Glossary of Japanese Real Estate Terms: Selling and Purchasing

By Jeff Wynkoop

The following is a list of important Japanese real estate terms for purchase and sale transactions.


One Room
A one room apartment. Usually includes an en suite toilet/bathroom and kitchenette.


This is shorthand for the types of spaces offered in an apartment. 1K means a one room apartment with a kitchen. 1DK means a one room apartment with dining area and kitchen. 1LDK is a one room apartment with living, dining, and kitchen area. Families usually aim to live in 2LDKs or 3LDKs.

坪 tsubo

A tsubo is a unit of measurement that equals 3.3 square meters.

宅地建物取引業法 The Japanese Real Estate Transactions Law

Takuchi tatemono torihikigyouhou (or in short takkengyouhou). This is the main law that regulates the business of executing transactions in Japanese real estate.

重要事項説明書 Explanation of Important Matters

Juuyoujikousetsumeisho or juusetsu. A mandatory disclosure document (with required verbal explanation) that purchasers of real estate receive prior to executing any binding agreements. In practice, any matters material to a real estate investment decision should be disclosed to the purchaser in the juusetsu.

公図 kouzu

This is the official map of land parcels that is maintained at the local Legal Affairs Bureau for the relevant property. It is a good idea to check the specified land boundaries on the kouzu prior to acquiring property.

都市計画法 The City Planning Law.

Toshi keikakuhou. This is the basic law that regulates zoning standards and sets forth a blueprint for the development of urban planning areas (toshi keikaku kuiki).

法務局 The Legal Affairs Bureau

Houmukyoku. The local Legal Affairs Bureau has jurisdiction over land and buildings in the specified area.

登記簿 The Real Estate Registry

Toukibo. This is the legal record maintained at the local Legal Affairs Bureau, and is a good place to check past and present ownership and encumbrances of a property. A copy of the toukibo for any property is available to the general public for a small administrative fee.

登記 Touki

This means ‘registration’ in Japanese and is one of the ways that purchasers can protect their ownership interests in a property.

信託銀行 Trust Bank

Shintaku ginkou. Trust banks in Japan often hold, operate, and/or supervise real estate assets for clients.

受益権 Trust Beneficiary Interest

Juekiken. Usually a juekiken certificate is issued by the trust bank when it receives transfer of ownership in a real estate asset. In sum, it represents the equity interests in a property and entitles the holder to receive income from the entrusted asset.

土壌汚染 Soil Pollution

Dojouosen. There is a law that was amended in 2010 called the Law on Measures against Soil Pollution.

防火地域 Fire Prevention Zone

Bouka chiiki. Buildings in fire prevention zones must meet special construction material, design and other conditions.

容積率 Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

Yousekiritsu. The FAR regulates how much total space a building may have for a given parcel of land.

建蔽率 Building-to-Land Ratio

Kenpeiritsu. Refers to how much area of a parcel of land that a building may cover or occupy. This regulation helps to decrease urban density and is also important for fire prevention in high population areas.

建築確認制度 Building Certification Process

Kenchiku kakunin seido. This refers to the building certification process that contractors must go through to build a building. Basically the design must be pre-approved and the actual construction confirmed after the fact.

開発行為 Act of Development

Kaihatsu koui. Any real estate development that qualifies as an act of development under the City Planning Law must be separately permitted by the prefectural governor (or city mayor in some cases).

建築基準法 The Building Standards Law

Kenchikukijunhou. This law augments the City Planning Law and gives specific regulations for the twelve types of use zones in Japan.

検査済書 Kensazumisho

(also known as kenzumi) The Completion of Building Inspection Certificate. This is issued by local authorities for each building that upon completion of construction complies with the Building Standards Law.

PML (Probable Maximum Loss)

This is an insurance policy term and is the measure most often used to assess the potential economic loss from an earthquake.

鉄鋼鉄筋コンクリート or SRC

Tekkoutekkin konkriito. This means steel reinforced concrete, which is the safest building material for earthquakes.


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