Being handed the keys to your own humble abode is an empowering moment. In Japan, that means you’ve survived home hunting alongside an overly eager junior real estate agent, made it through formal introductions to landlords (while praying they don’t frown upon renting to foreigners) and forked over any hint of savings you might have had in the name of key money. This was a new start, and you were determined to make it your own oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle that is Tokyo.
But now, it isn’t enough. We all experience that moment when Tokyo feels overwhelming and you just want to escape, and get beyond what our place offers after a long day of work. We realize that this “oasis” is cramped, overpriced, and messy – no energy after work for upkeep, right? Thoughts of fresh air, the sounds of the great outdoors, and a cozy space in the middle of all of it can fill anyone’s dreams during a restless season.
Enter Muji Huts, strolling onto the horizon, touting three solutions for those ready to set up a private, moveable home in the inaka landscape of their dreams. No agents, no landlords, and certainly no key money involved. These bite-sized abodes just might have you thinking about abandoning the frantic Tokyo lifestyle and and going minimal.
The first option is the Muji Cork Hut, designed by the UK’s Jasper Morrison. The rustic front has an aura of a small beach home, with a working fireplace and bathing area.
The Muji Aluminum Hut, designed by German architect Konstantin Grcic, is their second selection. Unlike the other two in the series, it has two floors. Don’t let its Ikea-esque lines deceive you; it’s more accommodating than it appears. With a staircase and a loft and closeable front (the zombie apocalypse may yet happen), this roomy and movable home can go wherever your wanderlust takes you.
Muji’s third choice is the Wood Hut (below, and main image). “We propose this choice as a way of life: neither camping, nor entirely simple. There is charm and spontaneity in this hut,” claims Naoto Fukasawa, designer of this model claims. With a natural grain wood interior, dim overhanging lights, a pipe stove and entirely glass window front, it is the most romantic of the three – though that is likely contingent on the view that comes with your chosen location.
The huts will be available from 2016, but a closer look is available online now; register on their website to receive info on showcase events and when they will be available to order.
Muji Huts homepage (Japanese only): https://www.muji.com/jp/mujihut/