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30 Examples of Modern Japanese Houses

CEO Khai Intela
Japanese architecture has long been admired for its simplicity and minimalism. However, modern Japanese houses are breaking the mold and introducing new design elements that captivate the imagination. Influenced by architectural legends like Le Corbusier,...

Japanese architecture has long been admired for its simplicity and minimalism. However, modern Japanese houses are breaking the mold and introducing new design elements that captivate the imagination. Influenced by architectural legends like Le Corbusier, as well as Chinese and Korean architecture, Japanese homes have become a sought-after style worldwide.

Embracing Modernity

While traditional Japanese homes with shoji screens, tatami mats, and minimal furniture are still marvels, there is a growing movement towards modernity. Architects are now exploring innovative ways to manipulate traditional techniques and create unique living spaces.

Below, we present a curated collection of 30 modern Japanese houses that showcase the ingenuity and creativity of contemporary architects.

House in Kyoto - by 07BEACH

Location: Kyoto, Japan Completion Year: 2019

Designed for a couple and their young children, the House in Kyoto by 07BEACH embraces simplicity and open space. The timber-clad home features a tatami mat room on the first floor, paying homage to traditional Japanese architecture. To add a sentimental touch, a young tree is placed within the double-height living room, symbolizing growth alongside the children throughout the years.

House in Kyoto Image: House in Kyoto ©Ohtake, Y. (2019). (Archdaily)

Sakaushi House in Tokyo - by Taku Sakaushi

Location: Tokyo, Japan Completion Year: 2019

Architect Taku Sakaushi designed this 50 square meter home for himself and his wife in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. Despite planning regulations and restrictions, Sakaushi creatively utilized the limited space by moving the living area to the upper floor and the work/study room to the middle level. The result is a visually striking structure with unique sightlines that create a sense of pause and discovery.

Sakaushi House Sakaushi House ©Kawasaki, R. (2019). (Archdaily)

House in Toyonaka - by FujiwaraMuro Architects

Location: Toyonaka, Japan Completion Year: 2018

Sunlight and privacy were the guiding principles behind the design of this concrete home in Toyonaka. With limited views and a dense neighborhood, FujiwaraMuro Architects divided the house into three boxes, creating voids that allow fresh air, sunlight, and unobstructed views to fill the space. This simple yet innovative design showcases how modern Japanese architecture can meet the needs of its occupants with creativity and ingenuity.

House in Toyonaka House in Toyonaka ©Katsuya, T. (2018). (Archdaily)

Stone House - by Hiroshi Sambuichi

Location: The Junction of 3 Prefectures: Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane Completion Year: 2006

Hiroshi Sambuichi's Stone House is a testament to the harmonious coexistence between architecture and nature. Designed with natural and reused materials, this home is climate-resistant and in tune with its surroundings. The embedded stones protect residents from the harsh winter winds and create a cool retreat in the summer months, showcasing the beauty of Japanese architectural mastery.

Stone House Stone House ©Shinkenchu-sha. (2006). (Archdaily)

Rokko House in Kobe - by Yo Shimada

Location: Kobe, Japan Completion Year: 2011

Designed by Japanese architect Yo Shimada, the Rokko House demonstrates a deep respect for the environment while offering commanding views of the city of Kobe. Situated on a steep slope, the house features a transparent ground floor and a more private second floor. By seamlessly connecting the indoors with nature, Shimada allows residents and visitors to fully immerse themselves in the breathtaking surroundings.

Rokko House Rokko House ©Suzuki, K. (2011). (Designboom)

Pettanco House - by Yuji Tanabe Architects

Location: Matsumoto, Japan Completion Year: 2015

The Pettanco House showcases the craftsmanship of wood artisans in Matsumoto, a skill that has been renowned since Japan's Edo period. Designed for a wood craftsman himself, the home features a gallery space to display his works. Yuji Tanabe, the architect, embraced the Japanese architectural module of 4ken x 6ken, resulting in a modern, open space with low ceilings and minimal detailing. This multi-functional home effortlessly transitions from public to private areas, offering a harmonious living experience.

Pettanco House Pettanco House ©Tanabe, Y. (2015). (Archdaily)

Window House in Kamakura - by Muji

Location: Kamakura, Japan Completion Year: 2016

Adapted from a design by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the Window House is an 80 square meter home situated in Kamakura. The open layout across two levels allows for flexibility and adaptability to different plot requirements. Inspired by traditional English country houses, the form of the house features strategically placed frameless windows that bring in ample light, ventilation, and stunning views of the garden.

Window House Window House ©Keikaku, R. (2016). (Wallpaper)

Ikema House - by 1100 Architects

Location: Okinawa Prefecture, Japan Completion Year: 2016

Perched high on Japan's remote island, the Ikema House offers breathtaking views of the East China Sea. Built with concrete to withstand extreme weather conditions, the home seamlessly blends traditional Japanese materials with a modern cliff-top design. Divided into two levels, the house maximizes privacy while providing panoramic views of the sea. Traditional Japanese elements such as shoji screens, wood paneling, and tatami mats create a harmonious interior space.

Ikema House Ikema House ©Sato, S. (2016). (1100 Architects)

M House - by Ryuji Nakamura

Location: Eastern Japan Completion Year: 2016

Inspired by his mentor, renowned Japanese architect Jun Aoki, Ryuji Nakamura designed the M House with modesty and elegance. Sitting between two roads, the site presented challenges in terms of building and landscaping. Nakamura embraced strict regulations and slightly modified the client's concepts into four main elements: garden, exterior, structure, and interior. The resulting reinforced concrete frame house clad in white brick tiles offers a calm and inviting living space.

M House M House ©Nakamura, R. (2016). (Ryuji Nakamura & Associates)

Okinawa Vacation House - by Pawson Architects

Location: Okinawa, Japan Completion Year: 2016

Designed as an escape from the bustling city life of Tokyo, the Okinawa Vacation House offers tranquility and relaxation. Developed by Taishi Kanemura from Pawson's London office, this home is influenced by the site's catenary curve. Three intersecting masses house different functions, from single-story living spaces to double-story bedrooms. The diagonal footprint funnels views towards the ocean while providing privacy for the family. A minimalist interior blends English and Japanese architecture, creating a serene retreat.

Okinawa Vacation House Okinawa Vacation House ©Nacasa & Partners. (2016). (Dezeen)

Discover the Beauty of Modern Japanese Architecture

These 30 examples of modern Japanese houses are just a glimpse into the world of contemporary Japanese architecture. From the simplicity of timber-clad designs to the innovative use of concrete and traditional elements, each home tells a unique story and offers a distinct living experience. Explore the rich diversity of Japanese architecture and be inspired by the creativity of these talented architects.

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