Japanese House Plans

by Lyanne Thomas
(Manila, Philippines)

Japanese House Plans, what you didn't know

What's there to know about Japanese houses besides that the houses are versatile and small compared to those in Europe and America?

Well for one, Japanese homes allow you to maximize your available space. Most Asian houses, including those from Japan are simple with an aesthetic beauty to them. The traditional Japanese house is built by erecting wooden columns on a flat foundation of stones.

Japanese house plans are built on a grid system and the design is traditionally centered around the floor mats - commonly known as tatami. Likewise since Japan is an earthquake prone country, naturally the houses are designed to be earthquake proof.

Unlike many houses in other parts of the world, the traditional, wooden houses in Japan do not use nails, instead grooves on the wood beams fit together. In this case when there is an earthquake the house will move with the earthquake rather than crumble into pieces. The frame and wood of the house tends tobend but not break.

The only negative of a traditional Japanese home are the heavy tile roofs. Hopefully, some inventor will come up with a light weight plastic, that looks like those beautiful tiles, but won`t kill you when the next big earthquake comes along. Some homes cannot support this heavy roof, and some people are killed by falling roof tiles. They are really heavy!

As seen in movies, and books Japanese homes have sliding doors throughout. Most house designs have verandas and gardens. Gardens are essential in a Japanese house, this is why a Japanese home always has a rock and a tree garden.

Shoji screens are also a part of the home design. The Shoji screen is made of paper, fabric or glass on a wooden frame. The screen is used as a room divider for Japanese houses. The floor is elevated from the ground to avoid moisture. It is laid across horizontal wooden floor beams.

The most common characteristic of a Japanese house is its large roof and deep eaves. Most of the roofs in the old times were covered with shingles or straw, but recently they have been replaced with tiles called kawara. (The heavy tiles fore-mentioned.)

Recently there have been many foreign ways that have been added and incorporated into modern Japanese house plans, nevertheless it's simplicity and beauty remains.

To sip tea from a tatami room in a Japanese home, is a great experience. One I hope all of our readers will enjoy sometime.

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