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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