Cricket cage
Cricket cage, late 19th century. Photo: Smithsonian Institution

Low prices, open spaces and fresh air make property in rural Japan irresistible for many foreigners. That’s particularly true for people living in congested, hyper-expensive cities like Hong Kong and Singapore.

Recent declines in the value of the yen have added to the appeal of property outside Japan’s big cities. There’s been a spike in international media coverage of these homes. And numerous agencies now specialize in selling cheap Japanese real estate to foreign buyers.

Spike Japan

If you’re thinking of buying property in rural Japan, either as a residence or a weekend getaway, visit a blog called Spike Japan.

Comprising well-written essays with photos, Spike Japan captures the human dimension of Japan’s abandoned towns and shrinking cities. It also addresses the demographic and economic realities of these places.

The author—a Western resident of Japan—clearly loves his adopted home. He stopped writing in 2014, but his posts are still relevant and available.

Cat Foreheads & Rabbit Hutches

You should also visit Cat Foreheads & Rabbit Hutches, a blog written by a husband and wife team who built a home outside Tokyo.

Cat Foreheads covers the nitty-gritty of homeownership in Japan. Topics include akiya (abandoned homes), property taxes, why Japanese houses lose value, government schemes to repopulate rural areas and more.

Both blogs explain why Japanese real estate is cheap. They’ll also help you formulate questions if you are thinking of buying property in rural Japan.

Click here for more articles about property in Japan.

Christopher Dillon was a residential landlord in Tokyo and is the author of the Landed series of property books. The second edition of Landed Japan is available from Amazon.

This post was published on March 25, 2013, and updated on February 23, 2023.

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