House in Kashiba – An Inward-Looking Home from Japan

Set in Kashiba, Japan, this small family home has been designed by Horibe Naoko Architect Office. The sleek black box exterior practically screams minimalist, and it’s this simplicity, both inside and out, that appeals most to me. Less is more, no?


House of Kashiba - Japanese House - Horibe Naoko Architect Office - Kashiba-Shi - Japan - Exterior - Humble Homes

Located in a quiet residential district, the house has considerably more space surrounding it than some of its Tokyo-based counterparts. Split over two floors, the owners have 86 square meters (926 square feet) of living space.


House of Kashiba - Japanese House - Horibe Naoko Architect Office - Kashiba-Shi - Japan - Bathroom - Humble Homes

With a limited site area, the clients wanted an exterior courtyard that would serve as a place of relaxation and somewhere to gaze out upon. The courtyard is visible from both the kitchen/dining area and the bathroom, and contains a single tree that acts as a visual break from the otherwise man-made environment.


House of Kashiba - Japanese House - Horibe Naoko Architect Office - Kashiba-Shi - Japan - Terrace - Humble Homes

There’s a small second storey decking area that’s also enclosed within the confines of the courtyard. As with most Japanese houses built in dense residential districts, privacy is a high priority, and as such, the courtyard is almost completely sealed off from public view, bar a single rectangular opening.

House of Kashiba - Japanese House - Horibe Naoko Architect Office - Kashiba-Shi - Japan - Kitchen - Humble Homes

The first floor of the home contains the more private living areas. You’ll find the main bedroom, a large walk-through closet with access to the courtyard, and a separate toilet, wash room and bathroom. The second floor contains the functional/mechanical aspects of the home, with an open plan kitchen, dining and living area. There’s also a “free space” and of course the sheltered balcony.

House of Kashiba - Japanese House - Horibe Naoko Architect Office - Kashiba-Shi - Japan - Floor Plans - Humble Homes

While the front façade of the building contains very little windows, the southward-facing face of the building features a number of windows to bring in natural light. Smaller rooms on the ground floor, like the toilet and wash room, feature smaller windows, facilitating a compromise between light and privacy.

For more Japanese houses check out this oddly-shaped house in Iizuka by Rhythmdesign that features a central living hub. Or this other family home that’s designed for adaptability so it can suit the needs of the owners over time. See more Japanese houses.

Via Freshome
Photos: Horibe Naoko Architect Office

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. I think it would be “warmer” after the owners have moved in. The houses I feature tend to have the pictures taken for the architects before people occupy the home, which always leaves them a little cold, as you put it. Other than that I think the layout of the house is interesting, particularly the ground floor family closet which has been allocated so much space despite the relatively small footprint.

  2. Interesting, except in the lower floor there is entirely too much hallway space, which is pretty useless. I should think the architects could have allocated that lower level space more efficiently.

  3. Steve – I definitely agree – for me anyway, the floor plan could be better, although sometimes its the clients that specify the layout, regardless of the advice of the architect(s). At the end of the day, it was probably down to what this particular family decided most for suitable for them. Perhaps the walk-through closet could have been incorporated into the hallway, doubling up on the use of the space – who knows!?

  4. Where does 1 find land that this would be permitted on? I like the design , Although I must admit I wouldn’t mind a skylight. Are their Land available lists?
    Like in New England? Any help would be appreciated