Top 3 Places Where Foreigners Are Looking to Buy Homes in Japan, Outside Tokyo – August 2021

This month on Real Estate Japan, we’re continuing to see strong buyer interest in For Sale properties throughout the country.

The majority of searches and inquires are focused on Tokyo, but there are also many buyers searching in regional cities, especially in popular resort destinations.

This month, here are the Top 3 places, other than Tokyo, receiving inquiries for For Sale properties:

  1. Hakone (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  2. Kyoto (Kyoto Prefecture)
  3. Karuizawa (Nagano Prefecture)

#1 Hakone

Mr. Fuji and Lake Ashinoko, Hakone, via iStock

Coming in at number one this month is perennial favorite: Hakone. Hakone is a mountainous town located in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, about 87-km southwest of Tokyo, is known for its hot springs resorts (onsen) and views of the iconic volcano Mount Fuji. It is a popular day- and weekend-trip destination for Tokyo residents.

On Real Estate Japan, you can find a range of properties for sale in Hakone, from resort-style homes surrounded by nature, to apartments in condominium complexes closer to the center of town.

Examples of properties currently on the market in Hakone:

House for Sale in Hakone

2LDK (2-bedroom) house for sale in Hakone, in the Yunohana Kogen Villa Area, about a 30-minute drive to Hakone Yumoto Station. Large deck, both Japanese and western-style rooms. List price is ¥20 million ($182,000 USD). Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent. Image: Tokyu Resort

Apartment for sale in Hakone

1LDK (1-bedroom) apartment for sale in Hakone. Second floor unit in Famiel Villa Gora Tower 2. Great location, 6-min by car to Gora Station. List price is ¥8,800,000 ($80,000 USD). Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent. Image: Tokyu Resort

Enjoy fabulous views of Hakone Gairinzan peaks throughout the year while relaxing on the spacious deck.

#2 Kyoto

Street in Kyoto via iStock-697404088

At number two is Kyoto!

There are many good reasons to choose Kyoto as your home in Japan. A top draw for many resident foreigners is the breathtaking temples, shrines, gardens and other cultural destinations sprinkled throughout a relatively slow-paced but thoroughly modern city. Osaka Station is about thirty minutes by express train from Kyoto Station. Tokyo is also just two and half hours away by shinkansen.

This is not to mention the food (Kyoto is known for its tofu, kaiseki ryouri, and Buddhist vegetarian offerings) and proximity to spectacular natural areas, such as Arashiyama, located on the western outskirts of the city. Kyoto, of course, also offers urban delights. Shopping, dining, and entertainment are concentrated around Shijo-Kawaramachi. The covered shopping arcades will give you some relief from the summer heat and rainy season humidity but you will still have to jostle with the crowds.

On Real Estate Japan, properties available for sale in Kyoto run the range from renovated traditional machiya (town houses) to more recently constructed single-family homes and mid-rise apartment units, to whole building properties.

Examples of properties currently on the market in Kyoto:

House for sale in Kyoto

78.77 m² 1DK house with atelier for sale in Kyoto. List price is ¥19,800,000 ($180,000 USD). This is an exclusive listing by Hachise, a bilingual real estate agency in Kyoto. Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent.

Apartment for sale in Kyoto

4LDK (4-bedroom) apartment for sale in Kyoto, renovated in 2017. Enjoy excellent views of Kyoto Tower from the balcony. List price is ¥39,800,000 ($362,000 USD). Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent. Image: Community LAB

#3 Karuizawa

Karuizawa, Nagano in the fall, 2014, via iStock 824870900

Karuizawa is a resort town in the mountains of Nagano prefecture. It is located about 2-hours from Tokyo by shinkansen. Karuizawa is known for mild summers and is a popular weekend getaway destination for Tokyo residents. There are many summer recreational activities in Karuizawa, including hiking and cycling. Skiing and hot springs are popular in the winter.

On Real Estate Japan, many of the properties available for sale in Karuizawa are plots of undeveloped land and resort-style single-family homes. You can find price points from the equivalent of less than $100,000 USD to several million US dollars. Please use the filters on the search page to look for the properties that meet your criteria!

Examples of properties for sale in Karuizawa:

2LDK (2-bedroom house) for sale in Karuizawa. Large deck surrounded by greenery. List price is ¥18,800,000 ($171,000 USD). Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent.

New (2021) 3LDK house for sale in Karuizawa. List price is ¥46,800,000 ($426,000 USD). Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent. Image: Tokyu Resort

FAQs About Buying Property 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

Seminars on Buying Property in Japan

Please see our seminar page for a current list of seminars on: how to buy a home in Japaninvesting in Japanese real estate for beginnershow to apply for permanent residency in Japanhow to sell property in Japan, and much more.

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

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

What is the process for buying a property 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

Need to know: Earthquake building codes and technology in Japan

Bilingual Real Estate Agent in Tokyo Answers Your FAQs on Buying and Managing an Investment Property

How much is my property worth?

Real Estate Japan is pleased to offer free, no obligation appraisals for owners of property in Japan. Please click here and fill out the form: How much is my property worth?

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Lead photo: Karuizawa, Nagano in the fall, 2014, via iStock 824870900