6 Lofty and Steep Staircases

Let’s just say that Japanese safety codes aren’t exactly the same as ours when it comes to stairs. Welcome to the land of open banisters, tall ladders, and rail-free designs. Here, a roundup of six unconventional staircases:

Above: A wooden stair with a simple handrail leads to a bedroom in a house by Tato Architects. Photograph by Satoshi Shigeta.

Threefold House by Takao Shiotsuka Atelier | Remodelista

Above: A stairway from the Threefold House by Japanese firm Takao Shiotsuka Atelier.

Modern black metal staircase in Japan; Remodelista

Above: Minimalist metal risers in a Tokyo house designed by Apollo Architects.

Japanese ladder as stairs; Remodelista

Above: A ladder leads to a bedroom in a converted warehouse in Osaka by Yo Shimada of Tato Architects. Photograph by Satoshi Shigeta.

Wooden ladder in a Japanee house; Remodelista

Above: In addition to a stair, a ladder leads to the second floor of a house in Yamazaki designed by Tato Architects.

Above: Two sets of ladders access two stories in Sapporo’s Small Box House by Akasaka Shinichiro Atelier.

For more stair inspiration, check out 10 Radical Staircases for Tight Spaces.

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Christine Jones
Christine Jones4 months ago

Typical Japanese style; very streamlined, minimalist and attractive. Not for me though! I can just see my cat and foster dog sitting at the bottom giving me a look which clearly says "If you want us to go up you're carrying us; otherwise forget it!".

Debbie Miller
Debbie false2 years ago


Mary B.
Mary B.2 years ago

Don't they ever have things to carry up and down? Looks totally impractical, unsafe, and fit only for squirels and small primates. Sorry, but I find these designs quite worthless.

Franck Rio
Franck R.2 years ago


Wonder G2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you :)

Sheri P.
Sheri P.2 years ago

wow! i don't know about going up and down a steep ladder to get to and from my bedroom every day...

Vicky Baker
Vicky B.2 years ago

Those 'floating' stairs would scare me, I would look down and think about falling down those gaps all the time. My friends farmhouse in the early stages had two planks of wood balanced to walk across to get to the attic bedroom with a massive drop below. Unsurprisingly that room was never used until they put some stairs in, but they guys used to show off and stupidly walk across it anyway. It made my stomach turn just looking at it. I hate any kind of height.

Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

Some of these may look great but I wouldn't wanna be climbing up any of these---especially with a few cocktails in me. Thanks

Carol P.
Carol P.2 years ago

I wouldn't want to have to use any of those.