This study determined the occurrence of legionellae in private houses for which there were no available data on aquatic environments other than the water supply system. From June 2013 to November 2014, we collected 138 water and 90 swab samples from aquatic environments in 19 houses. Legionella DNA was detected via a loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay in 66 (47·8%) water and 17 (18·9%) swab samples. High Legionella DNA detection rates were observed in water samples from washing machines and aquariums. Legionella spp. was isolated from 9 (6·5%) water and 3 (3·3%) swab samples. Legionella pneumophila SG 1 was detected from the outlet water of a bathtub spout and a bath sponge. Use of amoebic co-culture effectively increased legionellae and Legionella DNA detection rates from all sample types. A logistic regression analysis revealed that the heterotrophic plate count was significantly related to Legionella contamination. Our findings indicate that there is a risk of legionellosis from exposure to Legionella spp. in a variety of aquatic environments in residential houses. Control measures for legionellae in houses should include frequent cleaning and disinfecting to reduce heterotrophic bacteria in water and, where possible, preventing aerosolization from aquatic environments.