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Can you own a house in Japan without being a citizen?


Japan is a country with rich culture, advanced technology, and a booming economy. As a result, many people from around the world are interested in owning property in this beautiful country. However, one question that often arises is whether non-citizens can own a house in Japan. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question in detail.

Legal Framework for Owning Property in Japan

In Japan, both citizens and non-citizens have the right to own property, including land and buildings. The legal framework for owning property in Japan is governed by the Civil Code of Japan, which regulates all aspects of property ownership, transfer, and use.

Japanese Snack Box

Foreign Ownership Restrictions

While there are no specific laws that prevent foreigners from owning property in Japan, there are certain restrictions that need to be considered. For instance, there are restrictions on foreign ownership of certain types of land, such as agricultural land and forested land.

Foreign Ownership Approval Process

Non-citizens who wish to own property in Japan must apply for approval from the Ministry of Finance. The approval process can take several weeks or even months, and requires extensive documentation and proof of financial stability.

Obtaining a Mortgage as a Non-Citizen

Non-citizens may face some challenges when trying to obtain a mortgage for a property in Japan. Some banks may require additional documentation, such as proof of income and residency status. It is also important to note that interest rates may be higher for non-citizens.

Taxation Laws for Foreign Property Owners

Foreigners who own property in Japan are subject to the same taxation laws as Japanese citizens. This includes property taxes, income taxes on rental income, and inheritance taxes.

Property Management Considerations

If you plan to rent out your property in Japan, it is important to consider property management services. These services can help you find tenants, collect rent payments, and handle maintenance issues.

Cultural Differences to Consider

As with any international investment, it is important to consider cultural differences when owning property in Japan. For instance, Japanese customs around communication and business dealings may differ from those in your home country.

Real Estate Market Trends

The real estate market in Japan has been steadily increasing over the past few years. This may make it an attractive investment opportunity for non-citizens looking to invest in overseas property.

Benefits of Owning Property in Japan as a Non-Citizen

Owning property in Japan can provide several benefits for non-citizens. For instance, it can serve as a vacation home or rental property, provide a long-term investment opportunity, or even serve as a retirement home.

Risks of Owning Property in Japan as a Non-Citizen

While there are many benefits to owning property in Japan as a non-citizen, there are also some risks to consider. These include fluctuations in the real estate market, unexpected maintenance costs, and difficulties with obtaining financing or approval from the government.


In conclusion, non-citizens can own property in Japan with some restrictions and additional processes. However, with proper research and planning, owning property in Japan can provide many benefits for those looking to invest in overseas real estate.

Can non citizens own property in Japan?

In Japan, foreigners have nearly identical rights to Japanese citizens when it comes to buying property or land. It doesn’t matter if you have permanent residency, a specific type of visa, or no residency at all. There are no additional requirements or taxes imposed on foreigners.

Can I live in Japan if I own property?

Purchasing a property in Japan does not automatically grant foreign individuals residency rights. The Immigration Bureau (nyukoku kanrikyoku) is responsible for handling most immigration-related issues and has branches throughout the country.

Can US citizens live in Japan?

To obtain a Japanese visa, tourists can apply for a single-entry visa that allows for two trips within six months. However, if one wishes to extend their stay beyond 90 days, they must obtain a working or spouse visa, which involves either working in Japan or marrying a Japanese citizen.

Is it possible for a foreigner to live in Japan?

To live in Japan, you must have a status of residence, which is determined by the purpose and length of your stay in the country. There are 27 types of qualifications available depending on your activities while in Japan.

How long can a US citizen stay in Japan?

To stay in Japan for tourism or business without a visa, you must have a valid passport and proof of onward or return travel for up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay, and it is not permitted to work during a 90-day “visa free” entry. This regulation is valid until December 22, 2022.

Can Americans buy a house in Japan?

In Japan, unlike in other countries, there are no limitations on foreign residents owning real estate properties, whether they are permanent residents, Japanese citizens, or holders of various types of visas. This means that foreigners are free to purchase both land and buildings in Japan.

Factors to Consider Before Owning Property in Japan

Before owning property in Japan, there are some factors that non-citizens should consider. One of the most important factors is the language barrier. Japanese is the primary language spoken in Japan, and it may be challenging to navigate the real estate market without fluency in the language.

Another factor to consider is the location of the property. Japan consists of many different regions, each with its own unique culture, climate, and economic conditions. Non-citizens should research and carefully consider their preferred location before making a purchase.

It is also important to work with a reputable real estate agent or lawyer who has experience working with non-citizens. This can help ensure that all necessary documentation and processes are handled correctly and efficiently.

Popular Cities for Non-Citizens to Own Property in Japan

Some of the most popular cities for non-citizens to own property in Japan include Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Niseko. These cities offer a mix of urban and rural environments, as well as access to cultural landmarks, technology hubs, and outdoor recreation areas.

Tokyo is particularly attractive for non-citizens due to its status as a global business hub and its reputation as a center for fashion, food, and entertainment. Kyoto is known for its historical landmarks and traditional culture, while Osaka is a bustling metropolis with a thriving nightlife scene. Niseko is a popular ski resort area in Hokkaido that offers stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.


Owning property in Japan as a non-citizen can provide many benefits, but it also requires careful consideration and planning. By researching the legal framework, obtaining necessary approvals, working with experienced professionals, and considering location and cultural factors, non-citizens can successfully invest in Japanese real estate.

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