Dollhouse (1)

While dollhouses have been popular in Europe for centuries, they didn’t really develop a strong showing in Japan until the 1970s. However, since they’ve gained a foothold in Japanese society, they’ve gained popularity and a number of domestic craftsmen have appeared. One of the hottest dollhouse makers in Japan (a phrase we never thought we’d write) has gotten a lot of attention online due to the high quality of the miniatures–particularly the dollhouses based on Japanese buildings!

Dollhouse (2)

Billy, the company responsible for these dollhouses, sells a wide variety of products, including dollhouses in the Western style as well as miniatures with animals and tiny furniture as well. But it is the tiny Showa era buildings that have really captured people’s attention. The exquisite attention to detail, as you can see in the photos, make the dollhouses extremely life-like. We particularly love the tiny signs!

Dollhouse (7)

Considering how small the miniature buildings are–they range from around 185 mm (about 7.2 inches) to 220 mm (about 8.6 inches) in width and between 150 mm (5.9 inches) and 180 mm (7.0 inches) in height–the detail is quite impressive. Even if you’re too old to play with dolls, they still might be the perfect house for your hamster! Or maybe even your hedgehogs?

Dollhouse (6)

Of course, there is one drawback to the dollhouses–you’ll have to put them together yourself! Since Billy apparently does much of its business online, these dollhouses are sold as kits. While it means you won’t quite get the instant gratification of playing with a new toy, it does seem to help keep costs down–the dollhouses range from about 3,000 yen (roughly US$25) to 5,500 yen (around $46).

Billy_Y_2Tori no Subako

For an example of a how the kits are put together, watch this step-by-step construction video for the above dollhouse.

Billy_YTori no Subako

If you’re interested in buying a Billy dollhouse, you’ll probably want to be in Japan. Their website provides a wide range of houses and relatively inexpensive shipping inside Japan. If you live overseas, you can probably find a local dealer with a Google search, but be prepared to pay almost double the price, like this listing on Amazon USA, which is around $67.


Tori no Subako

But you may want to eat before you start playing with your new dollhouse. Some of the food packaging they feature is enough to make your stomach start rumbling!

Dollhouse (3)

Dollhouse (4)

If you prefer to check out the products you buy before plunking down hard yen, you can find Billy’s miniatures at various stores around Japan. And if you happen to find yourself in Osaka, you can even check out their factory direct store.

Sources: Japaaan, Billy Dollhouse
Images (unless otherwise noted): Japaaan