Japan may be known as a pioneer in technology and pop fashion but when it comes to housing, the country uses much simplicity unlike what is commonly seen in the western word these days. While there may be a lot of modern homes around Japan today, the traditional ones remain and are well maintained.
In a traditional Japanese house also called minka or kominka, space harmony is of utmost importance. And this is often achieved through the use of a very simple and straightforward architectural design. This means straight lines, less furniture and decors, sometimes no chairs or even beds. In some homes, a small ikebana arrangement or a simple decoration may be added.
Japanese homes built the traditional style are of two types. They are the town houses or machiya and the farmhouses or noka.
Use of Rooms
It might surprise many of you to know that in the land of the rising sun, the traditional homes do not have any specific use of each room. An exception are the entrance space, the kitchen, bathroom and toilet.
In other words, any room can be turned into a living space, dining area or bedroom. This is possible primarily because of the fact that their furniture can be moved from one room to another. Additionally, any room can be expanded by moving the partitions or sliding doors in place.
A dining room uses a low table and the people who eat just sit on the floor. They may or may not use a tatami or mat.
What They’re Made Of
The traditional Japanese home is normally built through the use of wood and packed earth or stones for the foundation. The main framework from the columns, floor beams and flooring are made of sturdy wood that can last up to 300 years. For the walls, plywood is now commonly used although in the past, woven bamboo plastered with earth on both sides was the norm.
Many of you may be wondering how the Japanese make their homes that can stand four seasons and that can keep families warm inside despite the very cold weather during the winter season. The secret is the use of a large roof and deep eaves. Additionally, they prefer to build a sloped roof rather than the flat type thereby allowing rainwater to flow easily.
Interestingly, while many Japanese prefer to live in a traditional home, some of those who decide to reside in the more modern type actually reserve one room and keep it in the traditional style. This is called the washitsu with no furnishings except for some tatami mats on the floor.
Image via lovewithjapan