Life in a Crazy Small 8m2 Tokyo Apartment

Japan is famous throughout the world for it’s high population, cramped living conditions and downsized architecture. Even by Japanese standards though, this tiny Tokyo apartment is a lot smaller than usual. At only 8 square meters (82 square feet) this simple home is so small that it’s occupant Emma is able to reach out and touch both walls. Thankfully, some clever design elements allows the micro apartment to be a very functional and cosy home.

Despite the narrow, almost hall-like shape, this apartments height prevents the space from feeling too confined. Lofty windows at the end of the studio space allow an abundance of light to flow into the room and a small balcony even brings a touch of the outdoors into the home.

Those who pride themselves on creating gourmet meals may struggle in this tiny kitchen, which has a sink, a single cooking element and virtually no space for food preparation. Emma is able to chop vegetables on a small chopping board which fits over the sink, however she admits that meals in the home have to be kept simple. Although to us in the west this kitchen may seem incredibly small, it’s relatively common in Tokyo apartments, many of which are designed for workers who mostly eat out or who bring food home with them.

The apartment’s bathroom is a little slice of design genius. The entire bathroom area is designed as a wet room, with a basin which rotates to cover the toilet to create more space and to prevent elements such as the toilet paper from getting wet while the shower is in use. Once moved aside, the bathroom has adequate room for a comfortable shower.

A ladder in the living space leads to a small sleeping loft which sits above the apartments entrance. Although many people worry that a small loft for sleeping might feel claustrophobic, Emma finds the space comforting.

“What animal sleeps out in the open? I feel that animals always go to a cave or they just try to get into a corner or something… I think  a lot of humans like to feel like they are in a tight, nice, cosy space”.

Emma says that she loves how the ¥‎69,000 (US$600) per month apartment keeps her creative and allows her to express herself in her own space. After growing up in Australia, living in Tokyo is an incredibly different pace of life for the young traveller and having a place (albeit a tiny one) entirely to herself offers some respite in a large and often hectic city.

To follow Emma’s adventures in Japan and to find out more about her day-to-day life in this micro apartment, you can check out her YouTube channel, Tokidoki Traveller.




Posted on by Bryce Posted in Tiny House Tours

About Bryce

I'm a film-maker with a passion for small space design, permaculture, and downsized, eco-friendly living. Join me on my travels as I meet people from all over the globe who are living big lives in wonderful tiny houses!

7 Responses to Life in a Crazy Small 8m2 Tokyo Apartment

  1. tinyhouseireland

    Actually a great insight on human nature!

    “Emma finds the space comforting.

    “What animal sleeps out in the open? I feel that animals always go to a cave or they just try to get into a corner or something… I think a lot of humans like to feel like they are in a tight, nice, cosy space”.

  2. Oscar

    I love this apartment. I would to ask if you know of another apartment in the building or same area for sale or rent that is like this or similar to this one.

  3. tinyhouseireland

    Hi Bryce!

    I love the rotating sink that goes over the toilet.

    Is there is a name for this? Maybe a special Japanese name? Any keywords to aid my google searches would be appreciated. I’d make one myself but I’d like to see a schematic/high res pictures to aid me.

    I also have been following your build! It’s very interesting, lots of nice details the majority of Tiny House documentation on blogs/youtube haven’t been mentioning much e.g. window flashings.

  4. rama nayeri

    I live in a 424 square foot condo in California with two cats and love it. I just don’t get why people need really large spaces. When you live in a small space it forces you (at least it did me) to really look at the things I have and only keep what I really want.

  5. Giedre

    Gosh, this makes my train carriage look like a luxurious mansion!
    I do agree though that space often dictates what you can possess, where and what you eat and other every day activities that you don’t often think about.

  6. Klaas Verzijl

    Hi Bryce,

    I like the idea of tiny houses: to downsize and save time/costs for all what “really matters” in live. To escape the rat race.
    But this degree of downsizing, and especially what this lady has to pay for it: it sounds like scandalous exploitation. But all in all: WAY too cramped….

    By the way: How is progress on your own project?

    • Bryce

      Sometimes, and especially in really big cities such as Tokyo rent is just crazy expensive and people choose to live in smaller spaces to help them save money. In Tokyo, small apartments are common but people tend to spend more time outside of them also, as there is much more to do in the surrounding areas. To compare, let’s look at Auckland city, where I currently live. It has only a fraction of the population of Tokyo, yet for a central city, 1 bedroom apartment the average rent is currently NZ$1710 per month. That’s US$1250 per month. If you compare that to her US$600 per month, for an apartment in central Tokyo, I would say she has found a pretty good deal!

      My build progress is coming along thanks! I’m working away whenever time and money allows. It’s been tough lately though as I am on the road so much!

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