No-Bath Apartments Win Over Japan's Minimalist Youth

Apartments without a bathtub or shower are becoming popular with young renters in Japan, as public baths, gyms and other facilities where people can shower become more common. Some people embrace the minimalist lifestyle of not owning things and are instead eager for social interaction, which having a low rent facilitates. The appeal of no-bath apartments goes beyond lower rent: They fit well with the on-the-go lifestyles of many young people. With its high property prices and the world’s most populous metropolitan area, Tokyo has long been known for small accommodations, with apartments as small as 95 square feet. They're known as “3-mat rooms,” based on how many standard Japanese floor mats would cover the living space. While the units are half the size of an average studio apartment, they have 12-foot-high ceilings and an attic-like loft for sleeping. Rents go for less than 40,000 yen ($300), including water and gas. Of course, that means that you have to schedule time to travel to a shower and be able to control your bladder overnight. The alternative, of course, is to come up with a makeshift toilet for those overnight necessities.