The Japanese Home
Introducing unique architectural features and designs
influenced by Japanese culture.
Tokonoma – the Origin of the Japanese-style room – Vol.2
October 20. 2022
Tokonoma, a Japanese-style alcove, is a space where you can display art objects in a Japanese-style guest room. It is also called “Toko.”
The surrounding area is beautifully designed, and since the Kamakura period (1185-1333), it has developed as a place to display hanging scrolls and flower arrangements.
The following articles will discuss Tokonoma further.
Vol.2 – Types of Tokonoma
Over its long history, the Tokonoma has diversified and developed into many different styles.
Here, we talk about different types of Tokonoma.
Hondoko – 本床
Hondoko is the most formal style that consists with Tokonoma, Tokowaki, and Shoin.
In the hondoko style, several rules must be followed in terms of construction, materials, and finishes, such as posts, beams, and flooring.
But there is no need to stick to the Hondoko when enjoying Japanese-style interior design.
Kekomidoko – 蹴込み床
A wood board stile called Kekomi-ita is used instead of Tokogamachi. Tokonoma area is set one step higher than the Tatami mats floor of the room.
Fumikomidoko – 踏込み床
A floor with no Tokogamachi, and the level of Tokonoma is aligned with Tatami mats floor of the room.
Horadoko – 洞床
Tokonoma takes the shape of a cave. There is a narrow opening in front, and the space inside is wider. Clay is applied onto the interior walls and ceiling and no wood structure is visible.
It was said that this Tokonoma style was created by the famous tea ceremony master Senno Rikyu, and this type of Tokonoma has been used in Souan-style tea rooms.
Tsuridoko – 吊り床
Tsurizuka, which is short pieces of wooden rod suspended from the ceiling, small panels and Otoshigake are attached. Those elements indicate a Tokonoma area.
Okidoko – 置き床
Portable Tokonoma placed in the corner of a room.
Oribedoko – 織部床
A decorative panel, which is called Oribe-ita is placed on the top of the wall to indicate a Tokoma without a special floor space.
As you can see, there are different types of Tokonoma, from those that require detailed construction to those that are simple.
Whether it’s a Japanese-style bedroom or not, a Tokonoma-style space in a corner of a room will surely become a special place.
By placing a Ikebana which is a Japanese floral arrangement, a calligraphic art or a painting, Tokonoma can be a place that you can feel every season.