A couple that lived in Tsukiji before the war evacuated from the city during the air raids. With monetary support from their employer, in 1948 they built a small, two-story home in Akasaka for themselves and their newly-adopted 6-year-old daughter. A carpenter who dug air raid shelters during the war built the house from what materials he could secure amid rationing.

The high-growth 1960s brought taller buildings and ever more traffic to Akasaka; eventually, Tokyo Little House was the last postwar wooden building left on the street. After the couple that built the house passed away, it remained home to two more generations of the same family.

With this history in mind, we renovated the second-floor family home into a space where travelers can imagine how people used to live, and the first-floor shop into a cafe hosting exhibitions.


Tokyo Little House takes inspiration from the picture book The Little House. Our house, sandwiched between the skyscrapers of the city, reminded us of the little house in the book.

Written by American author Virginia Lee Burton in 1943, the story of The Little House begins with a small house in a pasture atop a field. Gradually roads are built, the city follows, and soon high-rises and highways loom over the little house. Eventually the resident moves away, but the story has a happy ending when the house is moved to the countryside once again.

This story distills the urban transformation of the 20th century: technological progress brought subways, highways, and skyscrapers, but the little house lost its place in the city. This history was repeated in postwar Tokyo, but we never felt that our house had lost its place.

Our little house has stood quietly as Tokyo emerged from the darkness of ruins into the glow of neon lights. We preserved this place in the hope that its memory could serve as a medium to share glimpses of life in the city of the past with those who visit and call it home today.


Tokyo Little House is run by Akasaka Bunka Company. Our company presents new ways to understand the city’s history, geography, and culture through map production, editing, writing, translation, and research. Our staff is happy to help guests to plan their stay in Tokyo.