Modern Japanese House Designs: Cutting-Edge Architecture From Japan

If you were asked, “What does a modern Japanese house look like?” chances are you wouldn’t have an answer. Today, we’re going to show you eight homes that represent the forefront of Japanese architecture.

Modern Japanese House

We’ll also take you inside each home so you can see what their house floor plans look like, giving you a deeper understanding of Japanese interior design.

The word for a traditional Japanese home is “minka.” Japanese homes combine ancient architecture with modern minimalist concepts. The homes are characterized by internal courtyards, glazed walls, and open floor plans.

Modern Japanese Houses

The following homes showcase the latest in residential Japanese architecture and design.

Warm Final Residence

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Warm Final Residence is from Takashi Okuno and Associates. The home intentionally shuts out sunlight so it can stay cool during the summer months.  The living space offers a sense of safety and groundedness.

External aluminum blinds, high-performance sliding wooden window frames, and heat insulating screens enhance the home’s ability to maintain insulation and airtightness.

Central Courtyard

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

A central courtyard is a key component of Japanese home architecture. With this example, the rectangular courtyard sits at an oblique angle, which connects the surrounding rooms. 

When designing the new house, the location was surveyed to determine wind conditions so the designers would know where to position the openings, allowing for the most wind to pass through the home. 

Open Space Living Room

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The open living area connects the main courtyard and a wooden deck designed to make the transition smooth and natural. 

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The home shuts out sunlight during the summers and yet allows it in during the winters. A wind chimney helps with ventilation and controls indoor temperatures. The exterior follows a simple aesthetic, as the colors are from the same palette as the interior colors.   

Fuseika House

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

From studio T-Square Design Associates and located in Hyogo Prefecture, the home isn’t far from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Yamamura residence. The home’s structure and frame feature natural materials made entirely of concrete and wood. The designers took advantage of how the home only has neighbors on one side.

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

A sheltered terrace on the upper floor is a hallmark of Japanese interior design. And clients love the view of Mount Fuji.

Material Palette


Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150

Cantilevered concrete frames provide wide openings throughout the space. The connection between the indoor and outdoor is emphasized through hybrid elements,

OH! House

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Japanese homes are small and compact, like this design by Takeru Shoji Architects. Located in Nigata, Japan, the house covers a space of just over 100 square meters.

First Floor

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Each room shares a visual connection created by white walls and brown wood floors. The ground floor features an entryway and bedrooms.

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The kitchen and dining room are located on the first floor.

Upper Floor 

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

A 40-foot long bookshelf extends along the upstairs hallway.

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

A separate bathroom space for the toilet features a compacted and elongated design. Interior spaces bordered with long corridors and narrow layouts uphold Japanese design elements.

 Grass Building

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Grass building is from design studio Ryo Matsui Architects. Situated in the heart of Tokyo, this six-story tall building houses residential, commercial, and retail spaces. The ground floor has a garden that includes trees and various greenery, and two sides that provide easy access.

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The top floor features a grassy area that contrasts with the surrounding white concrete walls.

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Throughout the tall and narrow structure, large sliding doors function as space dividers. 

House in Akashi

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

House in Akashi is from design studio Arbol. The home’s exterior looks like a wooden box. From the outside, you wouldn’t guess the home has three courtyards.

Traditional Materials

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

As you enter the home, you’re greeted by a black wood-burning stove, tatami room, and garden space. 

Open Plan

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The spacious kitchen and dining area overlook the interior second garden, separated by a glass sliding door. 

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The home is a celebration of natural light. The open design is protected from the sun, so it stays cool during summers.

Contemporary Japanese Living Room

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The natural tones extend throughout the living room where a dark brown, two-seater sofa accents the room. The individual rooms do not have doors, which creates an energy flow making the entire space one complete room. Synergy is the cornerstone of Japanese architecture. 

Slender House

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Designed by FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects this modern home is composed of narrow blocks. The house is organized into three modules 

Inside, courtyards separate the three volumes that function as living spaces. The rooms inside this wooden bungalow are simple and almost modest, embracing a classic Japanese style.

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The narrow concrete structure includes the main entrance, an overhanging block, and a second section at the rear clad in corrugated metal. 

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

The interior design is simple and features minimalist decor.

Japanese studio Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates house in Ichinomiya Japan street 150x150View in gallery

Japanese Style House

Japanese homes come in many different shapes and sizes. One unique characteristic is how the homes are built according to their natural surroundings. 

Hokuriku Architecture

Japanese house style Hokuriku Architecture

From architect Shota Nakanishi, this house is in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan. The region receives the highest rainfall in the country. The home is an example of Hokuriku architecture. It was designed so its inhabitants could have a connection with natural light and wind while also enjoying the environment.

In Hokuriku home architecture, the living room is the “doma.” This is where people interact with guests. In the example above, the home has an indoor garden with a large roof that captures sunlight and allows for open living during bad weather conditions. However, direct light is adjusted according to each season, and provides cooler temperatures in the summer and warmer temperatures during the winter months.

Imaise House

Imaise House

From Japanese studio, Tatsuya Kawamoto Associates, this home in Ichinomiya, Japan, has exaggerated eaves that shelter an outdoor living space and garden.

The roof extends to the site’s boundary. Timber gate-frames support the sloping roof. The main living space occupies the majority of the ground floor, consisting of a lounge, kitchen, and dining with a view of a covered garden.

Each frame provides a generous open floor space while providing optimum earthquake protection. Six wooden frames linearly stretch from the front to the back and providing a sense of rhythm to the interior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Japanese Style House?

On average, the cost to build a home in Japan is $337,000. The price of a home, just like anywhere else, depends on size and location. If you want a tiny house that features Japanese design elements, then that would be your cheapest option.

What Kind Of Wood Does A Japanese House Use?

A famous type of wood used in traditional Japanese construction is Japanese cypress, which is called “hinoki.” This wood is selected for its high resistance to rot, clear grain, and support strength after aging.

What Are Japanese House Walls Made Of?

Timber and clay have been the main building materials in Japanese residential construction for centuries. Timber forms the framework, while clay is used for the wall’s framework.

Why Are Japanese Houses Off The Ground?

Japanese homes don’t touch the ground due to the country’s high temperatures and humidity. Also, the country’s annual flood rate is high. To safeguard against periodic flooding, homes are built off the ground so they won’t incur water damage.

Why Don’t Homes In Japan Have Basements?

The Japanese government passed a law in 2001 that restricted how deep a home could be. Residential homes do not have basements, but they are present in high-rise buildings.

Another factor is Japan’s climate, which isn’t suitable for basements. With the amount of flooding the country endures, having a basement would only make things worse. Plus, there isn’t a demand for basements among Japanese homeowners because they know they’re not worth the trouble.

Which Direction Do Japanese Homes Face?

The Japanese prefer apartments and rooms that face south. Rooms facing toward the south receive the most sunlight and are warmer during the winter months.

Modern Japanese House Conclusion

Japanese architecture is respected worldwide. With interior home designs, Japan’s influence is obvious. Japanese homes include living spaces that rely heavily on natural light, a concept found in many countries.

If you dream of hosting a Japanese tea ceremony in your home, then consider a Japanese-style house. If you wanted to go all out, you could hire Japanese architect Yo Shimada to create your new house or living space.