Minimalism and Japanese Architecture

One of the cornerstones of Japanese architecture is minimalism. The concepts of simplicity, purity and clean architecture have been adapted in their architecture all through time. It has been in their tradition and culture ever since it all began.

Japanese Simple Lines

Simple Lines

But how do they reach this minimalistic appeal while being so luxurious and elegant? It first starts with the clean pure form. In Japanese architecture, houses tend to have clean square or rectangle shapes. They do not use deconstructive forms or even curves in their designs, and that does not only apply to the exterior of the building but the interior as well. The forms used are a mix between rationalism and the complexity of the structure. And what’s more impressive is that they have deeper philosophical, spiritual, and religious concepts behind them.

Materials Used

Another treatment used to strengthen the concept of minimalism and simplicity is the materials used. Only honest materials and treatments are used. The natural bare undecorated form of the material, the smoothness and sleekness of the material is what is targeted and focused on. Such materials are like wood, and in modern style Japanese buildings, concrete and glass.

Materials Used In Japanese Design


The interior of a Japanese home is designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, while at the same time serving the concept of minimalism. Furniture has clean lines to it and is made of honest materials like wood.

Japanese Furnishings

Most seating would be low to the ground, with cushions on them, and simple clean rectangle or square tables.

Japanese Furnishings


Lighting of a space is one of the most important aspects that is highly considered in this style. Natural lighting is most important to the space, and comes before artificial lighting. Natural lighting fills the space with warmth, and brings peace and serenity.

Natural Lighting in Japanese Design

This is achieved through having skylights (ceiling openings), large windows, or natural gardens inside homes. Heavy drapes that could block the light from entering the space is a big NO in Japanese homes.

Natural Lighting in Japanese Design

Natural Colors

Another feature in the Japanese style architecture that backs up the concept of minimalism is the choice of color. Simple colors are typically used in Japanese homes whether it’s a traditional or a modern home, and they all come from nature, which also serves the concept of purity.

Japanese Color Palette

The main colors used that dominate the space are derived from the browns representing the wooden elements in nature, and the greens of the plants. Typically, the flooring is made of wood or gray stones. In some cases, the flooring is covered with tatami carpets made out of rice straws. The walls would be partitioned using Shoji panels. All of this makes a natural, simple and clean color palette.

Shoji Panels

Japanese design does not just follow the concept of minimalism, it inspires it. It manipulates the elements of nature to create something that is strikingly simple, yet harmonious and highly functional.