homify 360°: A minimalist Japanese home

James Rippon James Rippon
House in Narazaka, Yoshiaki Yamashita Architect&Associates Yoshiaki Yamashita Architect&Associates
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There is something ever so pleasing when we hear the words 'Japanese' and 'design' in the same sentence. When heard or read together, immediately one might think of quality, with Japanese products known to be durable and long lasting. We might also conjure thoughts of aesthetically pleasing design; its composition carefully laid out in way that is visually stimulating. Those of you familiar with the design world might recognise the similarities between Japanese and Scandinavian design; modern, clean, functional, and minimal being the fundamental components.

Today on homify 360° we present to you a home located on the outskirts of the city of Nara, only a short distance from the better known cities of Osaka and Kyoto. Designed by Yoshiaki Yamashita Architect and Associates, this home draws inspiration from all those elements that ring true to Japanese design; minimal, clean and functional. The geometrically inspired home incorporates the sweeping view of Nara-shi into its design, making sure the outside world is clearly visible. Let us take you on a guided tour of this wonderful home, and see how the architects have created a sense of unity between man-made design and nature.


The bold construction, which was only completed earlier this year, stands tall above the foliage below, ensuring the view of downtown Nara is clearly visible. A small terrace wraps the rear and side façades of the home, with large floor to ceiling windows inviting the view inside. From this perspective, we get a real idea of the unobstructed view of the rear façades, and the geometric lighting pattern, in keeping with the building's modern design of lines and shapes.

Youkoso! (welcome!)

The modernist and Bauhaus influence on the design is clearly evident as you approach the front door, the only opening to the outside world available from the street. When the front is in sight, you are not aware of the view that awaits, giving nothing away until you are invited inside by the owners. 

Street view

The exterior of the front wall is as minimal as possible, with no windows at all, ensuring privacy for the owners. This façade is in stark contrast to the other three. The street facing exterior extends beyond the structure, maybe for privacy or as an extra aesthetic element, or both.


Once stepping inside, you are slowly greeted with an answer as to why the building was designed this way. Sitting above its neighbours and the greenery below, means clear views for miles are avaialble in all three directions. Just imagine sitting back and watching a storm roll in, or watching the first snow fall of the winter from this stunning space. The monochrome interior and minimal furnishings allow the view to take the spotlight; the bright white acting as a frame for the picture nature has painted.


Looking back towards the front of the home, we see a vastly different image. Here the black couch and pillars contrast the white, with industrial elements introduced in the form of the concrete benchtop for the kitchen. The recess in the ceiling invites natural light in during the day, with the upwards facing lights that line the recess projecting light onto the walls and ceiling at night.


A cantilevered concrete countertop is the highlight of the kitchen, made from unfinished concrete.

Stairway to heaven

A staircase leads us onto the roof terrace, for when the warm Japanese summer allows occupants to be outside. Small potted plants line the stairs, adding a touch of nature to an otherwise minimal home.

Modern bathroom

As with the rest of the home, the bathroom design includes views into the equation, via the rectangular shape of the room. The large window at the end and glass shower walls make sure the panorama is never interrupted. 

City views

From inside at night, only now we can see just how far the view extends, with the shining lights of Nara in the distance. The thin railings for the decking do not block anything in the distance. 

We're sure you enjoyed this home as much as we did, captivating everything about modern Japanese design; minimalism, clean lights, functionality, while still inviting nature to be a shining component. 

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