13.Main 2F Japanese style room/ tokonoma

The alcove, or tokonoma, is an essential feature of Japanese home design, and this room includes a beautiful example despite the narrow dimensions of the space. Here the family would hang a decorative scroll and place a seasonal flower arrangement, as you see today. Other art objects might also be displayed – a fine vase, perhaps, or a small sculpture. The tokonoma is like a tiny museum, adding its welcome to the family’s hospitality for customers and guests. 


Did you notice a small windowlike opening in each side of the tokonoma near the floor? Architects call that an ostium, a Latin word for mouth. In Japanese it’s a horaguchi, or chinkuguri, bringing light to objects on the alcove floor.  


The sturdy posts framing the alcove are the main feature of the room. The post on the left is a very hard black persimmon wood called kurogaki. The other is kaede, or maple. Feel their silky surface and you will know that they are the finest wood in the building.



Audio guide is also available