Buying property in Atami: One of Japan’s Top Onsen Resorts

As one of Japan’s leading onsen (hot springs) resorts, Atami is a popular getaway destination for Tokyo residents, since it is less than an hour away by shinkansen from the capital. In the last few years, it has also become increasingly popular as an area for people looking to buy second homes and even primary residences within commuting distance of Tokyo.

About 6 million visitors a year visit Atami to enjoy the hot springs, ocean sports, museums, mouthwatering seafood and incomparable views of Mt. Fuji. During the bubble economy of the late 1980s, many mega-developments sprung up along Atami’s waterfront, but the local economy and property market declined when the bubble burst. 

Image credit: Angel Real Estate
Atami ocean front
However, in recent years, the city has enjoyed a resurgence. It has rebranded itself as not only a hot springs resort but also as a museum and water sports destination that is popular with families and individual travelers.

Let’s take a look at the main reasons why properties in this area are in demand and some things to be aware of if you are considering buying a home or investment property in this historic resort town.

Overview and Access

Atami is a picturesque seaside city located on Japan’s Izu Peninsula in the prefecture of Shizuoka, about 100-km southwest of Tokyo.

The commercial center lies on a narrow strip of land along the coast but much of the city is set among steep mountain slopes, and the city itself is actually part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

One of Atami’s main attractions as a Tokyo-area resort destination is the ease of access.

It is connected to Tokyo by the JR Tokaido shinkansen and by local and rapid trains along the JR Tokaido line. From Tokyo Station it is about a 45-minute ride via shinkansen, with one to three trains an hour. A one-way shinkansen ticket is about ¥4,000.

Hot springs and other attractions

Atami has been luring visitors for centuries with the invigorating powers of its hot springs. In fact, the eponymous saltwater hot springs themselves gave the city its name, which literally means “hot sea”. 

It was especially popular in the Edo period, when many feudal lords visited the area for relaxation and healing. In the Meiji era, leading political and financial luminaries built villas in Atami and a number of famous literary figures produced major works while residing there.

In modern times, visitors to Atami can enjoy numerous purpose-built attractions, including Atami Castle, which was built in 1959. The castle also features many exhibits about historic castles around Japan.

Visitors also come to Atami throughout the year to see the spectacular Atami Sea Fireworks Festival, which is held over a dozen times annually. 

Image credit: Angel Real Estate
Atami Fireworks Festival
Another highlight is the MOA Museum of Art, which features an impressive collection of Japanese and East Asian art. The extensive grounds also include a Japanese-style garden with tea houses and a noh theater.

If outdoor pursuits are more your style, head to Hatsushima, Shizuoka’s only inhabited island, where you can enjoy snorkeling, fishing and other outdoor activities. The island can be reached via a 30-minute ferry from Atami Port.

Atami Sun Beach, an artificial sand beach easily accessible from Atami Station, is also a popular attraction for families and couples.

Atami is also famous in Japan for having one of the earliest blooming cherry blossoms in the country. It is home to a variety of cherry blossoms that reach their peak between mid-January and early February, fully six to eight weeks before Tokyo’s peak blooming period!

Image credit: Angel Real Estate
Kawazu sakura tunnel

Attractions of Atami for homebuyers

Some regular visitors to Atami ultimately decide to buy a second home there, or even consider moving there permanently rather than making the trip from Tokyo.

Ease of access to the center of Tokyo is certainly one of the main attractions for buyers who are shopping for a vacation home. As mentioned above, it is less than a one hour shinkansen trip from Tokyo Station, so a roundtrip shinkansen ride can be made for less than ¥10,000 ($65 USD).

Atami also offers convenient access to other parts of Japan. For example, it is about one hour and 20 minutes to Nagoya by shinkansen, 40-minutes to Hakone by car and just under an hour to Gotemba Outlets.

Atami also offers plentiful indoor and outdoor activities in addition to its main attraction of being a hot springs resort. With a population of about 34,000 (2024), the city also offers a slow-paced, small-town living environment.

Atami’s property market

Homebuyers can choose from a variety of properties in Atami, from resale condominiums to free-standing homes. Local agents can also assist you in buying land so that you can build your dream home from the ground up.

The most distinctive feature of resort condominiums in Atami City is that many of them are close to the sea, offering spectacular views.

Many condominiums also have attached hot springs facilities on the premises, which means you can enjoy Atami’s this luxury without even having to leave the building. 

One point to note is that many of Atami’s condominium developments were built about 50 years ago. This means that the exterior of some properties have shown signs of aging. The advantage of this, however, is that the unit price for unrenovated properties in older buildings will tend to be less expensive. This makes them an affordable option for single people and double-income families.

Also, as is the case when purchasing condominiums anywhere, it is important for buyers to do their due diligence with respect to the monthly management fees and required repair reserve fees. For older buildings, repair reserve fees tend to be higher, and fees are paid per co-owner, so if your seller is not paid up, you may have unforeseen liability.

As opposed to buying a unit in a condominium development, buying a free-standing home also has many advantages, including the possibility of a larger living area and more privacy. 

Whichever property type you choose, it is important to keep in mind that if you only plan to occupy your home for only part of the year, it is recommended that you engage a property manager to help you maintain the property while you are away and possibly to help you lease it out as a rental property.

Examples of properties for sale

At Real Estate Japan, we partner with a number of local bilingual agents in Atami. All of our agents can assist you with understanding local market conditions and help you with your particular purchase objective.

Here are a few examples of what is currently on the market in Atami.

3LDK House for Sale in Atami

Image credit: Angel Real Estate
3LDK (3-bedroom) house for sale in Atami, built in 2023.
Price: ¥49,800,000 ($317,000 USD)

Location: Kamitaga district of Atami, about 20-min by car from Atami Station

Size: 105.98 m² 3LDK (3 bedrooms + living/dining room)

Land Area: 665.00 m²

Construction: Wood

Year built: 2023

Image credit: Angel Real Estate
One of the great features of this home is a spacious covered balcony, perfect for entertaining while enjoying beautiful views.
Highlights:

  • Built in 2023
  • All Western-style rooms, spacious covered balcony, 2 parking spaces
  • Investment property, with estimated gross yield of 6.5%

Agent: Angel Real Estate

2LDK Apartment for Sale in Atami

Image credit: Tokyu Resort Corporation
2LDK, 5th-floor apartment for sale in Atami.
Price: ¥37,500,000 ($239,000 USD)

Location: Elevated location on a hill of Mt. Izu, about a 2 min. walk to the nearest bus stop, then 15 min. by bus to Atami Station

Size:71.59 m²

Story: 5th floor apartment in 11-story building (Lunez Atami BLUESIA)

Construction: Reinforced concrete

Year built: 2009

Image credit: Tokyu Resort Corporation
This property offers gorgeous ocean views.
Highlights:

  • Southeast corner unit with excellent lighting and ventilation
  • Spectacular views of the Sagami Sea, Hatsushima, Oshima, and the Izu Peninsula
  • Common area facilities include an open-air bath with natural hot spring water and a large hot spring bath with a mist sauna attached

Agent: Tokyu Resort Corporation

4LDK House for Sale in Atami

Image credit: Solid Real Estate
This stunning 4LDK house for sale is located in a popular villa area in Atami and is part of a managed villa estate. Please click on the photo for the full listing and more photos.
Price: ¥150,000,000 ($954,000 USD)

Location: Kamitaga district of Atami, about 28-min by car from Atami Station

Size: 173.90 m² 4LDK (4 bedrooms + living/dining room)

Land Area: 1,716.00 m²

Construction: Wood

Year built: 2011

Highlights:

  • Located in Kamitaga, a popular villa area in Atami
  • Part of a managed village estate that includes tennis courts and a dog run
  • House has a hot spring and large deck with stunning ocean views
  • Spacious 57-sqm living room
  • 5 parking spaces

Agent: Solid Real Estate

In conclusion

Atami is a gorgeous hot springs resort city that offers many attractions for potential homebuyers, but as with any property purchase, it is highly recommended that you consult a local bilingual real estate agent to help you. They are best equipped to help you understand local market conditions and advise you on what truly fits your home buying objectives.

Please click here for a list of properties for sale in Atami, including the listing agents.


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