Noren Curtains

Japanese Noren Curtains

のれん

You may have seen Japanese Noren Curtains at the front of shops, as curtains for doorways, sento bathes and nosen hot sprints, Izakayas in Japan or in our Japanese Home Decor roundup. Japanese door curtains are great way of separating out a space while having it remain accessible. 

Let’s cut to the chase by showing you what our three favourite Japanese noren curtains available online are:

  • One of the most characteristic Noren in bathhouses throughout Japan
  • Featuring the hiragana character for “Yu”, hot water.
  • Good quality, thick cotton
  • 59″ (150cm) length and dark, non-see through color provide privacy
  • Size:W850×H1500(33.5″×59″)
  • Made in Japan
  • Thick linen cloth
  • Non synthetic materials
  • Beautiful rich color
  • Exclusive pattern printed on one side, handmade with great care
  • Size: 33.5×47.2 inches (85×120 cm)
  • Linen material
  • Double-layer Lock Edge
  • Koi fish symbolize perseverance and abundance in Japan
  • Briliant color
  • Telescopic Rod  Included For Hanging
  • Comes in a range of sizes

Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s get into the nitty gritty, because really Noren are a matter of horses for courses, or curtains for circumstances. 

How to choose a Noren

 

How to choose a noren curtain

Alex Kerr has written about the sense of the “liminal” in Japan in his masterful essential-reading-for-any-Japanofile book Another Kyoto, where you often have symbolic lines placed to seperate out a space. You see these in Japanese gardens with borders of rocks, in housing design with wooden beams or the brocade on a tatami mat, and, perhaps most representatively, in the gates that exist without a wall at the entrance of temples. These dividers are there to give you the sense that you are moving to a new area, physically, psychologically, spiritually. Japanese door curtains are a classic example of this.

1. Decide the space you want to “separate out” using a noren as a symbolic border.

Most common areas that people like to place noren curtains:

  • Front entrance
  • Bathroom entrance
  • Kitchen Entrance
  • Middle of room as a divider
  • Bedroom
  • Back entrance 
  • Shop entrance style Noren
  • Character says “noodles”
  • Material: Canvas. 
  • Size: 85cm x 120cm (33.46″ x 47.24″).

2. Decide how much space you want to block out. Eg. What size Noren curtain do you need?

Up to 90 cm (35 inches)

These are good for kitchens either at home or in a restaurant. People can see what is going on but there is a level of privacy with the face being out of view. You can carry things, such as plates, easily beneath them without the curtains getting in the way. Small children can pass beneath them without touching them at all, meaning they are less likely to get dirty or pulled on. They generally leave you without about 130cm of room between the floor and the bottom of the noren.

Short Noren

  • A “kitchen” or “restaurant” style short Noren
  • Text advertises Japanese dishes Okonomiyaki, Udon and Yakisoba noodles.
  • Multiple slits for easy coming and going
  • Length : 145cm 57.1 inches, Height: 85cm 33.5 inches

130cm (51 inches)

These will generally hide a person down to around their knees or waist, meaning you will still be able to see their feet and get a sense of who is behind them without actually seeing the whole person. They are still relatively easy to fold or move through but they will start to block out a significant amount of light. 

Use cases include a back door where you want to block out some light but still keep things breezy.

  • Linen
  • Hypoallergenic & Eco-friendly
  • Minimalist design
  • 3 Panels
  • Various sizes available

200cm (78 inches)

A noren curtain this length will stretch close to the floor and provide the most privacy. It will also provide the most insulation effect if you are wanting to hold in some warmth in a space that you don’t want to block off completely with a door. 

Use cases include a doorway between a kitchen and a living room that you move through regularly but want to keep secret, or bedroom where you would like to keep the door open most of the time and still have privacy.

  • Traditional Ukiyo Print
  • Available in short to long sizes up to 180cm (71 inches)
  • Linen
  • Plate Printed Typical Japanese Pattern On Hand-woven Linen fabric.
  • Good size for most doors.

3. How much light do you want to block out: Do you want a see-through or opaque Noren curtain?

Once you know the length of the noren you want to use, you can think about how opaque you want it to be. If you want to use a noren to partition a room, then a noren that is relatively see-through can be a good option. I relatively see through noren can also be good for covering off a wardrobe or a pantry. If you want to cover off, say, an entrance to a shower, you may want to go with something less revealing.

  • Sheer, lets light through
  • Summery imagery including wind chimes and goldfish
  • “Shiki no furin” means “four season wind chime”
  • Cotton
  • Size:W850×H1500(33.5 x 59.1 inches)
  • Made in Japan

4. What material do you like (and what is easiest to wash & look after)?

Do you want something heavy to conserve heat, or something light and airy? Do you want something that is nice to touch, or easy to clean and look after?

The three main materials you will find are: 

  • Cotton 
  • Linen/hemp 
  • Polyester

Linen & hemp will give you a soothing “cool” feel to your room. Cotton will give a softer feel.

Polyester is probably the easiest to look after because it is so easy to roll up and clean. Although it may feel a bit cheaper if you look at it up close, and may not last as long as some of the other materials, for most intents and purposes it will serve the purposes. It can be good option for use around a bathroom where you may need to clean the noren regularly. 

 

  • Traditional Ukiyo-e pattern
  • Polyester is easy clean
  • Made in Japan
  • 33.46 x 33.46 x 59.06 inches

5. What pattern do you like? Do you want a “statement” piece or something more subdued?

The last criteria is more a question of personal aesthetic preferences. There is a wide range of designs for noren ranging from the striking and loud to the subtle and understated. Though this is down to taste, it is best to think about the larger aesthetic of the room or rooms you are trying to decorate. Is the surrounding full of colour or using more muted tones. Do you want to make a “feature” of the noren by contrasting or to blend in with what is already there.

  • Striking feature piece
  • 100% Heavy weight cotton linen fabric
  • Handmade block printed Ukiyoe
  • Includes free tension rod
  • Vivid color

Modern Noren

Although there are various “traditional Japanese” looking noren, there are also various options that inspired by modern design and designs from other cultures (notably scandanavian). 

  • Striking modern design
  • Cotton Linen
  • Size: 33.5″ W x 47.2″ L (85 x 120cm)
  • Includes tension rod
  • Pattern printed on one side

Noren with characters

You can also use a Noren to express your fandom. If you need to get some more totoro in your life.

  • Studio Ghibli Authentic License
  • Material: Polyester 100%
  • Size:W850×H1500 cm
  • Made in Japan

Other Japanese home decor items

Recent Posts

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Contributor

Hi, I’m Peter.  I lived in Japan for four years as a University student completing a Masters Degree in Musicology.  I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1).  have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Japanese Vase Top Ten

Japanese Vases

花瓶

Ikebana Flower Arrangement

There is a big world of Japanese vases out there. There is such a long history and range of styles that is difficult to neatly categorise them in a short time. 

There are a few approaches you can take:

  1. Think about the sort of flower & arrangement you want to display and then look by shape.
  2. Choose by the kind of material you want. Eg. Porcelain, Glass, Ceramic, rough, smooth, earthen, colorful.
  3. Choose by region. Given the bredth of Japanese pottery, the most common way to categorise ceramic goods in Japan is by region.
Some of the major pottery regions of Japan (Image: Chanoyu . com )

To simplify things, we’ve chosen ten of our favorite Japanese vases from a range of styles and regions. Rather than make a futile attempt at an exhaustive categorisation of Japanese vases, these as a representative sample of what is out there.

For an overview of our top items of Japanese Home Decor see our article here.

#1 Rough Tokoname Ware Vase

  • Tokoname ware – Stoneware, and ceramics produced in and around the municipality of Tokoname, Aichi, in central Japan. Tokoname was the location of one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan.
  • Height 12cm
  • Distinctively Japanese style ideal for natural, earthy aesthetics

#2 Earthen Shigaraki Ware Vase

  • Beautiful rough hewen Shigaraki – ware piece.
  • Natural earthen tones
  • Size Width23cm X Depth20cm X Height19.5cm

#3 Colorful Kutani Porcelain Vase

  • Exquisite Kutani porcelain ware item.
  • Style was popular with European aristocracy
  • Striking colorful motif on white
  • Features crane motif – symbol associated with long life.
  • 18 x 31cm.
  •  

#4 Modern Shigaraki Ware Vase

  • Outstanding modern twist on traditional Shigaraki Ware techniques
  • Luscious green glaze using Kinsai technique
  • Size Width21cm X Depth21cm X Height24.5cm

#5 Flat Square Large Ikebana Vase

  • Suits “Ikebana” flower arrangement practitioner
  • large 11″ square tiered Ikebana vase. 
  • Constructed of composite engineered wood painted with stone pebble finish in grey.
  • Large 4″ dia. water cup  included

#6 Slim Hagiyaki Gohonte Vase

  • This tall, thin vase uses the gohonte 御本手 technique.
  • Gohonte makes a feature of the pinkish blemishes that happen as a result of the firing process
  • Hand made piece – each one unique
  • Size width10cm X depth10cm X height24cm
  •  

#7 Classic Satsuma Peacock Vase

  • Satsuma vases were hugely popular items in the west from the 19th century
  • Peacock is popular motif symbolising the deity Kannon associated with kindness and good health
  • 18 inch
  • Rich colored item

#8 Minimalist Bizen Vase

  • Minimal, timeless design
  • Earthen feel with metallic tones
  • Characterstic Bizen Ware piece
  • W 12cm x 12cm, H 27 cm.

#9 Refined Arita Porcelain Vase

  • Hand made
  • ARITA-yaki / IMARI-yaki: Imari-yaki is a porcelain made in Arita region of former Hizen Province (today’s Saga Prefecture) in Kyushu, Japan.
  • Originally known as Arita-yaki, named after its production region, it became to be known as Imari-yaki when the porcelain was exported to Europe in the 17th century from Imari port, Saga. Ko-imari, literally old imari in Japanese, refers specifically to Imari ware produced in the Edo period (17th-19th century). Today the name Arita-yaki is distinguished from Imari-yaki: porcelain made in Arita is called Arita-yaki and in Imari as Imari-yaki.
  • DIAMETER: – BODY: L12 × H24.5 × W12 cm – BOX: L15 × H27 × W14 cm
  • MATERIAL: Porcelain

#10 Maple Wood Ikebana Vase

  • Would suit serious Ikebana enthusiast
  • Spalted Maple Wood & Vase Insert Heavy Cast Metal Frog
  •  7.5 x 7.5 x 2 Inch
  • Gallery Quality Vase Holds Water for Fresh Flowers, Dry Flowers or Tea Candle

Look for more Japanese Vase options on Amazon

Look for more Japanese Vase options on Etsy

You may also be interested in:

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Contributor

Hi, I’m Peter.  I lived in Japan for four years as a University student completing a Masters Degree in Musicology.  I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1).  have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Japanese Wall Scrolls – Gallery and Selection Guide

Japanese Wall Scrolls

掛け物

Traditional Japanese living rooms feature a set-back recess area called a Toko-No-Ma that usually features some kind of Japanese Wall Scroll and/or Ikebana flower arrangement (also see how article on Japanese decor). The scrolls traditionally feature calligraphy or artworks, most charactistially in the style of a sumi-e black ink.
Traditionally, these were one of a kind artworks, often by artists of renown.
Today, good quality representations can be found that achieve a similar effect at very reasonable price.

A typical Jinbei

Our Favorite Japanese Wall Scrolls

We’ll get into the nitty gritty of different types of Japanese Scrolls below but first of all let’s show you our favourite option for scrolls available online.These are custom scrolls produced by master calligrapher Eri Takase. We love that you can either choose one of the premade scrolls, or work with Takase-sensei to make your own. From Takase-Sensei’s Etsy Page:

“Master Takase creates this beautiful art when your order is placed. Personally preparing the ink and brushing your art that proudly bears her signature and seal. This is truly an original work of art.

The Japanese Scrolls (kakejiku) are special and we are very proud of them. We have worked with our scroll maker in Nara, Japan for more than a decade and these scrolls are exceptional. They have a light brown silk border, gold brocade highlights, and Japanese paper. These fine materials are layered so that when displayed the finished scroll hangs straight and will not warp over time. And the paper takes the ink just right so subtle brush strokes come out just as expected. This beautiful art is meant to last generations.”

The Japanese Wall Scroll Tradition

The Japanese wall scroll has a long history. It was introduced to Japan from China during the Asuka era (592 to 645). In China, these were widely seen as Buddhist imagery for ceremonies during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).
Japanese scrolls have a deep connection to Zen Buddhism. Hanging scrolls were introduced to Japan through the religion in the Kamakura period (1185–1333).
Introduced from China, Zen Buddhism spread Chinese-style architectural styles and art to Japan along with Buddhist teachings. The technique of ink painting also came in at this time.
Hanging scrolls were initially used for Buddhist rituals. They gradually evolved into an art form in their own right. Styles such as 花鳥画, kachouga “Flower and Bird Paintings”, and 山水画 sansuiga “Mountain and Water Paintings” were also produced.
The development and promulgation of the Japanese wall scroll is intertwined with the development of 水墨画 suibokuga ink painting.
When the tea room was created during the Muromachi period, the hanging scrolls became even more artistic in order to provide accent to the tatami mats on the floors. Sen no Rikyu, who pioneered the modern tea ceremony, also insisted on the importance of hanging scrolls.
From the Edo period to the Meiji and Taisho eras, Japanese scrolls were developed as highly refined interior items decorating various Japanese rooms.

Types of Japanese Scrolls

Japanese wall scrolls can be roughly divided into three types.

sho  “Calligraphy”  絵 e and “Pictures”, and “works that combine both calligraphy and pictures.”

書 “Calligraphy”

Calligraphy works include 漢詩 Kanshi Chinese poems, and Japanese poems in forms including 和歌 waka, 俳句 haiku. Works have been created by, warlords, aristocrats, and monks, as well as modern-day political and business people and poets.

e

Paintings include ink paintings, Japanese paintings, hand drawn ukiyo-e paintings, and Japanese paintings after the Meiji era.

Pictures that are a combination of calligraphy and painting are called 詩画軸 Shigajiku “poetry axis”. These are composed of calligraphy drawn on the upper part of the vertical and pictures drawn on the lower. These works combine Chinese poems, poems, haiku, to match the picture.

There are also hanging scrolls made in Korea, which are similarly influenced by Chinese culture.

日本画 nihonga Japanese painting

Although hanging scroll art is introduced from China, there are many works that have evolved uniquely in Japan, such as 美人画 Bijinga “Paintings of Beautiful People” and 花鳥画 kachouga “Flower and Bird Paintings”.

Japanese wall scrolls are said to have undergone a dramatic increase in value with the rise of the hand-painted Ukiyo-e of the Edo period. During the Meiji and Taisho eras, Japanese scrolls and Japanese paintings existed in a symbiotic relationship where each helped raise the value of the other.

These works are recognized for their high artistic value as antiques.

中国掛軸 chugoku kakejiku Chinese hanging scrolls

The hanging scrolls drawn and displayed by Chinese artists are sometimes called 中国掛軸 chugoku kakejiku.

仏画 Butsuga Buddhist Japanese Scrolls

There are various compositions and types of Buddhist paintings. Motifs include 曼荼羅 mandala, 来迎図 raigouzu which depict the coming of the Amida Buddha, 六道絵 Rokudou-e which depict the six buddhist realms, and 高僧 Koso portraits of high priests.

水墨画 Sansuiga Ink paintings

The 山水 Sansui landscape painting, came to Japan from China along with the idea of Zen and became popular along with the new philosophies..

 

These ink paintings, also called sumi-e, are characterized by delicate and bold expressions using techniques such as “blurring” and “shading”.

花鳥画 Kachoga Flower and bird painting

Japanese Wall Scroll Buying Options

If you are after a Japanese Scroll, your options are for purchasing a scroll are:

  • Prints and Reproductions
  • Custom Made
  • Antiques

 

Prints and Reproductions

You can see a list of reproductions available on Amazon here

Custom & Hand Made

You can see a list of handmade scrolls on Etsy here

Antiques

Gifts

Gifts For Sushi Lovers

Need a gift for your sushi lover? We list our top 34 in categories for kitchen, dining, clothing, decor, and fun sushi stuff.

Read More »

In preparing this article we referred to the Japanese website Antique Kaitori (in Japanese)

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Contributor

Hi, I’m Peter.  I lived in Japan for four years as a University student completing a Masters Degree in Musicology.  I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1).  have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Japanese Wall Art

Japanese Wall Art - The Ultimate Gallery

Japanese aesthetics have been popular for more than a century. So much so that we have the term “Japonisme” to describe the wave of interest in Japanese culture in the 19th century. We’ve written about the influence of Japan on western architecture here.

So why not get a little Japanese artwork on your wall? We’ve created this gallery of Japanese wall art and Japanese posters to give you an overview of what’s out there. We’ve trawled through the cheesy images and more appalling items that are flogged to the gaijin market. If you’re in the market for a poster of a samurai warrior matched with the Kanji for “sushi”, this isn’ the place for you.

We’ve divided the images into some of the more popular categories of Japanese posters including Japanese movie posters and vintage Japanese posters. Images are available to purchase on the Redbubble store.

Japanese Posters

Japanese Movie Posters

Japanese poster for classic French film Amelie
Japanese 2001: A Space Odyssey poster
Frances Ha Japanese Poster
Japanese Blade Runner
Japanese Blues Brothers
Super Smash Brothers - The Movie Japanese

Vintage Japanese Posters

Japan has some amazingly beautiful vintage images, many of them originally advertisments for products. Perhaps most iconicallly, Japanese beer companies have a long tradition of creating advertisments with beautiful women swooming at over a glass of the amber ale. Here’s a few to get you started.

Vintage Yebisu Beer Poster
Vintage sugar company advertisment

Japanese Propaganda Posters

For this history buffs, here are some Japanese wartime propaganda images. These images serve as a visual reminder of the horrors of wartimes that we never want to revisit.

Japanese wartime magazine cover commorating the 2nd anniversary of the "Greate East Asian War" (WWII & sino-Japanese war)
Japanese propaganda image urging to "Mobilise the Japanese Spirit"
WW2 Japanese Propaganda Poster urgin "residents to be vigilent"

Look for more Japanese wall art options on Redbubble

**I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links