Tips

In the Home

Here we would like to introduce a few examples of etiquette as well as some features unique to a Japanese home.

1. Entering

Some of you may know already, when you enter a house in Japan, you are required to take off your shoes. Walking into the house with shoes on is considered extremely rude here. After you remove your shoes in the foyer, you will usually be provided with slippers to wear in the house.

2. Tatami, Fusuma, and Shoji

When you enter a Japanese house, you would immediately notice these three items. Tatami is a straw mat on which people sit, eat, and sleep.

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Tatami mat

Fusuma and Shoji are sliding doors which separate rooms within a house. Fusuma is made of a wooden understructure covered with thick paper and usually decorated with Japanese landscape painting.

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Fusuma with a landscape painting

Shoji consists of a latticed wooden frame covered with Washi (Japanese paper) which allows light to pass through.Although they have become less visible in the modern house as more and more Japanese have come to prefer a Western style of housing, most of the houses have a mix of Japanese and Western style, therefore you are sure to experience a Japanese style house no matter where you go in Japan.

3. Kotatsu

Kotatsu is a common heating system used in a Japanese household. It consists of a low table and a cloth to cover the table. Underneath the table is an electric heater which warms your lower body while sitting on a tatami mat.

4. Tea

The custom of drinking tea drinking originally came from China many centuries ago, but the manner and style of tea-drinking in Japan have diverged from the original, therefore making the Japanese way slightly different from the Chinese way.

The main difference lies in the fact that Japanese use a tea pot to pour tea into a cup while Chinese put tea leaves and hot water into a cup.

5. Bathing

Bathing is a very important feature of Japanese lifestyle. Simply put, Japanese love bathing either at their own house or at the spa. For most of the Japanese, bathing offers an excellent way of relaxing and healing their tired body and soul. But you must be aware of certain rules of bathing in Japan. Please check this page for those rules.

6. Futon

Futon is both a sleeping mattress and a comforter. It is placed on the tatami mat directly. As more people adopt a Western style housing, increasing number of people sleep on beds instead of using futon.

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Sleeping on Futon will make you feel that you are indeed in Japan!