Master Craftsman In Japan Builds Amazing Tiny House On Wheels
Today is a very exciting day for me. I’ve traveled to Nakatsu to visit the very first tiny house on wheels in Japan and meet the man who built it Hello Mr. Tagami Hello A pleasure to see you again and to meet Japan’s very first tiny house on wheels. She is absolutely amazing. What was the actual inspiration behind creating this? Well… think of this house was grown out of a “tiny house seedling.” Imagine planting a tiny seed in the ground and watch it grow into this tiny house The process in a nutshell was a very organic one. Small homes are very common here in Japan But this is something completely new, a completely new concept here isn’t it? Yes, this house allows us to go to places we really want to go and to be in the comfort of your own space Not only that, it gives us a comfortable and private space to eat, sleep, and wake up wherever we are. That’s the way we use this house.
Ordinary homes are built to exist in one place and get old and eventually rot away. That might be the biggest difference This house really is tiny What are the dimensions? How big is it actually? The size is… Measuring using Japanese tatami mat, it’s about mats which is about to 2 meters This trailer has a yellow license plate which means the trailer is the size of a Japanese small engine car. So I built this house to fit the size of the trailer. What about the weight of this home? How much does it actually weight? The weight… It is about 500 kg. So all up, 500 kgs. That’s an incredibly light weight tiny home. And that I guess is what actually contributes to making it so portable and so easy to move, right? At first, we were pulling this tiny house with a small van.
With that set-up, we were able to park in a parking structure at a department store and to drive through narrow mountain roads. We were able to move around almost everywhere we wanted to go. And what about the materials? Because when you’re keeping a structure so light you have to be careful with materials that you use. In order to make it light, it’s made entirely of local Japanese Cedar. I select a middle section, near the core, of the Cedar that tends to be light, rot resistant, strong and rain resistant. And the color here as well, it actually looks like charred cedar How did you get this effect? I used “Burnt Alums”.
It is also known as “Iron Alums” which you find in many hot springs. It’s a food additive, safe enough to eat, for example when pickling foods. It’s diluted it with water, painted over the wood and finished with natural oil. And so you paint it on and it gives it this blackened look. Once painted, the painted material reacts with the sun light and over time, it will become a darkened color like this.
Therefore, it takes a bit of time. And actually it’s when it’s exposed to the light that it reacts and creates this beautiful darkened color That’s amazing Can we have a look inside the house? Yes, sure Oh, wow This place is amazing And there’s a shoe cupboard there It looks so small from the outside but inside it is really comfortable What are the features inside this house? Here’s the kitchen When you put down the table and bench, We have a sleeping space below Here we have storage A lot of storage space like this Inside this room it seems like you’ve used mostly wood and natural materials which has a really lovely feel Can you tell me a little about how you made the material decisions in this house? Basically, I used the same wood throughout this building to create a harmonious feel.
I use the same type of wood as much as possible. Using the striping or natural lay of the wood, I tried to preserve and showcase the natural pattern of the wood as much as possible So that the texture of the wood can naturally come forward That way it also feels like the wood is alive. And I guess one of the other things about natural materials is that everything that you have used to build this house can return to nature at the end of the home’s life The man-made materials such as plastics and new building materials tend to create garbage. After we finish using them, or when we pass on, it will likely become trash Garbage that can’t be returned to nature becomes a burden to the next generation of people. It is important for me that I use materials that don’t create unnecessary garbage for future generations.
The design and the shapes in this building are so beautiful What was your design process? How did you actually come up with the idea for this shape? It’s about bringing the view you see when you’re looking out the window inside I wanted the feeling of bringing the outside landscape into this living space. As a whole, even though it might look small from outside, once you’re inside, the space feels much larger than it’s actual size because you feel one with nature.
This concept has been used in building traditional Japanese houses. Even with some friends we know, some have strong allergies or are very sensitive to various environmental hazards For many people, living in this type of space is like being in a shelter which supports their healing process. When you enter this space, your heart, your spirit is purified is what people have said about this space. It makes me feel happy when I hear that people have felt “cleansed” emotionally and physically being in this space. And what about the cost of a house like this to build? It is about 3,000,000 Japanese yen. Well Mr. Tagami, I think that this is a truly beautiful house that you have created I’m so impressed with the design I absolutely love the choices that you’ve made in the materials and the heart and soul that has gone into this home as well as, of course your amazing craftsmanship Thank you so much for showing me Thank you Of all of the tiny homes I’ve visited so far somehow it’s the really small homes like this one here that I resonate with the most The more we’re able to simplify, downsize and create mobility in a home The more life we get back This home has absolutely nothing excessive And yet its design in beautiful and connecting And the way that it brings the outdoors inside is just wonderful It may be very small but to me This is a very grand design