat used inside the washitsu to cover the floor and is one of the most important peculiarities and attractions of every Japanese style house.
These mats do not only provide beauty to the houses, but also help in keeping the room warm during the cold winter days in Japan.
Usually, people use special floor cushions called “zabuton” for sitting on these mats.
The size of Japanese style rooms is measured by the number of tatami mats used to cover the floor area of a room.
Fusuma and Shoji
Another important and notable peculiarity of the houses in Japan is the sliding doors.
Mostly, sliding doors are installed as connecting walls and they are called “fusuma.”
Its borders are made of wood and its body of plywood and paper that sometimes has beautiful paintings done on it.
Another type of sliding door with paper and wooden borders is called “shoji.”
Some of these doors have portions made of glass instead of paper.
During winter, people can watch the snow outside while staying indoors through this door.
These doors also allow light to pass from one room to another so the presence of people in the nearby room is felt.
Since these sliding doors can slide over one another, they are placed in special grooves.
They all can be removed to extend the area of a room during special occasions and family gatherings.
In front of the windows, commonly outside, you can find a wooden strip of flooring that is called “engawa.”
The sunlight will always fall in this portion of the house to keep the floor warmer.