Here are the frequently asked questions on buying a house in Japan.

General Questions

Can a foreigner buy a house in Japan?

Yes, there are no legal restrictions on buying real estate properties in Japan for foreigners. There is no need to have a Japanese citizenship or permanent residency (Eijuken) to buy a house in Japan. However, owning a property in Japan does not entitle the purchaser any special status such as a Permanent Resident Visa.

Can I buy a house in Japan without having to visit Japan in person?

While it is possible, many local real estate agents in rural Japan do not conduct online property viewing and will only accept buyers who can actually visit the property in person. There are exceptions (more likely in bigger cities) so please contact us if you wish to purchase a particular property without vising Japan.

Do I have to move to Japan to buy a property?

No, you don't need to move in Japan and you are not required to have any residential registration in Japan to purchase a property in Japan. By Japanese law, you may purchase property for vacation use, investment use and residential use even you visit the property only once a year.

Please note that most Akiya houses listed on the Akiya banks require the buyer to relocate to the city and town where the house is located.

About Purchase

Can a foreigner apply for housing loan/mortgage?

In most cases, housing loans are only available to people with permanent residency or Japanese citizenship which means the purchase need to be made in cash (bank wire transfer) for buyers from overseas.

Can I apply for purchase without viewing a property?

It depends on the local real estate agent or company. For some properties, the local real estate agent may not be able to conduct online property viewing, or they may reject inquiries from overseas as they prefer meeting the buyer in person. While it will be the easiest if someone you know who lives in Japan can act on your behalf, we can also provide assistance to help you purchase a property without the need to visit Japan. Please contact us for more information.

What kind of subsidies are available for renovation?

There are different types and amount of subsidies for house renovation offered by each municipality. For example, Kanazawa city offers up to 15,000,000 JPY for fixing a Mahciya in the Important Traditional Architecture Preservation Area.

Requirement for each subsidy is different. Please contact each municipality directly if you want to confirm whether or not you are applicable for subsidies for a particular property. The types and amount of subsidies may change each fiscal year starting April.

About Properties

Will I be able to buy a property that contains farmland even if I don't plan to farm?

The buyer needs to obtain permission from the agriculture committee of Japan if the property contains farmland. It will be difficult to get permission if the buyer is not a licensed farmer in Japan. However, depending on the area of the property, the farmland may be changed into residential land through proper registration. After farmland has been changed to residential land (or other types of land), there will be no need for permission from the agriculture committee of Japan for purchasing the property.

Can I run a AirBnb or other lodging business with the property?

Yes, however the rules and restrictions are slightly different for each municipal. Please confirm with the municipal first if you wish to run a guest house with the property.

How much will renovation cost?

It depends on the area, condition, and size of the property. There are properties that you can move in right away but there are also ones that will take more than 30 mil yen for a full scale renovation. In most cases, you should prepare at least 10 mil yen for fixing a standard size Kominka (~200sqm floor area). This includes, if not all, repairing the roof, repairing interior and exterior wall, replacing flooring, adding modern bathrooms and kitchens, and renewing electric wires and gas pipeline.

Are these houses resistant to earthquakes?

Traditional Japanese houses built before 1950 were built with the method of not fighting and resisting, but rather unifying and coexisting with the forces of nature by understanding and taking advantage of wood and understanding its characteristics.

That said, a reliable method of diagnosing earthquake resistance of traditional Japanese houses has not been established thus it is difficult to accurately measure the stability of these houses. We ask buyers to understand the situation, and acknowledge the risk of possible collapse in the event of a severe earthquake.

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