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Capsule House K, Nagano
Photograph: Airbnb

You can stay in this futuristic and extremely cool Japanese forest house

Capsule House K in Nagano is a spectacular work of design – and it’s available to rent on Airbnb

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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With its circular submarine windows, strange jutting shape and all-round futuristic vibes, no one would blame you for thinking that the building in the above photo (and yes, it is a building) is actually some kind of alien settlement. But it isn’t. Oh no. That’s just a really, really futuristic retreat in a forest in Japan. And the best bit: you can stay in it. We know, extremely cool.

The place is called ‘Capsule House K’ and, unsurprisingly, it’s got quite a bit of history to it. Designed by celebrated Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, K was built in 1973 as an example of the dizzying potential of futuristic design. After decades of use as Kurokawa’s own home, it was restored in 2019 and turned into an Airbnb rental. 

The villa itself sits on a hillside and is made up of one central bit and four blocks. As well as three bedrooms, it’s got lots of fancy bits of traditional Japanese design like a tea room, straw tatami floors and sliding shoji screens. It all looks out onto a forest near Karuizawa, a resort town in the mountains of Nagano prefecture.

According to the Airbnb listing, K can fit up to five guests comfortably but, if you’re willing to rough it out on a futon, can sleep seven. Here are a few more pics of the place.

Capsule House K, Nagano
Photograph: Airbnb
Capsule House K, Nagano
Photograph: Airbnb
Capsule House K, Nagano
Photograph: Airbnb
Capsule House K, Nagano
Photograph: Airbnb

To get geeky for a second, K is a classic example of an architectural movement called ‘metabolism’. Born in the 1950s, this was a Japanese radical architecture movement that was all about being both futuristic and inspired by organic biology. The most famous example was the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo, also designed by Kurokawa, though that was demolished earlier this year.

Capsule House K is one of the last metabolist buildings standing – but, if you fancy a stay, be warned – staying here is expensive. At its very cheapest, K still costs over £1,300 ($1,580) per night. But then again, with Capsule House K you’re not just spending the night in a fancy rental: you’re also experiencing a bit of architecture history.

You can find out more and book here – and stay dreaming of a super-cool, hyper-futuristic holiday home.

Did you see that you can stay in this incredibly luxurious treehouse in Bali?

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