Spirited Away: A Traditional Japanese Home in the Countryside

Regular readers of our site are likely aware of our admiration for The Modern House, the impeccably curated UK-based real estate website. A few years back, when the company launched a biannual print magazine devoted to thoughtful design and considered living, we were offered a sneak peek and found ourselves poring over the story on Ryo Kashiwazaki’s enchanting weekend home.

In 2018, the acclaimed footwear and accessories designer bought an old traditional house in the Japanese countryside, about an hour from Tokyo, where he and his family live. He was looking for a rural escape from urban life (and his demanding job as creative director and founder of Hender Scheme, his artisanal leather goods brand) as well as a place for his two young boys to be able to “explore and play in nature without constraint,” he told the magazine.

“The children are delighted with this old folk house as it reminds them of the ones they see in anime movies, especially when I open and close the shutters. They are always in high spirits here and have fun finding wild frogs and beetles. We wake up feeling incredibly refreshed in the morning here, and I love spending time relaxing on the porch – the flow of time in a day is different from the city.”

Here’s a glimpse of their slowed-down, idyllic life in the country.

Photography by Mariell Lind Hansen, courtesy of The Modern House Magazine.

“the porch is one of the charms of a japanese traditional house& 14
Above: “The porch is one of the charms of a Japanese traditional house…. Another charm for me is the high quality of the craftsmanship that this house was built with, especially the beauty of details like the sliding doors, wooden frame and joinery that has stood here for over 100 years,” Ryo told the magazine.

“the house is 130 years old and was originally built with a thatch 15
Above: “The house is 130 years old and was originally built with a thatched roof. It was changed when the former owners renovated it 20 years ago. They invited a first-class carpenter from Fukushima prefecture to live here and repair this house during the winter. The exterior remains the same as it was. When I moved in I cleaned up the interior a little, and replaced the heating and air conditioning.”