Traditional Japanese Houses: ‘No shoes please, we’re Japanese!’

By Mark Andrews

Eat Japan (London). Issue 17 Spring 2005

How traditional Japanese housing elements still feature in even the most modern apartments.

Even in 21st Century, high tech, neon blazing Tokyo old housing traditions remain. Whilst many of the young, attracted from rural areas to the economic powerhouses of Japan, live in apartments rather than traditional houses, older elements persist. Look closely in certain rooms or areas and you can see them.

Traditional houses had the door opening into the genkan (entrance hall). When entering people remove their shoes here and store them in the shoe rack or cupboard (getabako) provided. There is then a step up into the house. Even in the smallest of apartments today the entrance has a slightly sunken area. These days the host usually offers slippers for visitors to walk around in.

Unfortunately I don’t have a digital version of this article.

Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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