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Tiny house by Muji finally goes on sale in Japan

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Muji, formally known as Mujirushi Ryohin, which translates as “no-logo goods” in English, is a chain of retail stores in Japan which sells everything from stationery to furniture, with a focus on sleek design and minimal fuss.

Back in 2015, Muji wowed us all by taking their minimalist philosophy to the world of housing design, bringing out a series of prefabricated tiny home prototypes dubbed the "Muji Hut." While the stunning designs had us yearning to make a purchase, the huts were simply prototypes and Muji made no announcement regarding a release date, if there was ever to be one.

Taking customer feedback from their original prototypes into account, the company went back to the drawing board to make plans for a commercialised product, and now, two years later, their very first Muji Hut is finally available for sale. And there are some very special conditions surrounding initial purchases.

The Muji Hut is initially being made available in conjunction with Japanese company WOULD, which has repurposed a section of land on the site of the old Nagao Elementary School in Chiba Prefecture, which closed down in 2011. The school’s main building has been remodelled to become a multipurpose complex called the Shirahama School House, complete with guestrooms, shower rooms, a shared kitchen, and even a cafe.

The land around the Shirahama school building has been sectioned off for the Muji Hut project, so that each tiny home will come complete with a vegetable garden.

Residents will be able to use all the facilities at the main school building, which is a perfect fit for this particular Muji Hut design, as it doesn’t come with any plumbing or water main connection.

The Muji Hut itself is a compact 9 square meters in size, and can be used as a holiday home or an everyday villa, provided you have facilities nearby. In Japan, public baths, laundromats, and 24-hour convenience stores with public toilets can be found even in remote parts of the country, so living full-time in a small hut like this without a kitchen or bathroom is something that isn’t out of reach.

According to the company, the hut is ideal for singles and couples, though four people are said to fit inside comfortably, given the open-plan design and external patio extension.

The building is made from locally sourced wood, and while the inside remains unpainted, the outer walls are finished with a special Japanese exterior siding technique called yakisugi, which has been used since ancient times in the shipbuilding industry. This process involves charring, cooling and cleaning the wood, before finishing it with a natural oil, preserving the timber and making it fire resistant in an environmentally friendly manner.

Each Muji Hut is priced at 3 million yen, which includes construction costs. The initial rollout at the Shirahama School House requires purchasers to pay a one-off fee of 500,000 yen to cover establishment costs and a monthly administration fee, which is commonplace in Japan, of 15,000 yen per month.

Those wanting to purchase the hut on its own will have to wait until this autumn, when more huts will be made available. Unfortunately, however, there are no current plans to make these huts available to customers outside of Japan.

If you are in Japan and interested in finding out more about the project, the huts at the Shirahama School House will be available for inspection at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. every day from 29 April to 7 May. Only 10 groups of four people will be able to view the huts during each time slot, with applications for the tours currently being accepted online.

Further details regarding sales for the first huts, which will be determined by lottery, will be made available during the tours. To find out more about the Muji Hut specifications, be sure to visit their official website for more details.

Sources: PR Times, Muji Hut, Shirahama School House, Shirahamakosha

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Ridiculously over-priced.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

What Dan said. A single wide mobile home in the US, with a kitchen and bath, is about 150 square meters and runs about 30-40,000 US$.

I do like the minimalist idea and obviously Japanese are more inclined to semi-communal living but that's a lot of money for a shoebox.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

As others, totally idiotic price. Actually built my own --for guests and when Mrs Listen is grumpy-- with full functioning amenities --but shower, not bath-- for under a third of that cost.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Crikey what an absolute swizz! I had ideas of putting one of these by the lake for the weekend. Might as well just buy a steel box from D2 and fit some perspex.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I love yakisugi but for 12mm thickness, its only about 1500 yen per square meter. Considering that you don't have to treat it, that's just the cheapest siding material available. Which is another big advantage, but yet another reason a shed covered in it should not cost a ridiculous three million yen. Note that without overhangs, the rain will wash the charred bits off. It will also fade where UV hits it.

It sounds this box is under three tsubo in size, which is compact and PR blah blah blah, but possibly the main reason is that I believe you don't need to do "kakunin shinsei" for a building of this size. You can put one up whereever you like. Some folks might be squeezing one of these into their gardens.

As the other posters say, build something better for cheaper!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not sure how much conbini's would like you using their bathrooms all the time because you don't have your own...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

so let me get this straight.. 35000USD for basically an MDF box with a glass door and black coating which will be nice and balmy in summer.., located at a specific place,with no toilet,bathroom or actual privacy and a 150usd monthly fee... sounds like a steal.. as in they are stealing your money...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Cheaper to buy a second hand shipping container and convert it. Four times the size as well.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You can't bury shipping containers unless you reinforce the outside walls to handle the pressure from dirt. It will crush it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YEOW!! I love the tiny house concept & have been looking at it for down the road, in the meantime I have a decent house & couple years ago bought a mini-farmhouse for my office about double these Muji things(about 9x9m base), but it has EVERYTHING you need & is 2F & land as well. Building used recycled wood, BIG wood from old kominka, people see it & think its at least 100yrs old instead of about 9yrs old!

Like I said love the idea, but the materials for these Muji huts  cant be more than about Y300,000 tops... Someone to put it up for you maybe around Y1,000,000 more if distances are involved.

Now if at this school there are some really good facilities for your use it MIGHT be worth it.

In the sticks Y500,000 can easily by you a little plot of your own

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Agree with the others. 3 million is ridiculous. I wouldn't pay over 1 million, and could probably get it for half that if I was willing to do most of the work myself. You can already buy ready build sheds and offices for much less in Japan. Slap on some outside paneling and paint, and most would look better than this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Fizzbit....who said anything about burying.? Look on line for container houses, very innovative and practical. By the way plenty of people bury them to grow dope inside with no structural problems. They are stronger than you realise.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Agree with everyone that the price is outrageous for what you get - a single room with no toilet, bathroom, kitchen? Seriously why would anyone ever pay that much for this, even if its what you want (despite how impractical it sounds) you can probably get something like it for much cheaper elsewhere.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Yeah, sorry, my mistake. I though this was the nuke bunker article. Asked the Mods to delete. I've seen the container houses, I like the adea. I've also seen buried containers crushed. I guess it's how far down you bury it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The initial rollout at the Shirahama School House requires purchasers to pay a one-off fee of 500,000 yen to cover establishment costs and a monthly administration fee, which is commonplace in Japan, of 15,000 yen per month.

I've heard of leasing with an option to buy, but never of buying with an obligation to lease. Who do they think they are, Microsoft?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A misnomer, this simply cannot be called a "house" as it lacks a kitchen and a bathroom, call it a garden shed! A very costly shed I might add!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You can buy garden sheds for less than Y100,000 so anyone spending Y3,000,000 on this needs their head examined. I have seen shacks by the river built by homeless people of similar size and they don't have to pay a Y15,000 per month "admin" fee, which is about the same as you pay for a full-size apartment.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Nessie - The "monthly administration fee" which while it is indeed commonplace in Japan, is also the biggest racket in Japan. I estimate about 10% of what people pay for administration covers actual costs. The rest is golfing, "kyaba clubs" and BMW's.

possibly the main reason is that I believe you don't need to do "kakunin shinsei" for a building of this size.

Kohakuebisu - That's part of it. No registration is required for a building - or addition to a building of under 10 square meters. (Although whether that's 10 m3 ever, annually, or at a time is unclear to me.) But as long as your building is not a permanent structure, you don't need to register. Case in point, container offices that are used at construction sites or wherever - sometimes those are used for a few years. They're built (placed) on concrete blocks and can easily be removed. You can hook up water, gas and electricity and live there should you choose to.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It not a house or a home it a hut, priced at an extortionate 3 million yen.

Can be used as a holiday home or an everyday villa. Not even the most creativity definition psychology could pass The Muji Hut off, a compact 9 square meters in size, as a holiday home or everyday villa. It's a Hut standing in a field. Sorry no matter how many times I close my eyes and concentrate trying to convince myself otherwise I still see Hut in field.

I am frighten to ask, how much is the boots and broom stick? It's not minimalist it's takin the p.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

....being made available in conjunction with Japanese company WOULD

ugh. The future of Engrish

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

While I don't have a pulse on the market prices, I do like the concept of "tiny houses".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Saw some commentary online that equates these "tiny houses" to rich people mobile homes and I agree.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess "hut" is an appropriate term, as this is not a house. The idea of a cluster of huts around or by a building with shower/toilet/kitchen facilities makes sense for those who are pressed for cash in an urban/suburban setting, as 35K is way less than what one might pay for a tiny apartment given long-run. If they plan to live in it for several years, that is, and not have kids. For a single person or student working /studying long hours. It's still over priced. I think when all you get is a room, basically, 35K is nuts, unless it's like totally typhoon proof (which mobile homes notoriously are not).

No fricken way I'd buy a place without toilet/bath facilities. I can do without a full kitchen in hard times (a hotplate can work), but a toilet is totally a necessity. You do not want to have food poisoning or the flu and not have a toilet feet/yards away.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shipping containers make bomber storage sheds, but they're not very good as living spaces. They're only 2.4m minus insulation and inner cladding wide. Don't insulate it and it'll get close to 50C in the summer sun. I know you can weld them together and cut big openings for windows etc., but that only compromises their strength and you'll have to weld in costly extra steel for reinforcement. So you might as well build out of wood in the size you require, instead of trying to make the size you require work when 2.4m minus insulation wide plus 2.6m or whatever it is high. That might be a "tall container" as well, which cost more.

The architect who does the green building articles on Treehugger, I think he's called Lloyd Alter, has done a number of articles on shipping containers and he says they're a bad idea for a number of reasons. And that is in the US where you can get and transport containers way cheaper than in Japan. Again, I did see the Grand Designs where the Irish guy welded four together. His building was good, but it would have been good built out of wood, engineered wood like glulam, or simple steel frame. The use of containers in itself did not make it good.

Getting back to the Muji shed, but if you don't have problems with keppeiritsu/yousekiritsu, in Japan I recommend building the size you need, not some size bureaucrats say you can have without planning permission. The design stage really needs to focus on what your are after, and adding limitations can really screw it up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yep, this thing hurts the Tiny House™ movement. And, yes, MUST have a proper baffroom (how's that for English, sf2k?).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No mention of insulation, double glazing, or other thermal properties, which is typical of Japanese PR. It gets really, really cold in those mountainous areas, and if you have to rely on a kerosene heater in one of those tiny sheds, you'll die of lung disease after one winter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can be used as a holiday home or an everyday villa

Imagine you've told your date you're taking him or her to your villa and the two of you arrive to this!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Certainly not minimalist upon the Price.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you know all the right people and the right places on youtube, you can make your own for, oh.... I am guessing a tenth of the price, tops. And if you look a little more, you can probably get better features or more personalized characteristics for it. One thing that I would do is make the whole thing packable and able to be constructed in about two or three hours so you could take it anywhere you wanted to go. Put the parts on a trailer or in the back of a truck and you are good to go.

The idea is that if you make it portable enough, you don't get pinned down for any reason. If it has all the amenities, you can stay a while.

Just for instance, there are a lot of camping areas that are free in the late autumn and winter. It might be fun to go to some place like that and hang out for a week. It is not a tent. It is not a camper. Kind of a..... an ice fishing lodge. And there are some tricks... the smaller it is, the less you need to heat it. A small rocket stove would be enough.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is normal for a new concept to be expansive for the first sale. It is like Iphone. You buy zen spirit here.

Europe once the price is cut after the research is of the price, will be interested for their migrant camp, especially in France if the product is sturdy.

Really good community concept that cut a lot of managing problems a foreigner groups here.

Thank you for the article.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

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