Minka Traditional Japanese residences are known as minka, and they are frequently what people see when they think of a Japanese style house. This features tatami mats, sliding doors, and a wooden veranda that wraps around the house. The interior is simply decorated with flowers and trees.
Traditional Japanese houses did not have windows, but instead had sliding doors made from bamboo or wood. These were opened for air circulation on hot days or by fans when it was too warm inside. There were also ceramic jars called irisu that stored water used for washing dishes or clothes.
The word "minka" comes from the Japanese words for "entryway" and this is exactly what these buildings have: an entranceway with stairs leading up to the next floor. On top of the stairs there might be another entryway for a third floor or more. Each floor has its own door which opens onto the veranda or garden area outside. A minka can have many rooms and even a bathhouse called a yagura where guests could relax after a long day. These buildings were often very spacious and included an inner core of tatami mats for privacy. The walls were usually made of wood panels covered in shoji screen, which allows light to filter in but keeps out insects and weather damage.
Tatami mat flooring, sliding doors, and wooden engawa verandas distinguish minka, or traditional Japanese dwellings. Shoes are removed and placed in the getabako—a cabinet named after geta, or wooden clogs, which were historically popular among Japanese people. A tatami room can be any space of about 1,000 square feet (93 m²) or less that is used for living or sleeping purposes.
In Japanese, a minka is called a japansu. This word comes from the verb jaupin, meaning "to cut." The cutting here refers to the shaping of the timber before it is laid up into boards. The walls and floors are usually made from thick mats of rice straw or wood strips woven together. There are many different techniques for weaving these materials into shape. Roofs are often thatched with grass or reed bundles.
Traditional Japanese houses were built using post-and-beam construction. The posts, which could be either bamboo or wood, were set into the ground and tied together at the top with horizontal beams. The spaces between the posts were filled with tiles or mud bricks. Walls were made from alternating layers of daubed clay and straw bales or wood shavings. Doors and windows were typically made from wood. Lamps were usually made from metal or pottery.
Living in a japanese hut meant having few material possessions.
A traditional Japanese house's entryway is composed of three tiers. The first is the tataki, which is located on the ground level just beyond the entry door. It is usually built of concrete nowadays, but in the past, the pounded tataki floor was composed of earth, lime, and bittern. This pounding floor is also known as a "doma." The second tier is the hauto, which is an elevated platform enclosed by a wall that comes down to the ground at one end and up at the other. The hauto can be any height from about shoulder height to nearly 6 feet tall. The third and topmost tier is the fusuma, which is a sliding screen door made of rice paper. It allows people to come in and out of the house without opening the main entrance door.
Inside each room of the house, there are shoji screens to block out unwanted views. They are usually made of wood or bamboo and can be opened and closed with rope pulls or magnets. From outside the house, it seems like there is no way to open any rooms inside since the doors are always kept closed. But this is not true; there are several ways to open the doors from within if you know how.
The main purpose of the shoji screen is to keep out insects and to let in air. In summer, they are open all day while in winter they are closed all night. Also, certain rooms in a Japanese house are allowed to have their own independent heating systems.
In my limited experience with the interiors of modern Japanese houses, sliding panels are mainly restricted to the tatami room and closets, but some houses are still created that take use of their outstanding versatility. Western-inspired dwellings are uncommon, but not entirely missing.
Even if they are used only for storage, sliding doors are an important part of any house. They can be used to create a connection between two different rooms, to let in some air or keep out some noise. Or they can be closed when not needed, like in the case of tatami rooms where they act as a flooring material.
However, not all sliding doors are made the same. Some are horizontal while others are vertical, some open from one side only, others from both. Some slide easily, others not at all. And then there's also the type of track that each door uses. The majority of them are made of wood, either solid or veneered, but some newer ones are now also available as plastic or steel.
The purpose of this post is simply to show how much variety there is in the way people design and build their homes. No matter what kind of house you live in, it's possible that some new ideas might come up along the way.
In a typical Japanese home, there are no chairs or beds. You sit and sleep on the floor with the help of 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 to be clean.
There are two types of Japanese rooms: the tatami room and the matsumoto room. A tatami room is made out of wood or bamboo planks covered in rice straw and laid over wooden frames. This is how most homes in Japan will show you around their interior spaces. The matriarch of a family lives in a luxury suite called the yukata, which is located off the tatami room. Yukata means "gown" in English.
A matsumoto room is similar to a tatami room but instead of using rice straw for covering the floor, it's done with mats. These days, some people use carpeting instead. There's also an attached bathroom called a shindo. Like in many other cultures, women had less freedom in ancient Japan than men; therefore, the room was designed without door handles or locks so that women could flee violence safely.
Traditional Japanese rooms have no windows because they need air flow to prevent things from getting too hot or cold. So fans are used instead.