Ultra-small living in downtown Tokyo

Fuyuhito Moriya purchased a parking space in Tokyo, and then had an ultra-small three-story home built on the 30 square meter lot (about 323 square feet) for approximately $500,000, according to the CNN article “Ultra-small is beautiful for Japanese homeowner.”

Unfortunately, I can’t embed the video that accompanies the article, so I strongly suggest you go to see the video on CNN for a tour of the property. It truly is a phenomenal space.

Thanks to reader Ann for introducing us to Moriya’s ultra-small home.

Image by Studio Noa.

16 Comments for “Ultra-small living in downtown Tokyo”

  1. posted by Mike on

    Conceptually, that is just awesome. Functionally, I can’t help thinking I would be INCREDIBLY cramped in such an accommodation. :)

    Makes you think, though, about what sort of minimalist efficiency and comfort one could get out of modest suburban/near-urban acreage with a few stories and functionally integrated design.

  2. posted by jbeany on

    I can see living in it – but alone!

  3. posted by Java Monster on

    Wow, what a small, elegantly designed space! I couldn’t imagine sleeping on the same futon as my mother, however. Luckily for him, there are lots of love hotels in Tokyo.

    And what Mike said about functionally integrated design in suburban spaces!

  4. posted by renee on

    Having had my first apartment red tagged after the Northridge, CA quake, I always look at living spaces and consider how they would hold up to extreme elements. This little tower looks like it would topple over in a 5.0 or higher quake.

  5. posted by Lesley on

    Wow, a half-million bucks for a house so small you can only have 2 coffee cups?!?! I guess they don’t entertain guests … looks like torture to me.

  6. posted by JJ on

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around a parking spot that’s 30 metre square. That’s HUGE for a parking spot!

  7. posted by Malcolm on

    Well, yes – it is small. Here in Australia we measure house size in “squares” – one square is 100 sq feet. This little tower is therefore a total of about 10 squares, small but livable. I have seen a house in Sydney which was just over 6 squares, and that was small! a family of husband, wife and 2 little girls lived happily in it. When your house is small, outside amenities such as parks and malls can make a big impact on how you live.
    Incidentally, my wife and I live in a 35 square home on a one third acre block. Our next door neighbour has a 70square house on his third of an acre, 3 stories high, ridiculous; I guess if we lived like this in Tokyo we would have to be billionaires!

  8. posted by Malcolm on

    Forgot to add, we may live in huge houses compared to the one in Tokyo, but I doubt if we are any happier as a result. Size isn’t everything.

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    posted by recycler on

    I don’t get it. How is this ultra-small? My apartment is 30 m^2, and it’s quite roomy compared to 18-25 m^2 apartments, which are not uncommon in my city.

    I wouldn’t consider a three-story building ultra-small by any standards… Fascinating to build a house on a parking lot, yes, but still, 30 m^2 is huge for a parking space…

  10. posted by thesuburbanminimalist on

    The space-saving strategies (architecture, storage) are so impressive! And it’s very beautiful (and like recycler, Malcolm and JJ said, not SO small)!

  11. posted by Joe on

    This just says to me that it is a coffin. Doesn’t anyone notice that it is located near busy roads. One drunk driver and this cardboard box is your ticket to an early grave! I am all for minimalism and functional value in small spaces but the location is horrendous.

  12. posted by Mary C. on

    I’m impressed, but I would find it very claustrophobic!

  13. posted by wufflebunny on

    30sqm is not so bad. I live in 24sqm. Having an extra 6sqm would be luxury! ;)

  14. posted by Someone on

    I’m amazed that zoning allows for building on the parking spot.

    Even owning the plot, I would assume that there would be regulations around it. If I purchased a parking spot in downtown Boston, I’m pretty sure that building on it would be prohibited somehow.

  15. posted by JustGail on

    I like what they did with what space they had to work with. No, not ultra-small when comparing with many apartments, but it is when comparing to many houses. I wonder if the $500,000 included the lot, or if that was just the house itself. Although, with those 2 busy streets just a few feet away, and not knowing building standards for Japan, it may very well have cost that much for sound proofing and structural requirements. Not to mention if they had to have a lot of items custom made, that would add to the price fast.

    As far as the size of the “parking spot”, 30 m^2 is *about* 18 feet x 18 feet, the size of a small 2 car garage. I think there is some mixing of terms with parking lot, spot, and space being interchanged or interpreted differently.

    I’ve also seen comments on other articles about ultra small living quarters (the pods in Japan or China???) that often people who live in those don’t spend a lot of time there. Most of their life is at work or socializing in public places, similar to what Malcolm pointed out.

  16. posted by Adam Snider on

    I actually kind of like it, though I certainly wouldn’t want to share a bedroom with my mother (especially not since it looks like they share a futon).

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