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Singapore Condo Looks Like A Japanese Ryokan With Tatami Platform Beds and Bamboo Lamps

19 June 2023 | BY

Why fly to Japan when you can bring Japan to you? This homeowner turned their condo into a ryokan with all the right elements.

ryokan condo in singapore

There’s a reason why ryokans are the accommodation of choice when visiting Japan. The cosy minimalism of its architecture, the soft tatami mats padding your feet, and zen-filled spaces have been drawing weary travellers across the world for more than a millennium. It’s to the point that people are recreating ryokans in their homes many miles away.

For this Singaporean couple, their love for Ryokans inspired them to transform their cosy condo into one of the most faithful adaptations of the traditional Japanese inn, with the details by their interior designer Ngieng Jixuan of Ngieng Spatial Design being immaculate. The only thing missing from the home is a view of cherry blossoms or Mount Fuji. 

1. Traditional tatami room with zaisu & zataku

ryokan condo in singapore tatami room with zatsu and zatakuImage credit: Ngieng Spatial Design

With a limited amount of space afforded to them in a small condo, it made perfect sense to ditch the sofa in the living room for a traditional tatami room instead. 6 tatami mats line the main space of the living area, with the zaisu (Japanese legless chairs) and zataku (low tables) sitting right on top as they should be.

To make the space feel cosy and not barren, a stretch of built-in cabinets line the side of the home. One-half of the carpentry makes up the home office that can be extended with a flip of the cabinet doors. It’s space-saving details like this that make it all the more thoughtful.

2. Japanese bamboo lamps everywhere

ryokan condo in singapore bamboo lanterns and lampsImage credit: Ngieng Spatial Design

One of the classic elements you’ll see when the sun sets in Japan is the andon, or a paper lamp with a bamboo, wood, or metal frame. This ryokan in a condo is not lacking in them. From the balcony to the bedroom, the andon lamps adorn every corner of the home to light it up in a soft, gentle glow when night falls.

3. Corridors with shoji screen sliding doors

ryokan condo in singapore - shoji sliding doorsImage credit: Ngieng Spatial Design

The shoji, or a traditional screen door, is one of the most integral elements in Japanese interior design, and it is a no-brainer that it replaced the default panel doors in this condo. The translucent screens help make the narrow corridor look and feel longer and more extensive than it is, and it helps to reduce any claustrophobia that may arise.

4. Futon beds on platforms with extra storage

ryokan condo in singapore - futons on tatami matsImage credit: Ngieng Spatial Design

A futon on a tatami mat is the quintessential image that’s associated with ryokans, and every bedroom in this condo is styled similarly.

The futons here are placed on top of a raised platform bed which has been covered with tatami mats for extra padding. Sheer zebra blinds also help to diffuse the natural light that streams into the room for the majority of the day.

futons on a platform bedImage credit: Ngieng Spatial Design

Some of the platforms were also turned into storage containers to utilise the space more efficiently.

5. Onsen with a view

ryokan condo in singapore onsen bathtubImage credit: Ngieng Spatial Design

It’s not a ryokan if it doesn’t have an onsen tub, and thankfully this condo is outfitted with one that makes it feel all the more otherworldly. The mini tub was installed in the corner of the bathroom, leaving 2 sides open to the views of the surrounding enclave. A shower curtain with motifs of cherry trees helps keep the water where it should be.

Singapore condo that looks like a Japanese ryokan

ryokan condo in singaporeImage credit: Ngieng Spatial Design

The respite offered by Japanese ryokans is an unrivalled experience, and it is something that this couple wanted to live in perpetuity. By transforming their home in Singapore into a modern contemporary ryokan, they don’t have to worry about flying to the capital of onsens just to escape into serenity.

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