A Glimpse Inside a Japanese House

  • Ever wondered what a typical Japanese house looks like? Let’s look inside and see what makes it unique.

    Entrance Hall and Hallway


    The entrance hall is called genkan in Japanese. On either side of the genkan is the shoe cabinet. Japanese people do not wear shoes inside the house, instead they use indoor slippers. Upon entering the genkan, you will pass through the hallway which leads you to the inside of the house.

    Living Room


    Living rooms can be Japanese-style or Western-style. Japanese-style rooms have floors that are covered with tatami(thick rice-straw mats) and in most cases, have closets called oshiire. The alcove called tokonoma is located in the room used for entertaining visitors. A hanging scroll (calligraphy or a painting) is displayed on the wall of the tokonoma, and a flower arrangement called ikebana is placed under the scroll. Most rooms are interconnected by fusuma (sliding doors) with shouji – paper-covered sliding screens. In a Japanese-style room, tables are low and you will sit on a cushion called zabuton.


    It is not uncommon to have a digital electric stove in a Japanese kitchen (although regular gas stoves are still widely used). Some stovetops with sensors may even be touched without your hands getting burned.



    We already know that Japanese toilets are very advanced and that it has sensors and many buttons to press. It can even warm up making it so comfortable to use on the very cold days of winter.



    Japanese bathrooms always have a shower and a bathtub. They call it ofuro. Japanese like to soak in a bath of warm water (usually at night.) One must take a shower first before getting into the bath.



    Washrooms are called senmenjo, from the word itself, is a place to wash (face) and brush the teeth. Washrooms are usually used in the morning. (Usually, Japanese just wash their faces in the morning since they take a bath at night).



    In most cases, Japanese-style bedrooms have no beds at all. Japanese mattresses called futons are used instead. These futons are kept in the closet (oshiire) during the day and are laid on the floor at night as a sleeping mat.

    A house is a house. One of the basic needs of a human being. It has a roof that protects people from storms and rains. It has walls to provide privacy. It has floors, doors, and windows. What’s inside the house varies depending on its residents. The style and design will speak of who the occupants are. This uniqueness makes houses a home. And Japanese houses are definitely a home away from home. A perfect combination of technology and tradition!