6 Wacky Homes in Japan

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Photo by Suppose Design Office via A-a-ah!
April 16, 2017

We all know how brilliantly wacky Japan can be. Well, that wackiness doesn’t end at the housing market. Having just been searching for my own new apartment, I decided to look up some of the more unique options for houses that were available. Safe to say, there’s plenty of homes here that are ingeniously creative – reminding me just how much I love living in Japan.

The Tetris House

Like me, if you spent much of your free time as a youth trying to master Tetris, this house might be the one you’re looking for. No longer will you only be able to experience Tetris while playing it – with this innovative house, you can live it every moment you’re home.

Photo credits: Hiroyasu Sakaguchi via Arch Daily

Located in student hub Takadanobaba, the four-meter-wide house represents the biggest problem for new buildings within Tokyo: not enough space. The genius design of the house manages to create three floors, while squeezing into the smallest space imaginable between two buildings.

To meet an almost impossible brief, the architects “proposed an architecture of the exterior that claims the space around it by extending beyond its limits.” I think they did a pretty good job of that.

Plus legend has it that if you manage to put one of those long blocks down the side, the whole thing disappears.

The “Nothing Illegal Going on Here” House

Photo credits: Kei Sugino via Alphaville

I like my privacy as much as the next person, especially when it comes to housing. However with this next one, I think they took it a little bit too far. The official name of the house is W Window – the ‘W’ presumably standing for “without” (just kidding – there are a couple of windows, hidden off to the side).

In Kyoto, this house sits juxtaposed against the traditional wooden style of most homes in the area making it stick out like a steel thumb. Still, it certainly gives off a very “nothing to see here” vibe about it. Or, perhaps, the architect who designed it just had a really bad experience with a neighbor, or maybe doesn’t like birds. Or had a bad bird neighbour. The possibilities are truly endless.

The Spy House

Photo credits: Sou Fujimoto Architects via Trendir

I’m a big fan of sunlight. Probably its number one fan. Getting light into houses in urban Japan, with its tall skyscrapers and awkward cramped spaces, can sometimes be a chore to navigate. So I really admire this building for taking the concept of windows and saying, “you know what, windows are just really cool. Let’s build a whole house out of them!

The Super Villain’s Lair

Photo credits: Suppose Design Office via A-a-ah 

While searching for houses in Japan, I came to the realization that it has always been a dream of mine to become a supervillain. The one thing I’ve always been missing was a good place to call my lair; after all, all the good islands with the skull-shaped volcanoes have been taken. Well now, I don’t need to worry.

Residing in Hiroshima, the house is an excellent choice for any of you budding super villains looking for a new place from which to plan the earth’s downfall. The actual rooms of the house sit a little underground, so you’ll have some place to do all your plotting and loudly laughing to yourself in peace.

The Slide House (!!!)

Photo credits: Shinichi Tanaka via Dezeen

If, like me, you wake up everyday wondering if today is going to be the day that the zombies attack, then I think I’ve found a house which will deal with any of those fears. After all, it’s an established scientific fact that zombies can’t climb slides. #fakenews

This house in Nakameguro was designed for children. However, I think if us adults all got together, we might be able to take over the slides. Not only is it equipped with slides connecting every floor of the house but it also has a ball pit – basically everything you’d ever need to be happy…ever.

I can only hope that ball pits and slides becomes standardized in ALL houses in Japan by 2020. In the meantime, I’ll have to be content with just filling up the bathtub with leftover gachapon.

The Curtain House

Photo credits: Takumi Ota via Arch Daily

Curtains are always a pain to buy. Not only do you have to make sure that everything measures up correctly, you also have to buy the correct hook which you’ll inevitably forget, no matter how many times you’ve written it down. Now, imagine doing that for an entire wall’s worth of curtain for this home in Kyoto. I dread to think what life is like if a strong wind picks up. Trust Japan to take a length of material and find a crazy use for it!

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British teacher, Japan explorer and writer. I will exchange witty jokes for Marmite.

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