Private home converted into contemporary apartments 

A 31-year old private home in Takanawadai is currently undergoing a conversion into a 4-unit apartment building. Leading the project is cooperative house developer Archinet.

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Nintendo hotel in Kyoto to open this April

The conversion of the historic former Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto will open as a boutique hotel this April. Called ‘Marufukurō’, it is named after Marufuku, the name of the previous corporate incarnation of Nintendo.

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50-yr old apartment building in Shinjuku to be refurbished

A former luxury rental apartment building in Shinjuku is undergoing a full refurbishment. Rather than follow the standard practice of demolishing and rebuilding from scratch, the 50-year old building will be stripped back to its concrete structure, retrofitted and renovated.

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Muji enters house flipping business

Muji House, part of the household accessory brand Muji, has entered the renovate-to-resell market in Japan. They are planning to flip around 100 apartments annually, focused in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama. Their first two "Muji Infill 0" projects are in Fuchi City and Yokohama City. The property search, planning and renovation took the company three years.

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Vintage apartment renovation in Shibuya gets 2,000,000 Yen/sqm price tag

A former expat rental apartment building in Shibuya’s Uehara neighborhood has been fully refurbished with the apartments now available for individual purchase. The condo-conversion is a growing trend in Tokyo where land is scarce and construction costs run high. 

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First Cabin to open ryokan-style accommodation in Kyoto machiya

First Cabin, a Tokyo-based developer and operator of capsule-style accommodation across Japan, announced plans to open a cabin-style hotel in a traditional machiya-style townhouse in Kyoto. The new hotel will open on March 28, 2019. 

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Japan’s whole building renovation market doubles this decade

It has often been said that Japanese consumers prefer new construction over old. However, this way of thinking has started to change over the past few years with home buyers turning their attention to the existing home market. In 2016, sales of existing ‘second-hand’ apartments in greater Tokyo exceeded those of brand-new apartments for the first time ever. This has not gone unnoticed by Japan’s major real estate developers, who, once focusing solely on new construction, are now entering the growing renovation market. 15 of the top 20 developers are already active in this market.

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60-yr old office building in Tokyo to be renovated rather than redeveloped 

Although Tokyo’s Marunouchi and Otemachi business district has been seeing multiple skyscrapers go up in recent years, one vintage building from the 1950s has been faithfully protected by its owner.

The 9-storey Otemachi Building built by Mitsubishi Estate in 1958 celebrated its 60th birthday this April. It served as their headquarters until last year when they moved across the street to the recently completed 140 meter tall Otemachi Park Building.Read more

Renovating a 30-year old house into a zero-energy home

If you want a well-insulated house in Japan you usually need to build it yourself. If you are looking at an older house to buy or rent, insulation is usually lacking, unless the original owner decided to go the extra mile to create a home with insulation. For the majority of older homes, however, they tend to be built cheaply and can be cold in winter and hot in summer.

The construction and home building industry in Japan has come a long way in recent years with active efforts to create zero-energy homes. There are a lot of options now for double or triple-glazed glass windows, non-aluminum frames, insulation, and thermal breaks.

These insulation options are not just limited to new construction, it is possible to renovate an existing home to make it a zero-energy home.

One of these projects was recently completed in Daizawa near Shimo-kitazawa Station in Tokyo. The 2-story home was built in 1987. It has a concrete basement, while the above-ground structure is wood-frame. The house was fully renovated by Rebita and YKK AP, resulting in a contemporary home with numerous energy-efficient features, insulation, and earthquake-retrofitting.

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Nara prison hotel to open in 2020

The 109-year old former Nara Juvenile Prison in Nara City will be converted into a hotel by 2020. On May 26, Japan’s Ministry of Justice announced that a group of 8 companies, led by Solare Hotels and Resorts, was the successful bidder for the project.  A total of 3 groups submitted bids back in January.

The prison was built in 1908 and is the only surviving example of the Five Prisons of the Meiji era. The red brick prison was designed by architect Keijiro Yamashita. Yamashita worked for the Ministry of Justice from 1897 to 1930, and designed many prisons across the country.Read more