Incredible Japanese houses 素晴らしい日本の家

Unique homes

Minimalist, transparent, dreamlike, avant-garde… There is no shortage of adjectives when it comes to detailing some of the most extraordinary houses in Japan. Marked by its great creativity and technical innovations, Japanese residential architecture imposes no limits.

A Japanese peculiarity

In terms of original domestic architecture, Japan is an example. The creativity shown by Japanese architects and designers is beyond measure. Proof of this is the plethora of images of residences, each more astonishing than the other, present on the web, on social networks, and in a good number of publications dedicated to architecture.

But why does Japan deploy so much imagination in building their homes?


Maison Na in complete transparency

準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia Follow


Out of sight behind the glass front

  • Minimalism

Tadao Ando's houses such as the 4x4 House (2004) in Kobe and the Azuma House (1976) in Osaka are the perfect illustrations of what the very famous architect defined as "internalized modern architecture".

These residences with elementary geometric shapes and raw concrete facades are powerfully expressive. A minimum of artifice for a maximum of effect!

  • Dream Residences

The wonderful waterfront residences of Kengo Kuma are true dream homes.

The "Water/glass" ryokan (1995) in Atami and the Lotus villa (2005) in eastern Japan merge with nature. A perfect symbiosis with truly breathtaking nature.

  • It's clear

Some Japanese have chosen to live in plain sight! Several fully transparent houses have sprung up in recent years.


Azuma House (1976), Osaka


Water Glass

Water Glass, at Atami

Water / Glass © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

In Tokyo's Suginami district, architect Sou Fujimoto has created a house with a steel frame and glass walls. Inside, 21 platforms located at different levels but linked together by stairs and ladders give the impression of living in a tree.

The S House (2013) in Omiya, by the studio Yuusuke Karasawa, is another two-level glass-fronted house with diagonally intertwining floors.

  • Atypical materials

Sometimes architects use more surprising materials like plastic.

This is the case of the Plastic House (2002) in Tokyo designed by Kengo Kuma.

In Hiroshima, the architectural firm Nakamura & NAP has chosen glass with a particular composition. Thus the Optical Glass House conceals a splendid interior garden behind a façade made up of 6,000 blocks of pure glass.

This extremely transparent glass, whose manufacture requires great skill, allows residents to cut themselves off from the street while enjoying their garden.


Sou Fujimoto's Na House

Nicolas Boullosa


S House /by Yuusuke Karasawa Architects


House with glass facade by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

  • Abolition of borders

It is also worth mentioning a few examples of houses where the exterior makes inroads into the interiors.

In Ryue Nishizawa's "House & Garden" in Tokyo, each floor is filled with vegetation. Its top floor is even pierced with an opening allowing the trees of the house to grow freely.

Hideyuki Nakamura's O House (2009) in Kyoto and Shigeru Ban's Curtain Wall House (1995) in Itabashi question the boundaries between interior and exterior.


Curtain Wall House by Shigeru Ban



House in Kohoku of the Torafu firm


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