Aside from the entrance area (genkan, Xuan Guan), kitchen, bathroom, and toilet, each room in a typical Japanese house has no specific purpose. A living room, dining room, study, or bedroom can be in any room. It is worth noting that in Japan, the living room is referred to as ima, or living "place."
The word "room" used here refers to an independent space with a separate door that you could close to be alone. There should be enough space for a bed and some furniture inside it.
Japanese houses are usually built with wood or steel frames with plaster or concrete walls. The rooms are open concept, which means doors and windows are often found where possible views or air circulation are needed. Floors are typically made of wood or tile. Ceilings are high and often have beams or other support structures attached to them.
There are two types of Japanese houses: new and old. New houses are built with modern materials and designs and often include other amenities such as garage spaces, yards, and swimming pools. Old houses retain many of the features associated with traditional Japanese architecture including tatami mats, shoji screen doors, and kura storage buildings. Even though new and old houses look different, they function similarly-with one major exception: old houses do not get renovated or updated except if money is available for repairs. Therefore, they tend to remain unchanged for decades at a time.
Mansions and aptos are the most frequent types of dwelling in Japan. A mansion (manshiyon) is a three- or more-story concrete apartment or condominium development. Elevators are commonly found in buildings with at least five storeys, and more contemporary structures frequently feature a main entry with auto-lock doors. The term "mansion" has become popular among Japanese people who can't afford to live in such properties but still want to show off their wealth.
There are several different terms used to describe large houses in Japan. An apto (駅途) is a large house built near a station, with each floor serving as a boarding house for railway employees. These were very common in urban areas during the early 20th century. Today they are becoming rare because most people who work for the railways can now stay in dormitories instead. There are also many older homes in Japan that are not classified as museums or temples and are therefore not protected by law. They cannot be demolished unless they cause harm to other objects of cultural importance or if they are used for illegal purposes.
In rural areas, farmers often build small wooden houses for themselves and their families. These are called shinden zaisha or shinden yuri ("three-storied wood house"). In cities, however, it is common to see high-rise apartments built from reinforced concrete and glass panels.
In a typical Japanese home, there are no chairs or beds. You sit on the floor and sleep on cushions and futon bedding. Before Western-style houses became popular, Japanese rooms were divided by sliding paper screens called shoji or fusuma rather than doors and windows. The most important thing about a Japanese room is that it has the right amount of space for its occupants.
There are three basic types of shoji: plain, with paintings or photographs, and ornamental. The simplest type of shoji is known as uchiwa-zuri ("inside/inner shoji") because it covers only the area inside the main house wall. The other two types of shoji cover much larger areas outside the house walls, usually including some portion of the yard. Although they look complicated, shoji are simply panels of wood or bamboo covered with rice paper. They can be painted in any color and often have an abstract design printed using rice paper cutouts.
Shoji are used to divide up large rooms into smaller ones or to create private spaces such as alcoves. In larger houses, several shoji may be combined to form a single door. Sometimes entire side walls are taken up with shoji to make a corridor. In modern homes, some shoji are made from glass instead of wood or bamboo.
The term "shoji" is also used for the rooms themselves.
The majority of Japanese people still live in traditional single-family homes, although some also live in more contemporary, Western-style houses and flats. The hallways have wood floors, but the remainder of the home has thick straw mats called tatami that cover the floors. A symbol of peace, the tatami make it easy for everyone to hear noises from elsewhere in the house.
There are many different types of houses in Japan, each with its own characteristic features. They range from simple one-room structures to large castles-within-a-city. Even though most Japanese houses are now made out of concrete or steel, they still retain many traditional elements such as gardens, windows, and doors.
Traditional houses in Japan were built for protection as well as accommodation. They had multiple rooms with separate entrances for privacy and security. The layout was designed so that if one room was damaged by fire or intruders, the other rooms could be saved. Houses this old often have beautiful details including sliding doors, shoji screen walls, and ceramic decorations. Some even have actual holes in the wall where you could see through to another room!
Most Japanese people today can only afford to build small apartments. These usually have two rooms and a kitchenette, but sometimes there is also a bathroom.