Akiya banks are databases of vacant or abandoned homes in Japan where owners and local governments can list properties for sale and buyers can search for vacant homes to buy.
The two main nationwide akiya banks (空き家バンク) are operated by major Japanese real estate portal sites:
These sites have been selected by the government to be official akiya bank websites, but they do not necessarily list the same number of properties, or even all the vacant properties found in a particular municipality. For example, as of today, HOME’S database lists 393 akiya properties in Hokkaido, while At Home lists 38.
Also, local governments can choose, but are not required to submit properties to be shown on these sites. In other words, currently, a single nationwide searchable database of vacant homes in Japan does not really exist, even in Japanese.
Many municipalities operate their own akiya bank sites. Hokkaido, for example, has invested in a functional website that is regularly updated with new properties. Other prefectures do not have any searchable online database, only contact phone numbers where people can call to speak to a local government official.
Some cities, towns, and villages also have their own akiya bank databases, which are not necessarily coordinated with the prefectural site or with the HOME’S or At Home database. If you know the name of the town you want to search in, it is worth a shot to do a search engine search just by the town’s name + the words “空き家バンク” because, for the reasons mentioned above, there is not currently a single nationwide coordinated system for people to register their vacant properties to market to buyers. Some people will register a house for sale in their city’s database, but not on any other site.
In the chart below are links to the search results by prefecture for HOME’S and At Home’s akiya databases. The third column shows the official prefectural-level akiya database, or the closest information available. In some cases, the link will take you to a page with phone numbers to contact the local official in charge of akiya or information about the benefits of migrating to the prefecture because the prefecture does not have an online akiya database. Some prefectures have also contracted with the local real estate agency association website to operate their akiya bank.
If you can’t read Japanese the easiest way to navigate these pages is probably by using the Chrome browser’s translation function or Google translate.
List of Akiya Banks in Japan by Prefecture
Bilingual real estate agents in Japan
Before you buy a vacant property and as part of the due diligence, it is wise to see the property for yourself, accompanied by a local real estate agent, rather than just relying on information found online.
All of the agents listing properties on Real Estate Japan are bilingual in Japanese and English. Use this list of bilingual agents in Japan to start your search for an agent.
Real Estate Japan also holds free webinars on buying a home in Japan as a foreigner, where you’ll have a chance to connect with local bilingual agents. One of the topics our speakers discuss is special issues to consider when buying an akiya.
A local agent will also be able to introduce you to contractors and sub-contractors who have experience renovating vacant homes.
You may also be interested in:
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- Government plans to turn Japan’s abandoned houses into semi-quasi public housing
- Akiya Bank Japan vacant house database to now include government public assets
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Yes. You can buy property in Japan regardless of your nationality or country of origin. There are also no residency requirements for buying real estate in Japan. Securing financing as a resident foreigner is more complicated. For info on financing, please see Basic Requirements for Getting a Mortgage as a Foreigner in Japan
Please see our seminar page for a current list of seminars on: how to buy a home in Japan, investing in Japanese real estate for beginners, how to apply for permanent residency in Japan, how to sell property in Japan, and much more.
Please see this article for information on: Getting a property loan as a foreigner in Japan
Please see our step-by-step guide: Guide to Buying Property in Japan
See how much you can borrow and your monthly payments in yen: Yen Mortgage Loan Calculator
For information about purchase and brokerage fees: Breakdown of real estate purchase fees and taxes in Japan
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