Where Are the Best Japanese Furniture Brands? (Where Can I Buy It In the USA?)

The Japanese culture has intrigued numerous Western countries for decades and in all aspects. Interestingly, the Japanese furniture makes space look ‘sparse.’ The items feature a small size attributed to the Japanese floor culture.

When you enter the Japanese households today, you will notice little difference from their ancestors. You will likely find no chairs, only some mats or cushions to sit or sleep on. Instead of a bed, they sleep on unique bedding known as a futon.

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Generally, the Japanese lifestyle is on the floor. These people love doing almost everything while on the floor. Their furniture, like beds, tables, and chairs, is small.

The Japanese also use the furniture they require. They don’t have room for extras or unnecessary items.

Any item in a Japanese household has value. That’s why there’s not much furniture in their homes. It also explains their minimalist culture.

Because of their love and commitment to their culture, the Japanese have managed to embrace it until now. The Japanese pride in their culture has made it possible to introduce it to the outside world.

It explains why furniture was used centuries ago in a modern Japanese home. You will also encounter such items from another country or culture in a person’s household.

Though today’s Japanese furniture has a modern touch to accommodate the civilized lifestyle, it still looks like the ancient types. Because of their simplicity and small size, they save a lot of space in a room.

As a result, most Westerners love them and have started using them in their homes.

New artisans have evolved throughout history, passing on the skills to the upcoming generations. Today, various brands of Japanese furniture exist. This article will teach you about Japanese furniture and the available brands.

If you live in the USA, you need not forget where to get your Japanese furniture. Continue reading to grasp where to purchase some. But before then, let us look into how Japanese furniture emerged and evolved.

The Discovery and Development of the Japanese Furniture

Japanese style home furniture and cabinets

Japanese furniture was discovered centuries ago by the ancient Japanese. The purpose of the handmade household items was to cater to the following;

  • Sleep
  • Sit
  • Store
  • Prayer

There was no room for free furniture. Any item placed in a room had a purpose and was designed simply. Like other cultures, Japanese furniture has evolved.

The household stuff keeps on getting updated to better and more comfortable versions. But despite this, they still keep the traditional touch, focusing on the Japanese floor culture.

That’s why the furniture maintains its small size today. Here is how the units evolved based on their use;

I. Sitting and Sleeping

Sleeping and sitting on the floor led to the innovation of sleeping mats called tatami in the olden days. The rug was made using rice straws, making them comfortable to sit and sleep on.

Maintaining the tatami was easy. After using, the Japanese would sweep out the dirt and hang it outside to dry.

Also, it was a habit for the Japanese to remove their shoes at the door before entering their homes.

The idea was to avoid soiling the mats and keeping them clean for an extended period. The mats’ edges were finished in a particular way to conform to various rooms’ dimensions.

Due to their minimalist culture, Japanese houses are usually tiny. They typically divide the room using a removable temporary wall called a sliding shoji screen to create space. These screens also get used to open up space.

When you remove a sliding shoji screen that separates space from the outside, you open it to the beautiful scenery of nature and fresh air.

As the Japanese interacted with the outside world, they copied some aspects that improved longevity and comfort.

The tatami evolved into cushions or pads. Even though they were slightly higher than the mat, the pillows and rugs still embraced the floor culture. They are also easy to clean and maintain.

In the 21st century, modern artisans have embraced the idea of seats and chairs, giving rise to short-legged chairs, called Kotatsu Sofa, paired with low tables. You will find them in different designs.

II. Storage

The earliest Japanese storage furniture emerged in the 18th C as wooden chests known as tansu. The cupboards came plain but consisted of some iron decoration and strapping.

Because Japan is usually hit by natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes, the chest handles are installed at the sides. In that position, it was easy to remove them in case of a disaster.

Kitchen stuff got stored in chests known as mizuya. The kitchen storage chests were installed behind the sliding kitchen doors. Then, another kind of chest known as Kaidan tansu got developed. It looked and functioned like a staircase.

Modern storage areas and items have been incorporated into traditional Japanese storage furniture in recent years. In most Japanese homes, you will find drawers, cupboards, cabinets, baskets, and other items for storing things.

III. Prayer

In ancient Japan, people used to worship around their fireplaces. As time passed, they developed some pieces of furniture to place their worship items and accessories. The ancient Japanese used short-legged tables to place small altars and other prayer items.

The prayer furniture led to altars for Buddha, their God. Some were big and stood by themselves, while others were small altars. What constituted an altar and its size was the wealth and ability of the household.

Today, you will see some modern altars and places of prayer incorporated in the Japanese prayer furniture.

The Japanese culture embraces nature, and it is illustrated in their furniture.

Natural wood and stone are used in making the furniture. It is the reason you will find rock gardens in most Japanese households.

The idea is to create nature’s beauty of randomness and imperfection.

Some furniture like tables comes designed with unpolished wood, exposing the wood’s grains and natural color. It also illustrates the Japanese life of simplicity.

Unlike most cultures, Japanese furniture is designed based on certain principles—no wonder the items illustrate the Japanese beliefs and lifestyle so well. You will see nature and the minimalistic style in their furniture.

Before we look into various top Japanese furniture brands and where you can buy one if in the USA, let us look into the guidelines used in creating various Japanese furniture

Guidelines Used in Making Japanese Furniture

japanese style living room

How Japanese furniture is made depends on the principles guiding Japanese interior design.

The item must comply with the set rules, illustrating the Japanese’s minimalistic and straightforward culture. All Japanese furniture consists of the following aspects;

i. Flexible and Various Uses

The focus is usually on the value of something. That is why the Japanese make their furniture for many purposes. Regarding this, the item must be able to be transformed into being used for something else.

It explains why the futon gets used to sleeping, relaxing, and sitting.

Most furniture also comes small or short, short-legged, and consists of a folding feature to create space for another use. It is also effortless to move such furniture and use the occupied area.

The Japanese tables are used for various things like eating, studying, entertainment, or catching up with family members or friends through chatting.

ii. Illustrate Nature

It is a no-brainer: the Japanese love nature. During certain times that hold people indoors, like winter, people disconnect from the outside world.

The Japanese decided to give their furniture a touch of nature to compensate for this. As a result, they feel connected to nature while indoors.

It is why you will find furniture made with natural and untreated materials like wood and stones. The building material’s natural texture and color on such items can be seen. If wood gets used, you can see the grains, the defects available, and their natural color.

Others paint pictures illustrating nature on their furniture or walls. Great examples are trees, birds, and water bodies.

It is also why the Japanese love placing live plants in their homes. They make pots for putting in the plants using natural materials like bamboo.

The Japanese love for nature does not tire them of watering and caring for indoor plants. Their commitment is on another level!

iii. Enhance Natural Light

Though there are numerous light sources, the Japanese love using natural light, creating their furniture to allow light to pass through.

The materials used in making the carpets and other furniture, such as glass and fiber, are transparent.

Other furniture types, like the shoji, come with paper screens to allow light to pass through and enhance privacy as you cannot see through them. The love for natural light is why Japanese homes contain sliding doors and sheeted windows.

iv. Simplicity

Since centuries ago, the Japanese embraced simplicity. Anything they had in their homes was for a specific purpose. It is a feature illustrated in their furniture.

The Japanese furniture contains no extras or decorations. An uncluttered appearance characterizes them. You can find some with decorations done sparingly to improve their look, but they still look simple.

v. Minimalism

The Japanese furniture is an excellent showcase of their minimalist culture. The items feature simple, minimal, or no decorations and details. Because of their love for nature, the Japanese love building their furniture using natural materials.

The furniture is never complicated and illustrates clean lines, complex joinery, and intricate engineering. To the Japanese, simplicity is cozy and aesthetic. What seems less offers more to the eye.

But what’s essential to Japanese furniture is its function.

Interestingly, most outside world cultures have adopted the Japanese minimalist culture. You will find most Japanese furniture in their homes. Others create things with aspects of Japanese furniture.

vi. Neutral Colors

The colors you’ll find on Japanese furniture have a connection to nature. Most materials used in making the furniture are natural, and the artisans leave the colors unaltered.

When an item gets designed from stone, you will see its gray color or the natural color of the specific stone.

Those made from wood come with brown colors of different shades based on the wood type used. When artificial colors are used on Japanese furniture, neutral palettes like off-whites, browns, blacks, and grays are used.

vii. A Touch of the Japanese Culture

Even though some Japanese furniture has incorporated some modern aspects, they still portray Japanese people’s culture. If it is the tables and chairs, they come short-legged.

The futon is also foldable so that it can easily be converted into a couch from a mattress.

Like the old Japanese furniture, most come made with natural materials and contain little detail.

All furniture embraces the Japanese floor culture.

viii. Embraces the Natural Imperfection

People from Japan appreciate the fact that not all things are perfect. According to them, natural imperfections are also beautiful.

An excellent example is a wood defect. Instead of hiding the damage or defect, the Japanese use woodblocks to create furniture and showcase the fault.

The side with the defect could appear on the upper side of the item for everyone to see. You will also see furniture made with cracked stones or materials with various natural colors. The idea is to expose the beauty of natural imperfection.

During tea ceremonies in Zen Buddhism, the Japanese used irregularly shaped and unevenly glazed teapots. The pots were handmade and highly prized by the Zen masters.

Today, furniture aspects of different cultures have been fused into Japanese furniture. But they still use the above principles in their making.

Experts in making Japanese furniture have emerged, and their brands are top on the market today.

For insight, the following are the top Japanese furniture brands you can find on the market today.

Top Japanese Furniture Brands

1. Tendo Mokko

Tendo Mokko is a renowned brand of Japanese quality furniture. It is located in Japan, at a place called Tendo. Established in 1940, the company has gained experience and skills in making Japanese furniture of various kinds.

The maker uses ‘molded plywood’ to make its furniture, winning many customers’ hearts worldwide.

You can even find the best kotatsu tables and chairs in here.

The brand has won numerous awards, making them our number one on the list of top Japanese furniture brands.

Examples of their great pieces of furniture are the Butterfly chair and Heron rocking chair.

Furniture from Tendo Mokko is easy to use and lasts long. Today, the company has partnered with other architects from Japan to expand and meet the needs of various customers.

As a result, the brand has incorporated materials other than natural ones in making the furniture.

2. Karimoku

Like the Tendo Mokko, it is a leading maker of Japanese furniture. The brand produces products based on its customers’ needs. As a result, the company has made high-quality Japanese furniture pieces like their Case Study line of chairs.

The brand has been open to partnerships with other experts in its effort to produce the best and what its customers want. In the past, Karimoku collaborated with a renowned manufacturer called Bearbricks.

The duo produced limited-edition models costing a lot of money.

3. Maruni

In 1928, the company was established. Up to date, the brand is a guru in making quality products. It knows the ropes of making Japanese furniture of different kinds using wood.

Building structures like Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples contribute to the brand’s rich furniture-making experience.

Initially, the company concentrated on making pure Japanese furniture. Because of the influence of the outside world, the brand also makes designs copied from Europe.

Like the Maruni Hiroshima chairs, their products are cherished worldwide for their top-notch quality.

4. Hida Furniture

As its name suggests, the company is based in the Hida Mountains. The west side of the company is full of forests, making the wood, its key material for building furniture, accessible.

Established over a century ago, the brand is rich in skills and experience making Japanese furniture.

Because of its quality and long-lasting products, Hida Furniture has attracted the world’s attention. Customers worldwide import their furniture.

Hida Furniture makes pure and modern aspects-integrated furniture to accommodate their numerous customers’ preferences.

The brand’s furniture designs are unique and durable. Currently, the company has explored its potential by doing green manufacturing. It is one of the leading Japanese furniture manufacturers on the market today.

5. Muji

It’s a Japanese chain store founded in 1980. The company’s three core principles – material selection, process streaming, and simplified packaging, have seen it soaring the market ladder.

Muji supplies high-quality Japanese furniture at an affordable price. No wonder the company has customers all over the world.

You need not worry about getting Muji products if you do not live in Japan. The company has over 7,000 stores around the world. The store next door could be one of them!

What’s interesting is that Muji also sells products other than furniture. You can buy things like food, clothes, and houses from this entity.

6. Truck Furniture

The brand was started in 1997 by two renowned architects Hiromi Karatsu and Tokuhiko Kise. The furniture made by this company emphasizes the nature of the natural building material.

Driven by the quality and value of furniture pieces, Truck Furniture has succeeded in making top-notch Japanese furniture.

Each piece of furniture showcases its connection with nature through the exposed cracks and knots of the wood used in its making. The products are pleasing to look at and enhance the appearance of a room.

The above brands and other Japanese furniture can be found in Japan and other countries worldwide. If you are living in the USA and wondering where to find your favorite piece of Japanese furniture, look in the following places;

Where to Buy Japanese Furniture in the USA

a) Japanese Furniture Stores

Like other people around the world, Americans have embraced the Japanese culture. You will find most Japanese furniture in American homes and offices because of its simplicity and space-saving features.

Suppose you stay in New York and would love some Japanese furniture for your place of work, stores like Glenwood Office Furniture will sort you out. You will enjoy the best reception, office desks, and workstation furniture with a Japanese touch.

Macy’s will ensure you get the correct Japanese item for every room in your home or office.

You can also find Japanese stores in New York that carry Japanese furniture.

If you want a Japanese minimalist bedroom look, visit The Clean Bedroom, Horizon Window Treatments, and Canal Furniture for inspiration and beautiful pieces.

Residents of Los Angeles, CA can find Japanese furniture of their choice from the following stores;

  • Sit ‘n Sleep
  • Mattress Central
  • Best Los Angeles Mattress
  • Mattress Central
  • Mattress Pros
  • Custom Comfort Mattress

There are many Japanese furniture stores in the US. You won’t have a hard time finding a store that sells kotatsu sofas in the United States.

The above stores are from a long list. You can visit the place and order your furniture on-site if you live near any of them. If not, you have the option of buying from the stores online.

b) Second-Hand Shops

If you are on a budget and require a particular piece of Japanese furniture, check inside any recycling or second-hand shops near you. The shops are usually spread out everywhere in the USA. You only need to check out for their sign.

You can also recognize such stores by the products they display outside and inside.

c) Sales Sites

With the advancement of technology, business people have been able to create various advertising and marketing platforms. Great examples of such e-commerce platforms are;

  • Amazon
  • Etsy
  • eBay
  • Wayfair
  • Best Buy
  • Lowe’s
  • Target
  • Home Depot


As discussed above, Japanese furniture brands have taken over the furniture market worldwide. Thanks to their minimalistic characteristics and their connection with nature.

They also serve their purposes fully, as they save space. Due to the outside world’s influence, some of them have incorporated aspects of modern furniture.

Others remain unaltered. Whether made originally or with a modern touch, Japanese furniture has won many people’s hearts from different cultures. If you are a US citizen, it is not a wonder to find Japanese furniture in several American homes or offices.

As illustrated above, you can find Japanese furniture from several sources in the USA. You don’t have to go to Japan to buy some. There are millions of physical and online stores to buy from.

You have no excuse for not owning your favorite piece of Japanese furniture while living in the USA!