Bring a Piece of Your Japanese Holiday Home

4 min read

Craving for a beautiful and pleasant holiday in Japan? Why not consider taking your holiday home? In this blog, we are giving you some ideas on turning your living room into a typical Japanese style with some cool props on a low budget. Perhaps you can surprise and spend quality time with your partner or friends in “Japan” without travelling!  


Step 1: Brainstorm Japanese Representative Features


Let’s start by brainstorming some of the Japanese elements you are obsessed with and list them out. They are the potential things you can add to your little Japan. Cherry blossom, Mount Fuji, Kimono, temples, lanterns, Japanese calligraphy, and delicious Japanese cuisine are some of the indispensable and typical features of Japan.


Step 2: Get Inspiration From Japanese Interior Design

Washitsu (和室), also dubbed as tatami room, are traditional Japanese style rooms commonly adopted in Japan since the Muromachi Period. If you go to Japan, you can experience living in Washitsu by staying at a ryokan, minshuku or temple lodging. You can also enjoy hot springs at some of these accommodations. Alternatively, you can view a variety of traditional and preserved tatami rooms at places like temples, villas and tea houses. 



During the Muromachi Period, Washitsu was the mark of nobility that served as study rooms for wealthy families. Gradually, it became more prevalent, and almost all rooms were Washitsu in the past.

Nowadays, in the modern Japanese house, most of the rooms are in western style, and many houses only have one Washitsu. It is used as living rooms and bedrooms in homes and study areas in temples.


  • Tatami

Tatami refers to woven straw mats that have been used as flooring material in Washitsu since the Nara period. New tatami mats are green, but they will turn yellow along the time.

Tatami are springy and firm, making them ideal for sitting and sleeping all year round. They are usually folded or stacked when not in use.


Respect the Culture

Before entering a tatami room and stepping on a tatami, you should always remove your shoes.

When sitting on a tatami, the Japanese follow certain sitting etiquettes that are considered as good manners. Seiza (正座) is the most formal way of seating where you have to kneel and sit on your legs, with your feet crossed and your buttocks should rest on the heels.



  • Shoji

Shoji is a type of sliding door or partition made up of wooden lattices that are covered in translucent paper. It is commonly adopted as doors, interior walls, and windows in traditional Japanese homes. The translucent paper allows light to filter in and create unique effects by refracting and diffusing light.



  • Tokonoma

Tokonoma is recessed alcoves located at the far end of the room, providing a space to display essential items such as calligraphy or artistic scroll, pottery, and seasonal flowers. The decorations will be changed from time to time to reflect the current season.



Tokonoma used to be proof of the house owner’s authority through the decorations displayed. In traditional Japanese culture, the person with higher status sits with their back towards the tokonoma. Nowadays, Japanese are still following this rule and guests are invited to sit in front of the tokonoma or at the far end of the room.




  • Byōbu

Byōbu are Japanese folding screens arranged in a zigzag style with decorative painting and calligraphy on it. It is used to divide up a room, enclose private spaces, or block drafts of wind. 

Different sizes of byōbu served for various purposes. For large screens (6-8 panels), they serve as a decoration and usually used as a background of the traditional theatrical performance and enclosure of a ritual at the temples. For small screens (2 panels), they serve as wind protection and are usually put at the corner of the tatami bedroom and in a tea ceremony.



  • Low table and cushions

As sitting on the floor or tatami is very common in Japan, low tables and cushions are some of the significant features in a Japanese room. During winter and spring, the Japanese also use kotatsu, low tables that are heatable and covered by a blanket, to keep themselves warm in the cold days.

Large cushions are used for sitting on the floor in tatami rooms. Pillows can also be put onto low chairs without legs. You should also note that it is considered impolite to step on other’s cushions.




  • Futon 

A futon is a traditional Japanese style of bedding consisting of a mattress that is laid directly on the tatami flooring and a duvet. It is usually folded and kept in the closet during the day and set out after dinner.


Step 3: Start Decorating!

Now you get the list of things you love about Japan and some ideas on the Japanese living room design; you can start decorating your room. Still don’t have any idea? We have prepared some ideas for you to follow!


  • Coffee table and cushions

As mentioned, low tables and cushions are common elements in traditional Japanese houses. I believe most of our homes have a coffee table in our living room. Let’s take it as the Japanese low table. Prepare some cushions and place them around the table to sit.


Ryokan living room japanese style on wall wooden decoraion


  • On the table

If you have a beautiful set of teapots and cups, place it on your low table and serve with the signature Japanese green tea. To take it to the next level, we highly recommend you to buy some Japanese snacks if you have a lower budget or some delicious sushi and sashimi if you have a higher budget.




  • Japanese style screen

A Japanese style screen can really boost the Japanese vibe in your room. You can consider getting one for your room if you have enough budget. If you really want one but don’t have enough money to get a real one, you can even consider buying some tall and thick cardboards, arrange them in zigzag style, and draw on it! It is also a good activity with your partners or children.



  • Calligraphy or artistic scroll

Place a calligraphy or artistic scroll to a nearby wall. If you don’t have Japanese style scroll, you can simply choose to hang any artwork or photos to polish your living room. Again, you can also choose to draw one yourself!




  • Kimono

Wearing a kimono is one of the must-do items when visiting Japan. Consider getting one online and wear it together with your partner or family. It would be one of the most memorable moments in your house!


Asian woman wearing japanese traditional kimono at Kyoto


  • TV

Select your favourite photos of Japan and display it on your TV. Mount Fuji is always a classic and typical choice that can represent Japan.



  • Cherry Blossom

Don’t forget about the beautiful cherry blossom! You can get a fake cherry blossom branch or petals online. When spending quality time with your loved ones, spread the flower petals to make it more Japan.


Beautiful blooming light pink cherry blossom


Step 4: Enjoy!

Enjoy your time in “Japan” with your loved ones!




Are you obsessed with Japanese interior design and wish to turn your home into Japan permanently? Why not consider finding a tradesman and renovate your home to make the moment last forever!