Odd rooms that exist in Japan

6 Jan

The information source is from MSN Japan.
It was my job to create a new floor plan for an old apartment that needed renovation before I started to work from online. It’s always fun for me to see the layouts even after I quit the job. It was too odd and fun to keep these to myself when I happened to find it on MSN Japan some time ago, I’d love to share these with my readers who are more likely to be interested in Japanese lifestyles. :p

File No.1: The room that is parallelogram-shaped. Monthly rent: 65,000yen

How are we supposed to place the furniture? Maybe we should fix parallelogram shaped furniture to fit on the wall?

File No.2: The room that has round-shaped walls. Monthly rent: 75,000yen

The room looked OK if only it were larger. The area is about 10 square meters. We use the unit of “Jo” (畳) for area. 1 Jo means 1 x tatami mat. 1 tatami mat is about 0.9m x 1.8m = 1.62 square meters. (To be exact, the size for 1 Jo is very different between Tokyo and Kyoto-Osaka area. Tokyo size is called “Edo-ma” while Kyoto-Osaka size is called “Kyo-ma”. Edo-ma is smaller than 0.9×1.8m.) Basically most of the Japanese find it easier to have the image of how big the area is when it’s described by “Jo” instead of square meters. For example, we can easily picture from this conversation: “The shop was very small, which was about 8 Jo or so.” Instead of saying “13 square meters”.

Same can be said to another unit called “Tsubo” (坪) that we use as often as “Jo”. 1 Tsubo is basically 2 tatami mats. Thus it’s about 1.8m x 1.8m, about 3.3 square meters.

File No.3 The room with acute angles. Monthly rent: 79,000yen

I don’t know much about feng shui and I really don’t care much about it but I think acute-angled corner is considered bad in terms of feng shui, am I right?

File No.4: The room with long corridor. Monthly rent: 70,000yen

I wonder if the resident can furnish a bed in the room, through the entrance…

File No.5: The room with large loft. Monthly rent: 70,000yen

Hmm…to me this is OK compared with above File No. 1-4. What do you think? :p

File No.6: The room with a balcony as large as 50J. Monthly rent: 70,000yen

When we change the balcony from a plain concrete space to a nice garden, it can be a wonderful place. But I wonder how the resident will place a bed inside the room. In any ways, bed must be placed somewhere on traffic lines. Ah, maybe futon will do! Oh but there’s no storage…:(

File No.7: The room with a balcony as large as 100J. Monthly rent: 78,000yen

100Jo is 162 square meters. What kind of imbalance when we compare with the room that has only 21 square meters! XD

File No.8: 2 rooms connecting each other. Monthly rent: 51,000yen

I wonder if they need 2 Japanese-styled toilets and 2 small entrances. BTW, Japanese-styled toilet is one of the things I want to avoid using in my life.

File No.9: The room surrounded with storage. Monthly rent: 120,000yen

It’s good to have enough storage space, but having no wall is very difficult for a resident to place furniture…

File No.10: The room with nearly octagonal shape with windows all over. Monthly rent: 51,000yen

I think I like this best of all. The room has a loft where the resident can sleep. The room looks great for a party!! 😀

Which room did you like or dislike most? Don’t worry, these are only the sample of rooms with weird floor plan. This is not normal or standard in Japan. lol However, all in all houses in Japan are very small, especially when they are located in the city area.


31 Responses to “Odd rooms that exist in Japan”

  1. Lisa January 6, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Wow!!!! o.O
    I don't think I've ever seen such…hmm… "creative" living spaces, ever! Like you, I wonder with some of them how/if people can really live there… wow. I'd love to see what they look like in real life!
    I like both of the rooms with lofts (5 and 10). I used to have one in the apartment I lived in when I was in Osaka, it was really handy. Even though it was really small, there was still room for friends to sleep over, since I would sleep in the loft and then just clear the living area up, ready for a futon. ^^
    I can't believe the ones with the huge balconies though…who designed these!? o.O

    • Lisa January 7, 2011 at 6:49 am #

      (I also forgot to add a thank you for the room size explanation – I've often seen it used and kiiiind of guessed about what size they meant, but wasn't 100% sure. ^^

      • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:04 am #

        To me, American way is so confusing; such as inch, feet, gallon, ounce, and etc. >_<

      • Lisa January 7, 2011 at 9:12 am #

        Ohhhh me too!! I have no idea when it comes to those measurements either. Especially since British and American gallons, cups etc are different!! o.O

      • kirin January 9, 2011 at 3:40 am #

        Funny, you speak like American (I really thought you were from the U.S!) but you are not familiar with their measurement. ^ ^ But I know now, you spent most of your life in Europe. 😉

  2. shimin January 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    its nice to have a bed in the middle of the room! :DDDDD

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:06 am #

      I like No.10, too. But I would use the space for living-dining and sleep at a loft if I lived there. :p

  3. Emily January 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    A lot of the apartments in my complex are laid out really weird. I got the one with the most open floor plan. The apartments here are quite large as are the studios 😀 I don't know how you guys live in such small areas! My husband and I are planning on building one of those tiny houses just to have a home we can move around but they're still for the most part larger than most Japanese living spaces 😛 Oh well, as long as my cat and husband are happy that's all what matters 😀

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      Rooms especially in a big city like Tokyo are very small. It's natural you'd wonder how we could live in such a tiny space. Yeah. And we may have to pay the same or even more than you do in the U.S when you rent a larger one. (T_T)

  4. Patty January 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Haha, what a fun comparison. You're right the Octagon one seems to be best option, but again, no wall for furnitures… I wonder what were the designers/architects thinking when they built something so oddly shaped and so impractical to have the balcony larger than the house. That's a fun post, thanks for sharing!

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:09 am #

      Thank you Patty. 😀
      This kind of places are fun to read about but not attractive enough for anyone to actually live in. lol

  5. Apple January 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Oh Kirin! This just made me want my own personal space even more!!!

    My favourite is No.5! ^^ It looks like a nice place to live with a loved one. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:11 am #

      Hi Apple,
      I can imagine your room will be so kawaii, if you have your own personal space. 😉

  6. Hanie January 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Wow! It's really interesting to see weird room floor plan.
    Rooms in Japan are really small, I think for a single person it will be okay but for a family…

    I've been reading your blog for a while now. It's very nice!

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:22 am #

      Thank you Hanie, for reading this blog. 🙂
      In fact, even a room for a single person is also way too small to do anything. Kitchen for example has only 1 stove and very very tiny, which is practically useless. -_-; If we want to live in a large space in Japan, we have to give up Tokyo or we have to be very rich. ^ ^;

      • Hanie January 7, 2011 at 9:17 am #

        It's basically like one room sized house?

      • kirin January 9, 2011 at 3:42 am #

        Yes, very small, huh?
        You will be disappointed to see how small our houses are in a big cities like Tokyo. ^ ^;

  7. Phil January 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Kirin – this is a fascinating post. Small space living is a challenge, but an interesting one. However, looking at the first few floor plans made me feel claustrophobic! I don't think I could live in #3 or 4 at all. I agree with you, #10 is easily the most comfortable looking and the rent seems very reasonable. (I suspect the rents here are very much dependent on location, though.) On the whole, though, these are places for people who basically don't own anything!

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:25 am #

      Hi Phil,
      Same here, I'd go crazy if I had to live in #3 or #4! lol
      The original article at MSN Japan didn't mention location, so I think you're right, the rent varies depending on the locations.

  8. Jenny January 7, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    I have to agree with you on the last room with panoramic views! However I am confused as to why some rooms are so small yet more expensive than some of the rooms that appear to be larger. I'm guessing location? Anyhowww love the blog! keep up the good work!

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:26 am #

      Yeah, I guess it's because of different locations.

  9. Pakkaskukka January 7, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    I love the flat number 4. It's perfect for people who prefer sleeping bags over matresses or beds 😀 You can't take any big items to the flat, like a desk or chair.
    My guess is that the architect had designed the building..then somebody came and asked "what about that one small flat, there's no entrance to it". So the architect just took a little space from other flats and made a silly corridor, problem solved 😀 And as a bonus added a small balcony to it.

    • kirin January 7, 2011 at 8:28 am #

      LOL I like your imagination!! 😀
      Never imagined anyone would like #4. How interesting!

  10. Caroline January 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Wow… I thought my apartment was set up bad… at least it's a square! I really dislike how I MUST put certain things in certain areas… like the TV can only go where the TV hook up is… same for the fridge. It makes it really hard to arrange things because both of those are in bad positions! Ahhhh~

    • kirin January 9, 2011 at 3:51 am #

      I see what you mean.
      The space can be used only in a certain way and we cannot redecorate or transform the placement of furniture so well…it's boring, right. -_- Same here!

  11. winnie January 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Hi Kirin,

    the apartment which we lived now is 2DK also very small and the rent is super expensive, about 40m square.
    My ex-flat in Singapore used to be 90 m square which is already considered quite small to some of Singaporeans.
    So now, we are very cramped. Hahaha…

    No.10 looked very interesting, like going into Alice in The Wonderland!!
    Thank you for sharing.

    • kirin January 9, 2011 at 3:55 am #

      Oh really?
      I thought land in Singapore is more expensive than that in Tokyo.
      But 40m2 for 3 people is bad. I'm sorry to hear that. 😦
      Now we live in 75m2 with 2 people and 1 dog, but I don't think we can do it with less area…

  12. kari January 12, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    haha, i really liked this post!

    were these appartments in tokyo though? most of the rents are really cheap! (well, from what i heard about tokyo rent anyways…) i was surprised because i'm planning on moving to tokyo this year and i am worried about the rents and how hard it will be to find an appartment…

    • kirin January 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      I don't know if any of these floor plans are from Tokyo, because the rent varies.
      Yes, apartments in Tokyo are very small and expensive. But there are many Fudousan-ya (real estate companies) that help you to find out a nice one.

  13. Mekahel January 13, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Oddly I like No.7. I love a big balcony, perfect for sitting outside and reading all day! No.10 is really nice too, I like lots of light in a room so I like the windows but I can just imagine how much one would spend on curtains! LOL

    • kirin January 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

      No.7?? How interesting!!
      Haha, good point Mekahel, how much one whould spend on curtains!! lol

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