Designer homes are a luxury anywhere in the world, but in Japan they are even more so given the price of land and the cost of construction. And until not too long ago homes that were considered “distinctive,” meaning that they were obviously designed and built to the specifications of their original owners, were considered risky by bank lenders, who believed their distinction would make them difficult to resell, regardless of their quality.
Nevertheless, over the years more and more prospective home owners became understandably disillusioned with the dull layouts and inflexible designs of assembly-line products sold by major manufacturers like Toyota Home and Daiwa House. Many of these people have opted for so-called log houses, most of which aren’t strictly speaking made of logs. However, they are all-wood. Originally, log houses were sold as second homes or vacation homes (besso). It’s been only recently that people have started looking at them as first homes.