Living in Japan – Kyoto and Osaka

kyoto-1As  our Japanese holiday continues we have had the opportunity to live in another couple of homes.

This is a restored traditional Machiya house that we stopped in in Kyoto (The basis for the ‘Japanese Project Home’ featured in last weeks post)

Looking at this you will see that there are no side windows as the houses are generally built separately but very close to one another.

With this house behind that front wall with the circular hole is a tiny garden which the front window looks in on.

As a general comment it seems to me that history has made many Japanese homes very inward looking.

The windows are small and often feature obscured glass.osaka-1

The most obvious example of this inward focus would be our Osaka Apartment.

The view from our apartment would be of these old gardens. . . . except for the fact that the window facing in this direction is obscured glass.

I could only take this photo from the external emergency escape stairs.

I would say over 75% of all windows in apartments and houses consisted of wired obscured glass.

As with the steel doors Japanese people seem to be much more concerned about safety, than the typical Aussie.

Another theme that was constant in all properties was the use of sliding screens to hide things away, or open up more of the home.

kyoto-2This photo shows one of the ‘paper’ screen used to hide away the kitchen from the main living / dining area of the house.

Generally the only thing separating each room from all the other rooms on that level was a set of screen doors.

Paper screens on the older houses, and slightly more solid lightweight doors on the more modern properties.

Not much privacy when even the quietest conversation can be heard in the next room.

And finally a word of warning if you go to Japan.

Make sure you are OK with steep stairs if you plan on renting an older 2 storey house.kyoto-3

As you look through the screen doorway, of this last photo, you will see some very steep stairs.

It was a real struggle getting a heavy case up there. . . and a little bit scary carrying them down at the end of our stay.

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