Buying a Home in Japan for $150,000 Outside the Big Cities

In this installment of the “What can you buy in Japan” series, we go outside Japan’s metropolises to see what is available for $150,000 or much less in regional cities and towns.

Before we present some examples, let’s briefly take a look at why there are homes available at this price point in Japan’s regional cities.

Population Trends and Effect on Property Prices

When you are researching Japan’s property market, there are a few demographic trends that are immediately apparent. Their effect on supply and demand in regional markets versus Tokyo is also clear.

  • Japan as a whole has been in the throes of a long-term population decline. It is projected that the country’s population will shrink by 30% by 2065. As people pass away, many have been leaving behind family homes which their children do not want to (or cannot) live in or maintain. It is estimated that there are 8.2 million vacant houses in Japan. Many of these are in a condition that are not habitable, but which still incur fixed asset taxes. Of course, there are also many perfectly acceptable (and even desirable) properties, vacant simply as a result of people moving in and out of a town for work or family reasons.
  • At the same time, Tokyo’s population is growing, as young people move into the city to work. The high demand for central Tokyo properties reflects this. See this article for the implications for investing in Tokyo real estate.
  • For lifestyle reasons, there is a small but growing trend among some young Japanese couples and families to return to the towns where their families are from (called the U-Turn phenomenon) or to a completely new town outside the big cities.
  • In an effort to stem their population decline, many towns and municipalities offer financial incentives and assistance for finding jobs to encourage inward migration by young people (especially those who want to start a family). These programs are meant mainly for Japanese nationals, and information about them can be found on the town’s official website in Japanese.

With all that in mind, below we give some examples of what you can buy for $150,000 (¥16,800,00) or much less outside Japan’s big cities. Scroll to the bottom of the article for FAQs about buying a house in Japan, taxes and fees, and home loans.

3BR House for Sale in Nara ($133,000)

Where: Katsuragi-shi, Nara Prefecture. Katsuragi-shi has a population of about 37,200 and is about 35-km south of Osaka.

3-bedroom 98-sqm house for sale in Katsuragi-shi, Nara. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

Price: ¥14,980,000 (133,000 USD)

Size and Layout: 98.6-sqm, 3BR (3LDK = 3 Rooms + Living/Dining Room)

Floors:  Two

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1994

5BR+ House for Sale in Shiga Prefecture ($107,000)

Location: Ōtsu-shi, Mie Prefecture. Ōtsu is the capital city of Shiga Prefecture, Japan. Ōtsu is known as the main port of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. About 15-km east of Kyoto.

5-bedroom (+ bonus room) house for sale in Otsu, Mie Prefecture. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

Price: ¥11,980,000 (107,000 USD)

Size and Layout: 144-sqm, 5BR (3LDK = 5 Rooms + Living/Dining Room + storage room)

Floors:  Two

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1978

Notes: Japanese and western-style rooms, carport

5-bedroom (+ bonus room) house for sale in Otsu, Mie Prefecture. House has both Japanese and western-style rooms. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

2BR House for Sale Yamanashi ($132,000)

Location: Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture, with a population of 45,300. About 140-km west of Tokyo.

Two-bedroom house for sale in Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi. Please click on the photo for the full listing, interior photos, and the full listing.

Price: ¥14,800,000 (132,000 USD)

Size and Layout: 67-sqm, 2BR (2LDK = 2 Rooms + Living/Dining Room)

Floors:  Two

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1999

Notes: Log cabin-style interior

Two-bedroom house for sale in Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi. Please click on the photo for the full listing, interior photos, and the full listing.

4BR+ House Sale Akita ($120,000)

Location: Akita-shi, the capital of Akita prefecture. Akita is located on the northwest coast of the main island of Japan, and has a population of about 315,000.

4-bedroom house for sale in Akita-shi, Japan. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

Price: ¥13,500,000 (120,000 USD)

Size and Layout: 119-sqm, 4BR (4SLDK = 4 Rooms + Living/Dining Room + Bonus Room)

Floors:  Two

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1981

Notes: Japanese and western-style rooms

4-bedroom house for sale in Akita-shi, Japan. House has Japanese and western-style rooms. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

6BR House for Sale Nagano ($132,000)

Location: Tatsuno, Nagano prefecture. Tatsuno is a town of 19,200 located in a small valley in the Japanese Alps.

6-bedroom house for sale in the town of Tatsuno, Nagano prefecture. House has Japanese and western-style rooms. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

Price: ¥14,800,000 (132,000 USD)

Size and Layout: 227-sqm, 6BR (7DK = 7 Rooms + Dining/Kitchen)

Floors:  Two

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1990

Notes: Japanese and western-style rooms

6-bedroom house for sale in the town of Tatsuno, Nagano prefecture. House has Japanese and western-style rooms. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

FAQs About Buying a Home in Japan

Can a foreigner buy property in Japan?

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“.

How do I get a home loan as a foreigner in Japan?

Please see this article for information on: Getting a home loan as a foreigner in Japan

What is the process for buying a home in Japan?

Please see our step-by-step guide: Guide to Buying a Home 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

For information about real estate taxes: Guide to Japanese real estate taxes