Posts Tagged ‘Japanese home decor’

What is a Japanese Noren?

Friday, October 14th, 2016

A noren is a traditional Japanese door curtain or Japanese fabric divider.  They are hung in doorways, windows or even to conceal a hall or storage closet. Most feature a sleeve along the top for a curtain rod or bamboo rod for easy hanging.  The most common noren is rectangular, but you can also find ‘half door’ or ‘top door’ noren for specialized styles.  Noren normally have a slit that runs from the bottom to nearly the top. This makes it easier to pass through the curtain.

These Japanese dividers may be used to enhance any room or doorway.  Noren are also used professionally in business. Restaurants and small businesses use these in doorways to help keep out dust or as a buffer against the sun. Business owners often print their name and logo on these to draw more attention to their place. Outdoor noren used in businesses allow customers to know if the business is open or closed. The curtains are hung in the morning when they open and taken down at the end of the day when they close their shops.  These are popular in Asian restaurants to separate the kitchen and dining room.  Noren softens noise and can trap odors in the kitchen.

Noren are available in many styles and patterns including written kanji or calligraphy, fish, birds, poems, temples, mountains, scenery, characters and people.  Chopa Zen Home recently added several new patterns.  Our favorite is the Kinkaku-ji Temple noren. The Kinkaku-ji temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) resides in Kyoto, Japan and was built to house Buddhist relics.  Across the water, an elegant Maiko (Geisha trainee) strolling the garden has stopped to admire the temple. You will enjoy the vivid colors and symbolic designs of this noren. This noren is made by artisans in Japan.

Japanese noren curtain

Noren – Kinkakuji Temple

Pembroke Springs Retreat – Japan meets the country Bed & Breakfast

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

A weekend getaway is a great way to unwind and reenergize. A popular alternative to the traditional hotel is a Bed & Breakfast. Bed and Breakfasts often provide a much homier feel as well as personal touches and attention. Nestled on 175 acres of beautiful forest and surrounded by mountains is The Pembroke Springs Retreat.  Located in Star Tannery, Virginia, this serene B&B provides a country feel with distinctive touches of Japan.

The Retreat features five rooms, each with gorgeous mountain views.  Each room is decorated in a separate theme and has its own bathroom.  Guests are provided Yukata (Japanese bathrobes) to enjoy during their stay.  In the morning guests are treated to an authentic Japanese breakfast. This typically includes grilled fish, rice, seaweed, vegetables, egg, miso soup and fruit.  Guests may request an American style breakfast and the innkeepers will accommodate vegans.

During the day, guests can enjoy nature walks on the miles of trails on the property, observing the abundant wildlife and taking in the amazing views of the mountains.  Play a game of tennis on the all-weather tennis court or fish in the pond for bluegill and bass. The area is rich in history, from both the French and Indian wars to the Civil War.   There are endless antique stores in nearby areas.

One of the highlights of the retreat, are the two large Japanese baths which are fed with their natural spring waters. The ofuro has been used by the Japanese for centuries to alleviate both physical and spiritual maladies.  This ancient technique of immersion in hot water removes tensions, stress and soothes muscular pains.

While each of the five rooms has a variance of features, the Sunrise room brings Japan to you.  Facing the east and overlooking the forest, this splendid room features shoji screens, tatami mats and a horigotatsu or sunken table.

While the area hosts a variety of restaurants within a half hour drive, guests won’t want to miss dinner service (check availability). You can view images of the tasty meals presented by an obviously very talented chef on Facebook []. These dishes are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious.  The innkeepers of this Bed & Breakfast jewel are Walter and Taeko Floyd.  The manager is Lisa Floyd.  To learn more about Pembroke Springs Retreat, visit their website