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Modern & Minimalist Small House in Tokyo

It’s called the Reflection of Mineral. This modern & minimalist small house is in downtown Tokyo, Japan.

At 900 square feet on a 480 square foot lot it’s the epiphany of future sustainable housing not just for individuals and couples but for families as well, especially in areas like Tokyo where space is truly limited.

I know I say this often, but living tiny or small doesn’t always have to mean sacrificing. With less space there can be room for more luxury.

And many of you know my mantra on quality over quantity. So a home like this definitely hits home for me, how about you?

It’s designed by architect Yasuhiro Yamashita and it has now received lots of exposure and media attention.

Minimalist Small House in Downtown Tokyo Japan

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Small Minimalist Home

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Minimalist & Modern Small House in Tokyo

Photo Credit the Cool Hunter

Modern & Minimalist Small House in Tokyo.. Interior

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Interior of Minimalist & Small Modern House in Tokyo

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Minimalist Small House

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Interior of Modern Small Home

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Kitchen of Minimalist & Modern Small House

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Upstairs inside Minimalist Small Home in Tokyo

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Interior of Modern Furnished Minimalist Small House in Japan

Photo Credit the Cool Hunter

Kitchen in Modern & Minimalist Small Japanese House

Photo Credit the Cool Hunter

Simple Bathroom in Modern Minimalist House in Japan

Photo Credit the Cool Hunter

Minimalist & Modern Small Home in Tokyo

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

Really Unique Small House in Tokyo

Photo by Makoto Yoshida

The small minimalist home has even earned several international awards. You can view more of his amazing projects right here.

Thanks in part to the uncluttered style inside and out, it seems much larger than you would imagine before going inside. What do you like best about Yasuhiro Yamashita’s modern & minimalist small house in Tokyo?

Architecture design: Yasuhiro Yamashita and Yoichi Tanaka (Atelier TEKUTO)
Structural design: Takeyuki Gaino and Nobuyuki Suzue (G.DeSIGN)
Construction: Shigeki Matusoka and Shuichi Nakade (Home Builder)
Photographer: Makoto Yoshida

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 47 comments… add one }
  • kyla dearman June 26, 2012, 3:26 pm

    All those rooms…..It looks huge!

    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:46 pm

      Doesn’t it? Thanks Kyla!

  • Cindy June 26, 2012, 9:05 pm

    A really odd looking structure, but it’s really something how the architect has made 480 sq. ft. look so spacious by building up. A carport too, amazing!

    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:47 pm

      Thanks Cindy glad you liked it! I thought it was amazing, too. Incredible work.

  • SmallHouseBliss June 27, 2012, 1:55 am

    Great post Alex! We have made Reflection of Mineral the inaugural feature on our new blog. On the size though, the actual floor area is about 900 square feet, including a basement. I believe the 480 number refers to the land area.

    Thx for the lead!

    • Alex June 30, 2012, 2:33 pm

      Hey Frank, that’s great, glad you enjoyed it and were able to use it. And thanks so much for the heads up on the square footage error. I’ve fixed it on the write up. Thanks again!

  • Shelly June 28, 2012, 4:56 pm

    Having lived in Japan and learned to minimalize … that is a home that would work for me. I didn’t see where the piping for the bath. It reminds me of a “Cat Tower.” Looks good and easy to live in… I came from a 4 floor narrow tower, toilet on 1st floor, bath on second, lived on 3rd, storage on 4th.

    • Alex June 30, 2012, 2:34 pm

      Thanks, Shelly. The place you came from sounds really interesting.. Very narrow. Wish I could see photos. If you have any, let me know.. Thanks again for reading and leaving your thoughts!

    • Paul April 14, 2014, 8:27 pm

      Shelly, the water input comes from that small circle on the side of the bath against the wall. You can’t see the drainage pipes due to the angle of the shot. I suspect that the control panel on the wall looks after temperature and possibly quantity of water for the bath too.

  • Rich June 30, 2012, 10:31 am

    This is not my first viewing of the mineral house but the best collection of pictures (which would be difficult to shoot). I think what is most remarkable about this studio’s work is that they approach each project with a fresh slate even tho’ they incorporate historical plan features and similar spacial requirements. Except for being stark white, ROM really is in harmony with the context of it’s setting (2nd picture above). I’m also pleased that you have featured it here. We in the U,S. have a lot to learn from the Japanese about minimalist houses. I would encourage anyone wanting to build and live in smaller spaces to further explore this architect’s work and the work of Studio Bow-Wow (I have no connection with either except for being a big fan. If you are not restricted by having to make your residence portable, consider breaking out of the box and the typical image of a house. Learn to use a drawing program like sketchup so that you can work in 3 dimensions. It will free-up your thinking and your house will lift your spirits. Enjoy the process 🙂 Rich

    • Alex June 30, 2012, 2:37 pm

      Hey Rich- thank you so much! I’ll check out Studio Bow-Wow now. If you have any links I’d love to check them out.. feel free to post them here so others can, too. Thanks again!

  • John Mauldin June 30, 2012, 10:36 am

    This is really terrific, the house because of the unique design, the interior shots (have seen this before but no inside shots, and Alex for presenting this to us.
    My only suggestion would be to use a much more impressive door to showcase the impressive inside.

    • Alex June 30, 2012, 2:38 pm

      Glad you liked it John and great observation on the door because I agree with you there. Thanks!

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar June 30, 2012, 11:25 am

    Interesting design and I like the carport built into the house but I think using odd angle walls while visually pleasing would reduce valuable living area inside the home and make placing furniture more difficult. Would work with built ins but that gives less options for personalization.

    The design says 480 sqft but I believe that is the foot print and not total square footage of livable area.

    Build up allows you to have a smaller foot print for small land use but can be more trouble for people with disabilities or as people age.

    Just my thoughts 🙂

    • Alex June 30, 2012, 2:39 pm

      Hey LaMar! Great point on the walls, I think you’re right. And also about the square footage I did make an error it’s approx 900 square feet on a 480 sq ft lot. Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

  • Timothy July 1, 2012, 11:56 am

    That’s a lot of spaciousness for such a small footprint. Nice to see minimalist and modern put to such creative use!

    • Alex September 20, 2012, 4:15 pm

      Thanks Timothy glad that you liked it!

  • sesameB July 2, 2012, 12:54 pm

    Excellent. I love it.

  • Jim July 2, 2012, 3:26 pm

    i’ve seen that house only on the outside in pictures and i really like seeing the inside. it is beautiful!

    • Alex September 20, 2012, 4:16 pm

      Thanks Jim!

  • DJ Spell May 25, 2013, 7:21 pm

    This is nothing short of genius. I love the feng shui of the structure. This is truly a testament to modern Asian architecture and a wonderful tiny home.

    • Kim June 4, 2013, 8:42 am

      Sorry but I don’t like it at all. It seems cold and lifeless. The idea is great as far as building the carport underneath but for me I would need some type of green area such as a roof garden or something.

  • Les Scanlan March 8, 2014, 3:11 pm

    Floor plans,,,,, floor plans,,,,, floor plans…. Puleeeeeeze!

  • Lauri Chambers March 9, 2014, 12:17 am

    Does anyone know how the staircase is made? And from what material. Thanks

  • Glema March 10, 2014, 5:29 am

    Furniture can be quite different in Japan than it is here. Very low to the floor tables and sitting on cushions kind of different. This isn’t homeland remember also they have a lot of tech for changing furniture; like chair platforms that come out of the wall, just add cushions. It’s a whole different world than here yet they offer the furniture styles we have as well. ty for sharing Alex , it is different 🙂 Happy Trails and God bless everyone here.

  • sharad March 11, 2014, 12:32 pm

    you doing a great job, thumbs up !!!

  • katydidit April 15, 2014, 1:00 pm

    Very unique! It makes me thankful that we don’t usually have to be crammed in a tiny space to live! With limited views and minimalist design, it’s great to have interesting angles and light to play into the space!

  • Tari April 19, 2016, 4:28 pm

    Soooo this is probably just me because everyone else seems to totally “get” this place annnnnnd I just don’t. I’ve looked at those pics for ages and for the life of me I can’t figure out where the stairs lead, what rooms are what and especially the second interior pic. What on earth is going on above what I think is the kitchen?
    I keep expecting David Bowie to step out and start walking around on the ceiling!!! I will say I like the carport. It does look a bit top heavy, I’m sure it’s earthquake safe… right?

  • Mary Mcreynolds January 12, 2017, 1:22 pm

    Best yet…Love this beyond the beyond. We have a miniature chair collection, too. And a full size Eanes lounge chair/ottoman that would sit elegantly in this angled egg…origami architecture❗?

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 13, 2017, 9:20 am

      Wow that’s too cool!

  • louisegray January 12, 2017, 3:15 pm

    Spectacular! Exciting. Not run of the mill. I could live there.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 13, 2017, 9:18 am

      It’s fun!

  • Gabriella January 12, 2017, 4:05 pm

    Seems to challenge the balance of the physical, geometrical lines it is much too sharp edges anywhere, absence of color does not vibrate. Optical illusion small out, big inside? In sad Aseptic Complex

  • Barnie January 13, 2017, 4:33 pm

    I love this design. The way the architect utilizes the small footprint is resourceful out-of-the-box thinking. The interior finishes are refreshingly minimal, but qualitative. I’m not so fond of angled walls as I feel they tend to waste potentially useful living space and complicate furnishing, but this concept build suggests a lot of useful ideas inkeeping with the architect’s intended aesthetic vision. North American architecture has a lot to learn from the east in terms of minimal design. Impressive project.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 12:07 pm

      Very true! A piece of art.

  • ZACHARY E MOHRMANN January 14, 2017, 6:41 am

    The Japanese are great artists with a great feel for design inventiveness…. I’m sure all traditional methods were forgotten when it was in the designing stage, but I am also sure that all the usual necessities are included and met with equal or more attention then some builders spend creating and making use of the space available… And it’s shape is much more than different, it’s a sculpture of artistic talent….!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 12:03 pm

      So true 🙂

  • Susanne January 15, 2017, 10:24 pm

    I certainly enjoy seeing this but I agree with Tari…

  • Large Marge January 16, 2017, 9:26 pm


    Uncluttered. Simple. Appreciative of planning for chaos. Purposeful lines.

    Bushido capabilities. Win without battle, win before the enemy realize they face battle.

    “Do nothing of no use.” Miyamoto.

  • Nancy January 25, 2017, 5:07 pm

    I would love this or a pair of these in the mountains out in the Western US.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 26, 2017, 8:22 am

      That sounds awesome!

  • Joe August 4, 2017, 7:53 pm

    The Japanese really know how to design for small spaces.

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