Japanese Micro Homes

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Japanese micro homes are a delight! There are these peculiar but cute tiny houses that are a fad in Japan nowadays. As we all know, the Japanese are very diligent people. Also, they like efficiency so much that they almost applied it to virtually every aspect of their daily lives. Going back to Japanese micro homes, before we go off-topic, these homes are one concrete symbol of Japanese efficiency and ingenuity. And of course, their great value for culture.

The history (well sort of) of Japanese Mirco Homes

As I said, Japanese people value efficiency and culture. So how are these two values connected to micro homes? Well, efficiency simply means avoiding waste. It is the maximum use of resources. Space is the most significant resource to houses, so this resource’s efficient utilization is of the highest priority.

As the world’s population increases, resources like space are starting to, well, decrease. As space becomes more and more scarce, its prices go up. That is why housing is now becoming more and more expensive.

In the early 1990s, there is an increasing housing cost in Japan, especially in large cities. More and more people cannot afford a regular-sized house, guess what, switch to micro homes. Micro homes, as with the term, use lot space. Usually, these small spaces are “left-overs” of rapid urban planning that are too small for commercial or even regular residential use.

Culture is the character of a society, and the Japanese love their culture. Personally, I admire them a lot because they can blend their tradition with their technologies.

Along with culture comes history. According to architect Kengo Kuma, jutaku, or micro home, traces its origin on the essay by Kamo no Chomei with the title Hōjōki(often translated as An Account of My Hut or Ten Foot Square Hut). In his short work, he describes the joys of living in a small house, as he did, where he built a small house in the mountain.


Mirco homes are lovely buildings. What made them unique is the fact that they are tiny. The limited space provided for these house sparks creativity to architects. One example here is the Love2 House by architect Takeshi Hosaka. Here, the hight roof gives that airy and spacious feeling.

Veteran designer of Japanese micro homes, Yasuhiro Yamashita, points 10 design strategies to make most of the small space that micro homes provide.

  • Embrace the awkward
  • Build toward the sky
  • Incorporate nature
  • Think outside the box
  • Go monochrome
  • Use reflective materials
  • Hide storage
  • Stay close to home
  • Invent new solutions
  • Personalize your home

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