My Tokyo Minimalist Bedroom and Workspace

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The last time I wrote about my minimalist bedroom, I was living in Kobe with a host family. My room was simple – just a futon, a chair and a desk. There was also a piano in the room that belonged to my host sisters, which I would use from time to time.

It turned out that it was all I needed. I learned a valuable lesson that year – that the less stuff I had to hold me back, the more I was free to do what I liked, and enjoy my time in Japan.

Since then, I have lived in a couple of different rooms and apartments. Amongst them, in the UK, I lived in a beautiful apartment with a wonderful view of Leeds, then in a small flat in London, and then, after a short time back at home, I moved back to Japan.

In Kochi prefecture, I was lucky enough to live in a countryside house with three tatami rooms. I would love to share photos of all of these places one day, but since people have been asking, here is where I’m living right now.

my minimalist bedroom (tokyo edition)

When it was time to move to Tokyo, I spent a long time trying to find a place to live. It was difficult to find an apartment that I liked the look and feel of, but after many, many hours of searching, I settled on an apartment near the centre of the city, pictured here.


The bedroom isn’t large, but it is comfortable. I liked the clean white walls and the simple flooring. The big window lets in a lot of natural light, and the large shiny desk felt like it was inviting me to sit down and write.

Notice that I don’t have a wardrobe. Initially, it wasn’t out of choice, but now I’ve realised that I don’t even need one. I own very few clothes anyway, so I just hang a few work shirts and my black suit jacket on the rack, and fold the rest of my clothes on the shelf.

I shifted the desk slightly after taking these photos so that I would have space to roll out my yoga mat. I don’t own much else except for a few books, which I put on the shelf, and my trusty laptop, which sits on my desk.

my minimalist workspace


I prefer to keep the top of my desk as clear as possible. My laptop has a permanent position in the middle (unless I’m studying from a textbook), and I usually allow just a few notes, and a cup of coffee, of course.

I find that having too many bits of paper, knick-knacks, and even my phone on the desk distracts me from my work. (I’ve since moved the lamp pictured above to my bedside instead.) Perhaps I’m easily distracted, but this has always been my style.

The kitchen and bathroom is just as you would expect in a big city. Small, yet functional, it has everything I need, and nothing more.

from minimalism to freedom

I’ve talked before about how minimalism, far from restricting you, actually can grant you more freedom. Not having suitcases of stuff to drag around with me every time I move means that:

I can move all of my possessions in one trip. I can take all of my necessities without breaking my back while dragging things across train stations and airports.

I can live relatively small spaces. In a city as expensive as Tokyo, that makes a big difference.

I can live more comfortably. It’s easier to maintain a place that isn’t overflowing with stuff. I spend very little time cleaning – just brushing the floor and wiping down surfaces every couple of days. This gives me plenty of time to do the things that I want to do, from reading in bed to exploring the city.

I don’t earn much money, and I don’t have a lot of free time, but not having to worry about all of the above is especially beneficial for a nomad like me. It’s time like these that I’m really grateful that I found the minimalist way.

Do you have any thoughts or photos you’d like to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments! Or, join Minimal Student’s new Facebook page for immediate updates on future posts, minimalist inspiration, throwback Thursdays, quotes, photos and more.



  • ana

    Thanks for sharing! Loved reading about your life in Tokyo and and how minimalism can help when trying to realise one´s life goals.

  • Merry King

    I love your room! And I just adore your argyle bedding. 🙂 And like always, you inspired me to minimalize more. Also, I think I may have said this before, but your blog is so calming to read and look at.

    Hope you’re doing well in Tokyo!


    • Thanks for your lovely comment Merry. I spent a lot of time designing the blog (funnily enough, it takes a lot of effort to make something look clean and simple) so that means a lot to me.

      Also, today I learned that it’s called argyle 😉

  • Alison June


    Thank you for sharing this. I thought I was pretty extreme but I love being inspired to go a step further. I, also, adore japan. What I would give to live and work there!! But, alas I am married with four children. Next lifetime maybe 🙂
    I would love to see your little kitchen and bathroom. I have been known to watch YouTube video tours of Japanese apartments. Even though I don’t speak the language, I love the peaceful style.
    I’ll have to blow the dust off the old facebook account to join you in your journey 🙂

    Much peace and happiness,


    • Hi Ali,

      Thank you for your comment. I wouldn’t give up! Perhaps one day you can at least come and visit Japan 🙂

      I thought it would be good to show the kitchen and bathroom as well, but I didn’t get much choice in how it was arranged. When I get my own place and I have to time to do some work on it, I’ll be sure to write a whole post about creating a minimalist kitchen!

      Best of luck to you and your family on your journey,

  • Watching your room one
    thing occurs to me: minimalist means tidy?

    I have too a minimalist room, but I can see it only when it is in ordered. 🙂

    • Hm, good point Inconnu, I guess my answer to that is that most minimalist rooms look tidy because they tend to have are fewer things in them.

      However, I don’t think it’s true the other way around – a tidy room doesn’t necessarily mean that it is minimalist.

      I have seen lots of rooms/houses that are absolutely cluttered with stuff, but things are kept tidy on shelves or in boxes and out of sight.

      Just because it is arranged neatly so that it looks tidy, it doesn’t mean it’s minimalist (which is all about only having what you need).

      I hope that helps!

      • Not
        every tidy room is minimal but every minimal room is tidy. Anyway I think the
        same, Jessica, it was only a self-criticism ahah :D. I have to keep my room in
        order 🙂

  • Its Beautiful workplace I always wish to you have.
    So you are in Tokyo? How much does it cost to Live there for as minimalism?

    • Thanks Vaibhav, yes I’m in Tokyo 🙂 It depends on where you live, and what type of apartment you get, but it can be very reasonable if you’re willing to pare down!

      • Thanks Jessica for a reply.
        It would be personal but What about your cost of living there? Can you tell me approximate or average figure?
        That would be help me.

        • Like any city, it varies very widely! Depending on where you live and the size of your apartment, rent could be anywhere from 30,000 yen per month to over 400,000.

          • Thanks Jessica, waiting for more post to read from Japan by You. 🙂

  • Josh

    Hey Jessica,
    It is great to see an update! I love the simple space, and I agree with what Alison said — I love seeing the simplicity of Japanese dwellings. I cannot wait to see Japan, the countryside, and small “towns”.

    • Hi Josh, yes the Japanese countryside is very beautiful 🙂 Also, I’m working on a future post all about Japanese style homes, stay tuned!

      • I love Japan and I always want to visit it. I like everything culture food, and those sweet homes. Jessica, you are lucky that you are living at there. 🙂

  • Ruth Flo

    Thanks for adding a FB page! In simplifying my life I found my digital presence was far too complicated. I followed too many blogs on several different RSS readers, I was a member of too many websites and wasted so much time checking all of my communication outlets. Mental clutter is just as bad a physical clutter!

    I’ve recently downsized to follow my favourite blogs/websites only through Facebook – which was the medium I used most – and only keeping a separate email address. It saves me so much time, energy and unnessecary buttons on my browser!

    • Thanks for your comment Ruth! I’m happy to hear that I can reach out to readers through Facebook. For some reason, I had always thought my blog would be mostly read via RSS or email, but I know that lots of readers follow my posts through Twitter, so why not Facebook too? 🙂

  • Your room is very nice for Tokyo standards, I think I stayed in a very very similar room during my time in the city centre before I moved 🙂 (There is only so many places you can stay at easily when you are a foreigner I guess?)
    Have a great time in Tokyo, I wish you the best of luck! Japan is an amazing country as you know and I hope your dreams will come true in this wonderful place!

    -from a minimalist who not only shares your first name, but also your love for Japan (

  • Juan

    Hey Jessica, I think minimalist bedrooms are great. I’ve followed suit, attempting to design my own bedroom in a minimalist style after reading your blogs. Unfortunately its harder to integrate the whole minimalist way of life into other areas of my life, but its a work in progress and I’m getting a feel for it. Seems like the biggest obstacle are other people in my life, even though I love them, not everyone recognises and appreciates minimalism. Their clutter and excess gets it way to me even though its done with the best of intentions. Which just made me realise once again, (wo)man is not an island. A problem I often have are all those extras in a room, where do you keep your books, cables and stationery?

    • Hi Juan, you’re totally right, and I completely understand your situation (believe me!). I suppose the best thing to do is to lead by example – show people that you’re happier with less stuff, without preaching or telling them. They will naturally sense how much better off you seem, and they may (consciously or unconsciously) follow suit, slowly but surely.

      As for other extra bits, I try my best to not have too many of those things in the first place. I try to keep cables and stationary down to a minimum by getting higher quality, multi-purpose stuff. I’ve learned to let go to a certain extent to the sentimentality of having real books, and getting ebooks instead. It wasn’t an easy transition, but I’ve come to realise that I still get about 90% of the benefits of a book anyway by reading the ebook version. If I really, really like it, and I think I will benefit more from having a physical version, then I might consider buying it, but thinking carefully first helps with reducing stuff 🙂

  • andrea

    Hello Jessica,
    I would like to become a minimalist and I have tried to start before, but I always fall in the trap of our materialistic nature. Any tips? I am a 17 year old girl. 🙂 Can you do a post on wardrobe essentials? <that is the hardest part for me