Noren/暖簾/Shop Curtains: A Japanese Tradition 1~3


A beautiful turnip noren at Tomii, Shizuoka City!

When visiting Japan, have you ever noticed those unusual “curtains” hanging outside the main entrance of traditional shops, izakayas and sometimes of private homes?
They are called “noren”.

Noren (暖簾) are traditional Japanese fabric dividers, hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways, or in windows. They usually have one or more vertical slits cut from the bottom to nearly the top of the fabric, allowing for easier passage or viewing. Noren are rectangular (but not always a rule) and come in many different materials, sizes, colors, and patterns.

Noren are traditionally used by shops and restaurants as a means of protection from sun, wind, and dust, and for advertising space. Sentō (commercial bathhouses) also place noren across their entrances, typically blue in color for men and red for women with the kanji 湯 (yu, litterally hot water) or the corresponding hiragana ゆ. They are also hung in the front entrance to a shop to signify that the establishment is open for business, and they are always taken down at the end of the business day.

There are still many left in Shizuoka City and Prefecture in spite of all that modernizing and I do meet a lot of them along my bicycle wanderings. It would be a pity not to share their sight, as it would make for beautiful souvenires to take back home next time you visit Japan!

Accordingly here is the first of hopefully many postings on those little beauties!

A long, sober and narrow one. Pristine white!

For the night owls!

Chibariyo, an Okinawa restaurant.

Izakaya noren: Kurumaya.

Another izakaya nore, very feminine?

Simple design and pretty complicated characters!

Mishimaya, a Soba Restaurant. Very basic and simple.

Masa Sushi Restaurant. Another basic and simple Noren.



A very traditional style for a oden-ya!

A large noren for a large izakaya, Taihei!

A double entrance for that izakaya with the noren inside a torii gate!

Elegant rabbit!

Great calligraphy!

Very modern approach by this cheaper kind of izakaya!

A traditional matsuri/festival “flag”!

A very large noren in front of a Japanese restaurant!

You probably guessed this is a Chinese restaurant!
Actually “Chinese restaurants” in Japan are of two kind: Japanese-style serving ramen, gyza and stir-fried food as above and rea Chinese restaurants!

Unusual noren in front of a shop selling all kinds of artifacts from cloth to pottery.

A small Japanese traditional cloth store!

A typical small Izakaya!

Prancing rabbits!

An inviting “Tanuki”/racoon at an Izakaya!

Traditional Yakitori Izakaya!

Found this beautiful calligraphy at the end of a small alley!

“Hashi/Bridge”, an izakaya specializing in local Japanese sake I haven’t visited yet!

8 thoughts on “Noren/暖簾/Shop Curtains: A Japanese Tradition 1~3”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: