2022.04.14 UpDate


The Four Elements of Traditional Japanese Houses

Japan, a country famous for its rich history and unique dishes, is also well known for it’s eye-catching architecture. Traditional Japanese houses’ designs are mostly prevalent in the smaller and rural towns. Forget shrines and temples, I am talking about people’s homes! On this blog post, we are going to discuss four elements that make Japanese housing designs stand out and say, “hey!”” Welcome to Japan!”

  1. Sliding Doors & Screens

Traditional Japanese houses rarely have doors that open back/forward.  Most of the times, sliding doors are used to separate the rooms. Some of the sliding doors also have screens on them depending on the design. The screens also tend to be light and made of soft paper. This type of reflection allows the sunlight to enter. This type of design has also become quite popular in the western world when people go for a Japanese style design for their property.


2. Wood

Japanese style houses are mainly built using wood. The use of such material dates back to the Edo period and has always been considered the primary method for building property in Japan. Using wood was also seen as a safer way to build houses because of Japan’s frequent earthquakes. Trust me, wood is a whole lot safer than bricks!


3. Tatami 

Tatami is a massive part of Japanese architectural designs. The bedrooms in the Japanese style housing will have tatami mats. These mats, complemented with the scent of  wood, give off a very unique smell that is the very definition of what traditional Japanese homes are. No shoes are to be worn on the tatami mats. They are almost perceived as a sacred space which must be kept neat and tidy. The amazing factor about these traditional Japanese mats is how easy it is to keep them clean. However,  It is extremely important to wipe them down regularly, with a dry cloth, during the humid summers to avoid getting mold on them.


4. The Genkan

Another cultural shock foreigners usually experience while in Japan for the first time- is genkan or the lower level of a house. This is the place where all shoes must be left behind with no exception! Trust me, you will not enter a traditional Japanese home with your shoes on. The genkan is considered the dirtiest part of the house and that is often a sunken part  of the home.