Why do Japanese have their washing machines on their balconies? Why are Japanese toilets so small and narrow? Why do Japanese kitchen’s have only two cooking panels? Why is parking in Japan so expensive? And rent, too?
It is all about space. Japan is a big country, but only 30% can be used for living, the rest is mostly rugged and mountainous. Therefore, space is more precious than you could even imagine!
So, how is space saved? Keeping your washing machine on the balcony is one way. Most cheaper apartments have already a pipeline and a tap set up on the balcony and older houses too. In those cheaper apartments, even if you wanted to keep your washing machine inside, there is no way it would fit anywhere. And if you wonder about rain and weather: washing machines are rather robust and withstand most weather.
The same goes for Japanese toilets: to save space, when the building was constructed, least space was given for the toilet. It would be a waste to give, there, more space than necessary, even if that meant that your knees are touching the wall or toilet door.
Again for the cooking panels: most Japanese kitchen, this goes for bigger houses, too, have only two cooking panels. But Japanese housewives and househusbands are clever and can perfectly deal with the situation by cooking in a smart way, to have everything done at the same time, or at least those dishes, which need to be served hot at the end.
And as you might have already guessed right, outside space is limited too. It is so tight, that there is absolutely no free parking anywhere in big cities. Finally, rent is the most expensive in comparison to other countries, which is again, all about space!