A Traditional Japanese Home

While visiting some friends in Wakamatsu-ku a while back, one of my former students had arranged to visit this very traditional home in Tobata-ku, Kitakyushu-shi.

My friends in Japan have always know how much I like Japanese antiques and textiles, so this private visit was especially arranged for me. I got a tour of this stranger’s home. It was amazing to see her home fully furnished the traditional style, it was like stepping into a museum. Many Japanese prefer western style housing, some of them so modern, they have lost their Japanese touch (until you get to the fully automated toilet).

Here we are in the genkan (entry way), filled with old farming tools.



The traditional Japanese homes generally have no so-called bedroom, as the futon (sleeping mattress) can be rolled out anywhere on the tatami. The rooms are separated by sliding doors. Dark wood frames each room, with kasuri (indigo dyed fabric) patchwork tapestries on the wall, a blue and white hibachi for decoration. etc.

Antique Japanese interior

The owner takes great care of her museum-like house and everything is very neatly arranged.

Antique Japanese interior

A big old tansu (cabinet) holding many old textiles, such as kasuri, chirimen, shibori, etc. What a treasure.



This hibachi is a very traditional heating device: a charcoal hibachi, most often made from cypress wood for its durability.


hibachi  火鉢

This was a great experience to visit this lady’s home and it reminded me of my favorite pastimes while in Japan. Those were going to antique shops, looking for old textiles in factories where recycled material was handled and sold by the kilo, patchwork lessons taken in Japanese (my sewing vocabulary became quite impressive), and buying jitai ningyo (dolls from the *Taishō period), and much more.

*The Taishō period (大正時代 Taishō jidai) is a period in the history of Japan dating from July 1912 to December 1926, named for the Emperor Taishō reign during that time.

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