Climb a ladder to access a bedroom just large enough to fit a full-sized mattress at the Koyosan Guesthouse, built by Kyoto studio Alphaville Architects to house those visiting a nearby Shington Buddhist temple. Fittingly spare and monk-like, the guest house features an all-white interior with cathedral ceilings and skylights that pull natural light into the open common areas.
The design takes inspiration from capsule hotels, offering guests the bare minimum of private space to sleep. The rooms are stacked two-high with pale wood doors; larger bedrooms with bunk beds are also available. Lounging and dining areas create a dormitory-style environment when guests want to socialize.
With its clerestory windows and wooden construction, the design pays tribute to both traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture. The open framework consisting of rows of two-by-four wooden beams ensures that the contents of the building can easily be changed out in the future, making the shell of the building adaptable.
Koyasan is a temple of the Shingon Buddhism sect founded 1,200 years ago, and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s located in the town of Koya, in the mountains to the south of Osaka.