Most buildings in Japan, both long ago and today, need to withstand annual storms and occasional tsunamis and earthquakes.
Above all, summers can be very hot, winter is cold and there is a heavy rainy season every year.
Ancient and medieval Japanese have found a simple solution to these problems: don’t build for long.
So instead of being against the environment, homes are built to comply with its whim and if the worst happens, they’re designed to be easily rebuilt.
This approach also means that very few old buildings still exist in Japan today, but architectural styles and tricks definitely do.
Although all of the above varies by region in terms of local climate and available materials, some common points can be identified.
For example, rural housing is usually one-story, built with wood and lifted off the ground by pillars.
They have a hard earth floor (doma) for cooking and another with raised wooden floors for sleeping.
Urban housing is smaller than other types due to the lack of public spaces in the city, but this problem has been resolved with the construction and two-story Machiya plots.
Connected urban housing, sharing toilets and water sources between neighbors are quite common.
The living room (zashiki) was first seen in the homes of the samurai, as members of the upper class, required to provide an audience for their subordinates and officials.
For the same reason, an area on the floor of the room can be raised slightly (jodan-no-ma).
This idea then spread to the homes of commoners in the late medieval period.
There may be a built-in work desk (tsukeshoin) facing the wall in this room, another hanging from the samurai house.
Interiors are sparse in medieval Japanese homes but can include floor cushions (zabuton), portable handrails, low tables (chabudai), small cupboards (kodana), hidden cabinets (shoji), and chests (tansu) ).
These items are typically made of unusual wood or bamboo and can be more meticulously designed and decorated using lacquer and gold plated.
According to the ancient tradition of the Ainu people (indigenous people of Japan), valuables such as swords or jewelry are stored in a chest, in the northeast corner of the house, where it is believed to be the god Chiseikoro Kamui, who house protection. . .
Many people hang artworks in their homes, and they can take many forms.
Hanging paper rolls (kakemono or kakejiku) are made from silk or paper and have a wooden column at the bottom that presses the scroll against the wall and supports it up for storage.
Scrolls of pictures, often hung in purpose-built niches (tokonoma) on walls, show a picture or example of calligraphy or a combination of the two.
In the case of paintings, these paintings usually show a landscape and are often changed at the beginning of every four seasons so that they match the theme of the period in which they were viewed.