Old Japanese house in rural area has had a wide entrance hall called “Doma (土間)”, where domestic animals such as horses or cows once used to live. Domestic animals were a sort of family members, because those have been served to cultivate field and transport people. Doma also served as a place for threshing crops and make straw crafts such as ropes (nawa) and mats（goza）. In short, Doma has been a space designed as an indoor workplace.
We don’t think that our house’s Doma really served to keep animals, but it surely served as a workplace. Still today, we are happy to have that Doma to cut timbers and assemble them for making wisteria trellis (Fujidana or 藤棚).
Doma literally means “room with earthen floor”. The floor is earthy but hard and flat, made by clay added with lime and salt.
Doma has two windows with no glass, that in order for smoke to go out of the house as smoothly as possible (the notion of chimney has been non-existent in old Japan). In old days, people have also been using Doma as kitchen, to cook rice and boil water with fire.
The entrance door is very wide.
But the entrance can also be made very small in order to prevent strangers to penetrate.