Japanese homeware brand Muji has developed a cult following worldwide, with objects for every facet of life. It even launched a couple of hotels to offer guests an immersive ‘Muji experience’, from restaurant to room. But the brand’s new hospitality venture takes minimalist living to an even more intimate level, curating ‘a day in the life of’ Airbnb experience within the confines of a 100-year-old countryside home.
Having already opened hotels in Shenzhen and Tokyo, the next logical step for anti-branding retailer Muji was to set up an Airbnb rental. Muji Base Kamogawa, as it’s called, is an exercise in the minimal Muji life, stocked entirely with goods from the retailer and offering ‘no excessive services’.
The century property was previously the Noda Printmaking Workshop and is built in a traditional style in the Chiba Prefecture. It’s close to the Kamogawa River and the nearest rice field to Tokyo, Oyama Sannabata, with the surrounding countryside described by Muji as ‘the original landscape of Japan’ – a holdout of the satoyama lifestyle that sees people and nature peacefully coexist.
Guests can book for two nights or more, which will set them back around £300. During the stay, they can subsist on Muji packaged meals or order fresh meals made with seasonal local ingredients. There are Muji pyjamas, Muji bedding and Muji toothbrushes for guests’ nighttime routine. There’s also the option to book local experiences, including melon harvesting, dairy farming and hiking.
The brand plans to open more of these Muji Bases over time, taking over vacant and abandoned houses in Japan (known as akiya) and turning them into curated retreats.