Irori, the fireplace in Japanese homes

04 Nov 2016 in Discover Japan

The irori, a key feature of the Japanese interior, has a practical use in that it provides heating, but that is not its sole function...


Irori is the term for the fireplace in a traditional Japanese house.

A useful tool

Irori kitchen in Japan

Japanese cuisine

The irori is primarily used for cooking food. Hanging from the Jizai-kagi, a long metal rod suspended from the ceiling with a hook at the end, a kettle provides a constant supply of hot water for making tea. Vegetables, fish and meat are cooked in a large metal cauldron. Potatoes and other root vegetables are placed directly on the ashes.

Bamboo baskets hang from the corners and can be used either to smoke various foods, or to keep them warm. And as proof of its importance, the irori is tried to never die out. The embers are kept overnight, ready to be revived at daybreak.

Traditional and contemporary irori

Romantic dinner in Japan

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Echoing traditional living space, Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya has installed a fireplace as the focal point of its lounge. This contemporary, stylish irori is a place everyone can settle down around for a cup of tea or coffee.

The fireplace’s extraordinary size gives its surroundings a real identity. It even seems to have a certain magnetic quality, because so many people settle down here, despite the comfortable sofas nearby.

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