The Japanese House is built using traditional Japanese joinery construction. There are no screws or nails used in the framing; the ends of the pieces of wood are chiseled and cut so that they fit together tightly and strongly. The House is built in layers, each grid fitting next to or on top of the previous one, sharing the weight and the stress. There is evidence of the hand of the carpenters in several places, such as the pine pillar separating the alcove and shrine, where a carpenter deliberately chipped the wood to vary its appearance.
Shinto is Japan's indigenous religion, which is still practiced today. It is a set of practices that connects Japan to its ancient roots and to nature. Many Shinto traditions, such as festivals and shrine visits, are a part of Japanese culture, and are observed even by people of other religions, or those with no religion. Therefore, when The Japanese House came to Boston, Shinto played an important role. A total of five Shinto ceremonies were held for the House, to ensure that it will always keep the essence of Japan.