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Noren, No Life: An Everyday Element of Japanese Culture

Originally, noren would protect a house from wind, dust, and rain. In the summer months before air-conditioning existed, for instance, you would keep the door open to maintain the airflow.

Team JJ

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If you’ve spent any length of time in Japan, you’ll notice many doors with large rectangular pieces of fabric hanging in front of them.

Some are colourful and some aren’t. Some have Japanese characters or words written on them, while others simply have patterns.

Depending on the time of day, they might be folded over the top of the bamboo pole from which they hang. These fabric curtains are known as ‘noren.’


Introducing noren

Noren are, essentially, fabric dividers. They can be hung over doors, between rooms, in windows, and even on walls. Most people will be familiar with them as curtains to push aside when you enter certain restaurants or shops.

Originally, noren would protect a house from wind, dust, and rain. In the summer months before air-conditioning existed, for instance, you would keep the door open to maintain the airflow. But to prevent too much dust flying into the house, you needed an extra barrier. Noren were a perfect lightweight solution.


(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on September 29, 2019. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more.)

Tokyo based Japan Journeys delivers the inside scoop on travel destinations, tips and experiences. Visit their website to discover more about Japanese culture, great travel itineraries and the very best things to do in Japan.