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Japanese houses have many special features

Japanese houses have many special features, and in a previous article we explained about the 玄関 (GENKAN) or entrance space/foyer. So, this time, we will look at what is called: 和室 (WA-SHITSU) or "Japanese-style" room. A key characteristic of a WA-SHITSU is the fact that the floor is not laid with hard wood or tiles, but rather with mats of woven rush grass called: TATAMI (畳). In some older traditional Japanese houses, almost all of the rooms have TATAMI floors; but in recent years, houses became more Westernized, and generally only one room has the TATAMI mats floor. The WA-SHITSU, with its TATAMI floor, provides a comfortable and calming space within the house, and can be directly seated or slept upon, and is also a firm-soft and safe place for children to play. Of note, TATAMI mat flooring has been around for a very long time, as it was first developed for, and used by, Japanese nobility back during the NARA period -- over 1,500 years ago. So, if your Japanese house has a TATAMI-floor WA-SHITSU, in a way, it can be your connection to Japan's ancient history and culture! In future articles, we will look more closely at TATAMIs, their size and manufacture, and how to clean and maintain, etc. We hope you will enjoy living in Japan!

written by Goodfield

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