Articles on Japanese Design

House in Ohue by Daisuke Hanamoto. Photo Kenji Masunaga

Daisaku Hanamoto’s house mingles with its surroundings

KURE – Mindful of its place amongst the vernacular, the house easily blends into the residential neighbourhood.

ACRO by Apollo Architects. Photo Masao Nishikawa

Apollo Architects confronts the public and private sides of residential living with ACRO

CHIBA – The new residence in Chiba defies housing stereotypes and lands like an unidentified architectural object on the hillside residential neighbourhood.

House for a photographer by FORM/Kouichi Kimura. Photo Norihito Yamauchi & Yoshihiro Asada

There’s more than meets the eye in FORM’s new house

SHIGA – In his hometown and apparently his architectural playground, Kouichi Kimura designed a residence for a photographer.

Mark A-to-Z: J is for Japanese Houses

Mark A-to-Z: J is for Japanese Houses

The quirky designs of modern housing in Japan undeniably grab our attention time and again. Here are five of our favourites.

Ajiroen Shop by Tyrant Inc. Photos Tomoki Hirokawa

Tyrant Inc challenges anxiety by creating tension

TOKYO – A shop for specialist tea brand Ajiroen adds the final piece to a five-part puzzle in a city 50-km west of Tokyo.

Upper floors are dedicated to a multi-use living space, to support social interaction between family members.

UME Architects' depth-defining design feature envelops a Japanese residence

KYOTO – Surrounded by the Higashiyama mountains, the decision to wrap the Corner House in a voluminous band blurs the division between inside and out.

Metal-clad boxes make up the exterior of the house shaped around an outdoor courtyard.

FORM/Kouichi Kimura's metal clad house embodies a Japanese gate

SHIGA – Set amidst a traditional Japanese landscape of farmlands and a Torii Gate, Kouichi Kimura's minimalist house is shaped around an outdoor courtyard.

Monolithic blocks collectively form the unadorned façade which frames the open-air passage leading to the courtyard, revealing depth to the house.

FORM/Kouichi Kimura uses minimal elements to emphasise space

SHIGA – The unadorned yet striking house by Kouichi Kimura has an emphasis on each element of the residence.


The contemporary reinterpretation of a classic Japanese ‘doma’ creates a connection to the house’s surroundings.

Delta House by Mizuno Architectural Design Office

TOKYO – Architects adapt a traditional spatial concept to open a house to its neighbourhood.

Wrapped in a stainless steel mesh, the house reinterprets the ambiguous boundaries found in traditional Japanese architecture.

MoyaMoya House by Studio Phenomenon

TOKYO – A small residence standing in typical Tokyo suburb reinterprets blurred boundaries between the inside and the outside.

The project celebrates the familiar and overlooked features that participate in shaping the cityscape.

Balcony House by Ryo Matsui Architects

TOKYO – The Balcony House sits in a residential area of Tokyo, Japan, predominantly comprised of low-rise constructions and modest housing buildings.

Beyond the Hill challenges the boundaries of the public realm.

Beyond the Hill by acaa

CHIGASAKI – Architect Kazuhiko Kishimoto of acaa has recently completed Beyond the Hill, which challenges the boundaries of the public realm.