Foreign Property Ownership in Japan

For centuries foreigners have been fascinated with Japan and many have decided to make it their home. Japan is an archipelago of close to 7,000 islands and has been and continues to be a popular destination for tourists due to its scenic beauty, natural hot springs (called onsen), artistic cuisine, traditional culture and 18 World Heritage Sites, including Himeji-jo Castle and the Historic monuments of Kyoto.

In Japan, unlike many places in Asia, there are no restrictions in regards to real estate ownership of both land and building. Foreigners regardless of their nationality or visa status may purchase property. Currently there are no laws or regulations in Japan that prohibit the purchase of Japanese property. Actually it’s possible to purchase property without visiting the country although that is a strategy we do not recommend. Property titles can be registered to any foreign address, and you can buy and sell pretty much any type of property, whether it be land, apartments, homes, buildings, forests, or even golf courses. The Japanese government only limits foreign property purchases in areas of strategic importance, such as defense sites, water treatment plants or other utility companies.

Either a command of Japanese language, a fluent Japanese speaker or company is necessary to assist in purchasing property, however, the rest of the process is relatively straightforward.

Contacting a real estate agent will be the first step and they will work with you through the process. There are companies who can also assist with this process.