Weekend House in Kumano Mixes Traditional And Modern Japanese Design

This project is set in Kumano-cho, Japan. The area is known for its traditional brush production, and in many ways, this home seeks to incorporate traditional styles and architecture into its fabric despite being a modern build.


The project was christened “Weekend House in Kumano” by the designers, an architecture firm by the name of Araki+Sasaki architects. The end result is a privacy-conscious weekend home for a family.

Weekend House in Kumano - Araki+Sasaki architects - Japan - 0 - Humble Homes


The house is set on a large plot of 13,088.90-square-feet (1,216-square-meters) of which it occupies just 947.22-square-feet (88-square-meters). Most Japanese houses aim to take advantage of natural light through south-facing windows. However, with privacy being a concern here due to adjacent neighbors, it’s not the case with this home.

Instead, they incorporated large openings and windows along the other walls of the home. When opened, this has the effect of drawing the garden into the home, reducing the barrier between interior and exterior spaces. The architects refer to a “diagonal pass”, which is indicated in the floor plan, and shows the various sight lines through the building and into the garden.


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From the architects: “Instead of southern windows, [the] ring of stone floor and diagonal pass make the interior space and the exterior garden come together to [create an] open atmosphere. Four diagonal passes which are lined on the corners of rooms come through ring of stone floor made of traditional materials for brushes and calligraphy.

The traditional elements stem from concepts through to the actual implementation and materials used. A large overhang protects the house and provides a sheltered patio around the properties perimeter. On the inside, the wooden structure is revealed. A south-facing skylight has been introduced to bring in light while maintaining privacy.

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The layout itself is divided into two sections. The left-hand section contains two bedrooms (complete with tatami mats), a study, and a toilet. The other section of the home contains a large open plan living space (with a kitchenette in one corner) that leads through to another bedroom and a bathroom.

For more Japanese houses check out this flexible family home from Sukumo. Or, Administrative House, a home for a family of bikers. See all Japanese houses.

Photos © Araki+Sasaski

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.