When going to Japan for the first time, you might imagine that going to Tokyo also means being surrounded by tall buildings, hugging you wherever you go, while also shading you from the sun. But this isn’t the reality at all. Surely there are constructions with many, many floors, some which even become an attraction – like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where visitors for free can enjoy the view from the 45th floor – but there are also many houses in the crowded Tokyo prefecture that aren’t that big. Once you move outside the popular and well-known areas, you will see that Japanese housing has a ton of varieties. It is therefore highly recommendable to take a stroll outside of the crowded shopping areas and have a look at how different modern Japanese architecture can be.

Japanese houses really come in all shapes and sizes. It is even quite interesting to have a look at the juxtaposition between styles, as well as looking at older, two-storey buildings, with a skyscraper popping up in the background.

 

Older, smaller looking buildings in Higashi near Shibuya and Ebisu, with a glass-building in the background.

When enjoying the many attractions of a buzzling metropolis, you might wonder where all these people are coming from. Taking a break from crowded streets and adventuring into the lesser known areas, you might even find yourself surprised at how something so simple as accommodation serves as an attraction itself. Most houses neighbours a building that is very different from itself, which gives the city many different expressions. Besides, when wandering about you never know what else you might come across: a festive temple, a small park, or maybe a shop or café that is unique to that area.

 

A row of apartment buildings lined up against the river running through Ebisu

 

Two different viewpoints in Meguro: an overlook of the city and a European-styled residency building

So if the weather is perfect for roaming, why not choose a random street out of well-known areas like Shinjuku or Ikebukuro, and have a look at what Japan also is like?