It’s small, but cozy – micro-apartment in Japan

Last updated on January 30th, 2023 at 05:27 pm

Is micro-apartments the next big thing?

According to a CBS morning news report, the city of San Francisco changed the law for the minimum size of a rental apartment to 220 sq ft because of the lack of affordable housing. The reporter showed a brand new 295 sq ft micro apartment at $1,600 per month, which was lower than the average cost of renting an apartment in San Francisco.  An apartment’s new renter seemed to be very happy to have her own space.

My version of micro-apartment life started when I was 15.  I lived in a lodging house, dorm, and apartments with and without a bath/shower.  There are many public baths in Japan, so you can survive without having your own bath or shower, but to me not too long.

Living in a micro-apartment has been just a natural way of living in big cities in Japan. People know how to make it work.

When I was living in Tokyo, I rented a 200 sq ft room for about $600 per month.  It was a bit larger than the average size for this amount of rent because I chose a little extra space over a shorter commute to work.  I was happy to have my own space with my own kitchen and bathroom.  My friend had a super tiny 100 sq ft apartment for the same amount.  It was in a hip neighbourhood, but she literally had to stick her feet (or head) into the lower part of her closet when she sleeps.  That time in Japan was called the era of the economic bubble by the way.

Do we have “Kodawari” for our living space? Sure, we do!

“Kodawari” means being particular about something.

Kodawari Room File would have been definitely my favourite website if it existed in my 20s. It’s a showcase of how young people live in a small apartment in Tokyo.  Each person introduces her/his unique own space with details.  I especially love their hand-drawn floor plans.  I am also surprised that the rent has not been changed too much from my time.  You can see they all love their room from each photo. It’s their castle. It’s proof of independence. Looking at these rooms will make you feel that living in a small space is not so bad if you are willing to have fun with it.