10 beautifully simple Japanese houses that will leave you speechless

Betti Hunter—homify Betti Hunter—homify
House in Fushimi, 設計組織DNA 設計組織DNA Modern garage/shed
Loading admin actions …

When it comes to 21st century home design, Japan is leading the way.

Having already introduced us to the concept of minimalism through Wabi Sabi interiors at the tail end of the last millennium, Japanese architects have taken it upon themselves to provide an antidote to the lavish, ornate mansions that were once seen as the ultimate dream homes. 

Proving that high-concept style need be neither flashy nor expensive, here are 10 of the most beautifully simple Japanese homes around today.

A woodland wonder

Nestled in among the trees, this stately wooden home was built in the Tochigi Prefecture as a retirement residence for a mother. Big enough to accommodate a family that comes and goes, the gorgeous house was designed as a modern twist on the traditional woodland hunting lodge.

Double layered

Not far from Mount Fuji sits this elegantly designed abode. Designed like a modern fortress, the towering three-storey concrete walls form a protective cocoon around the house, shielding its residents from the prying eyes of outsiders. A small gap is left, which is just wide enough to allow sunlight to pour through and illuminate the whole house.

Modest and meek

眉山を望む家, TENK TENK Modern houses Iron/Steel Red

This simple, square house with a steep pent roof may look like the essence of simplicity, but don't be fooled! Inside this berry-coloured house by Tenk is a luxury minimal haven, designed with the aim of retaining continuous space as one walks through.

Irregular shapes

Standing proud in the Fukuoka Prefecture, this oddly-shaped home emits a welcoming warm glow from its many windows as soon as dusk begins to fall. The house is shaped like a large cruise ship, and the inside is a beautiful labyrinth of rustic timber and Scandi-style minimalism.

A small cabin

Could this house be any more cute? Hidden down a Hiroshima side street, Il Pontile is another nautically-inspired home that looks like the captain's cabin of a fishing trawler! The clean wooden exterior is accented by a soft lavender grey door and railing, which lend the home a contemporary edge.

Breaking waves

This minimalist dream is a medley of materials—a concrete wave cocoons the upper two floors and provides space for a grassy roof garden, the concealed front door and garage has wooden panelling, and the front face of the living quarters is finished with brown and red brickwork. To see inside this home, check out this Ideabook!

Angular and surreal

This teetering tower may look like the imaginings of a wild modern artist, but the reality is much more prosaic! The ground floor of this interesting monochrome structure by CAPD is a hairdressers, while the upper two floors are sleek residential apartments.

Flat out

Though all of the previous houses are simple in design, none beat this house in Fushimi in terms of humble, clean minimalism. Relying on only strong horizontal lines and a palette of grey tones to make an impression, this quiet home might just be the most striking of all…

Simple and cost-effective

Little more than a rectangular boy, this home takes influence from shipping containers, and has tacked a couple of little extras, such as a protruding window and an extended doorway—to stop the design from looking too boxy. It was inexpensive to build, too—approximately 66,000RM!

High and mighty

This elongated white house wouldn't be out of place on the set of a quirky indie movie! Combining elements of traditional Japanese housing with modern minimalism and a hefty dose of whimsy, the twisting spiral staircase leading up to the front door hints at the beauty that lies inside…

Want to see more stunning Japanese design? heck out this minimal home in the woods!

Which home was your favourite? Let us know in the comments section!

Need help with your home project?
Get in touch!

Highlights from our magazine