Architecture Culture Design

Japanese Micro Homes That Redefine Living Small

Low interest rates and high inheritance taxes as well as the impending danger posed by the country’s regular earthquakes and typhoons have caused the demand for small houses in Japan in recent years. But some residents really love idea of minimalist lifestyle and seeking for smaller houses.

Japanese architect Yasuhiro Yamashita of Atelier Tekuto thinks there’s nothing more beautiful. A famous designer  kyosho jutaku – or micro homes – Yamashita has built more than 300 houses, each uniquely shaped and packed full of personality. All of them have different look the only thing these homes have in common is their size – Yamashita’s projects start at just 182 square feet.



“In Japan, there’s a saying (‘tatte hanjo nete ichijo’) that you don’t need more than half a tatami mat to stand and a full mat to sleep,” says Yamashita. “The idea comes from Zen – and a belief that we don’t need more than the fundamentals.”



“In Japan, about 70% is mountains and forest and 30% of the land is rather flat, making it more suitable for residences and rice farms. Even so, we are not trying to fight against nature – we’re trying to live along with it. You can see this in the homes we design. Most of our homes incorporate natural materials and large windows to let in lots of natural light.”



“Instead of traditional square corners, I often cut the edges of the house into triangular shapes. This creates more surface area and more room for windows. There’s always a corner open to the sky. That way, as the sun moves, the home is always filled with natural light.”



“To trick the eye, I use polished stainless steel features. They reflect light and make an area seem larger. In ‘Reflection of Mineral,’ for example, I used stainless steel in the kitchen and in the bathroom to make the space feel more expansive.”




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