Japanese floor lights have been a popular phenomenon in both Japan and the Western world. These unique and beautifully designed lights have a rich history and cultural significance that dates back centuries. They are not only aesthetically pleasing but also serve as a source of illumination for Japanese homes, temples, and gardens.

In this article, we will explore the history, design, and significance of Japanese floor lights, as well as the benefits of incorporating them into your home décor.

History and Significance

Japanese floor lights, also known as “Andon,” have been a prominent feature in Japanese homes and public landmarks for centuries. The word Andon consists of two kanji characters, “an” meaning “light,” and “don” meaning “paper-covered.” The paper coverings were traditionally made from handcrafted Japanese paper called “washi.”

The creation of Andon dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868) when streets were poorly lit, and fires were a prevalent threat to homes built mostly of wood and paper. Andon lights were created as a solution to this problem by providing a portable, yet stable source of illumination.

Andon was also an essential item in Japanese tea ceremonies, where the light emitted from the paper-covered lamps created a soothing and calming atmosphere. In Buddhist temples, Andon lights were used to symbolize Enlightenment, which is seen as the light that guides people out of the darkness of ignorance.


Traditional Andon lights were made of bamboo or a wooden frame covered with handmade washi paper. The paper was often decorated with intricate patterns of flowers, animals, or landscapes. The paper shades were usually held together with wooden or metal clasps, and the light source was a candle or the flame from an oil lamp.

Today, Andon lights have evolved to include modern materials and designs without sacrificing their traditional appeal. The bamboo and wooden frames have been replaced with metal or plastic, and LED or electric lighting has replaced candles and oil lamps. However, the paper coverings still play a vital role in the design, as they diffuse the light, creating a warm and serene atmosphere.

Incorporating Japanese Floor Lights into your Home Décor

Nowadays, Japanese floor lights are not only found in Japan but have become a popular item in homes and buildings worldwide. Incorporating Japanese floor lights into your home décor can create a tranquil ambiance, enhance the aesthetics of the room, and promote a sense of relaxation.

Andon lights come in various styles, sizes, and colors, and there is an option to suit every taste and room décor. For example, a simple wooden base with a washi shade can complement a minimalist or traditional interior, while a more intricate metal frame with a contemporary pattern can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to a modern home.

Benefits of Japanese Floor Lights

Apart from their aesthetic appeal, Japanese floor lights come with several benefits that make them an excellent addition to your home décor.


The warm, soft glow of the light emitted from Japanese floor lights can create a serene and relaxing environment, which is perfect for unwinding after a stressful day or practicing meditation.


LED or electric lighting systems used in modern Andon lights are more energy-efficient than traditional lighting sources, such as candles or oil lamps.

Design Flexibility

With their variety of designs, sizes, and colors, Japanese floor lights can complement any home décor style, enabling you to create a unique and artistic ambiance.


The lightweight and portable nature of Japanese floor lamps make them easy to move around to different parts of the house, depending on your needs.

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