July 15, 2024

Architectural Concepts Guide

Elevating Home Design Standards

Modern Japanese houses and Japanese architecture

44 min read

Here we tour the best modern residential Japanese houses designed by international and local architects, from inventive interiors in central Tokyo to clever constructions in Kyoto. The Japanese house has gained a reputation for being smart with space – in the face of Japan’s tricky planning regulations and tight urban plots – opening up possibilities for all types of lifestyle from minimalist to communal in Japanese architecture.

Table of Contents


Aoyama House exterior

(Image credit: Tomooki Kengaku)

Aoyama House by Keiji Ashizawa

The trust a client puts in an architect is directly reflected on the finished building. Try to take control of every tiny little detail and you will probably end up with a lot of good intentions, but a mixed bag of half-baked ideas. Give the architect the freedom to experiment around a good brief and your chances of ending up with something unique, pushing the boundaries of what architecture can do, are much higher. 

Keiji Ashizawa’s latest residential project in Aoyama is a good example of a long and trusting relationship between a Tokyo real estate family and one of the city’s most sought-after architects. ‘I started working with the father of the family a number of years ago,’ says Ashizawa. ‘After a couple of smaller restaurants, I was asked to design a dentist’s office for the younger brother, and this led to a commission for this house for the older brother and his family.’ 

hero exterior of Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)

Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori


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