It’s possible that this is one of the smallest homes that we have visited on the show so far and yet without doubt it is one of the most spectacular in it’s design. Japan is a country already world-famous for it’s small space designs, and so it should come as no surprise that when Japanese master-craftsman Tagami Haruhiko turned his attention towards the tiny house movement, amazing things would happen.
The home is crafted wherever possible from locally sourced and natural materials, predominantly cedar. There is an architectural edge to this tiny house on wheels which seems to draw inspiration from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, yet which has been given a unique and bewildering touch of Japanese-design.
Impressively, this tiny house is amazingly lightweight (weighing only 500kgs) and unlike many tiny houses on wheels, is designed to live most of it’s life on the road. This aspect was essential for the home’s owners, Rumi and Katrina, who are constantly traveling throughout Japan, working for their company Be Genki.
Inside, this small house is truly mind-blowing. The walls mirror the outside and again are covered in the most majestic of natural timbers. Beyond the aesthetics though, lies a true design marvel as the home is able to transform and reshape itself to suit the needs of it’s inhabitants. Seamlessly, the house is able to shift from being an open space to an office, an office to a kitchen, a kitchen to a dining room and a dining room to a bedroom. This principle of transformation is largely inspired by the traditional and multifunctional Tatami room, found in so many Japanese homes.
Down the far end of this tiny house is a small, yet functional kitchen which includes a faucet and sink, as well as two gas hobbs for cooking. Despite some objects being on display, the storage in the house is largely designed with the concept of items being kept out of sight to reduce any potential for the space to become cluttered.
True to it’s purpose of a home that can travel with you, this Tiny House is completely off-the-grid and powered through a house battery which is charged through the alternator of the towing vehicle. The need for power consumption in the house is very low, and limited to lights, a small fridge and whatever phones, laptops or other devices require charging.
In Japan, the concept of a tiny house on wheels is still very new and the home attracts a lot of attention from interested on-lookers. Currently, Japanese regulations make living in the home relatively simple and there are many beautiful camping grounds throughout Japan for the home to park, as well as Michi–no–eki (Roadside Stations) where the house can rest up for the night.
“It’s incredibly spacious. There is room to move around that I was surprised about when I first started living here… Although it seems like a small space from the outside, when you come inside it’s incredibly expansive.” says Katrina.
Rumi and Katrina chose not to include a shower in their tiny house and instead take full advantage of the numerous Onsen (hot springs with bathing facilities) which can be found all throughout Japan. A small portable toilet is carried in the home’s towing vehicle, however is seldom used thanks to the abundance of public toilet facilities found throughout Japanese towns.
With this home, builder Tagami Haruhiko and his company Tiny House Japan have achieved a certain kind of perfection. The house is as functional as it is beautiful and poetically meets the needs of those who occupy it. It is complex and clever in it’s crafting, yet simple and elegant in it’s function. Truly, who could ask for more?