Traditional Japanese houses are made of wood and supported by wooden pillars, but today’s houses are generally built with wooden flooring in European style houses and iron pillars. In addition, more and more families are living in large apartment complexes with reinforced concrete in urban areas.
The major difference from European style houses is that there are no shoes in the house and at least one room tatami mat. When you enter the house, take off your shoes and keep the floor clean. The entryway is where you take off your shoes, store them, and put them on. Indoor slippers should be put on as soon as you take off your shoes.
A tatami mat is made of thick grass that has been used in Japanese homes for about 600 years, and one tatami mat usually measures 1.91 x 0.95 meters, and the size of a room is often measured in terms of the number of tatami. Tatami floors are cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, and stay fresher than carpet during humid months.
In terms of the size, the average floor area of a dwelling unit in Japan is about 95 square meters. And the per capita dwelling floor area in Japan is 33.2 square meters, compared to 60 square meters in the United States and 38 square meters in Germany and France.
A common feature of Japanese houses is that there are many sliding doors. In the old days, there was a folding screen to divide a large room. The room divider was fitted into the wall, but that was too inconvenient, so I made a groove so that it could slide out. This is the style found in today’s Japanese housing. The term shoji was originally a generic term for the partitions between rooms, but nowadays it refers to shoji, which is a wooden lattice with a square of paper attached to it to let in soft light.
In winter, Japanese people use a heated table called “Kotatsu” to sit on the tatami in their living room. It is said to have been developed in Zen temples in the Middle Ages. Originally, coal was used as a heat source, but today’s kotatsu relies on electric heaters. The top and sides of the kotatsu are covered with a futon to prevent heat from escaping, and a board is placed on top of the futon so that it can be used as a table.
As the country has limited space for living, it can be very expensive to buy a house or condo around a big city or in the suburbs. Even though the average price of a house has become reasonable recently, but you still need about 12 times your average annual income to buy a house in Tokyo, and about 9 times your annual income to buy a condo.