Do you need an inkan (seal, name stamp) to buy a property in Japan ?

(How to use inkan)

What kind of documents do you need to have for the registration of your property ?

After you acquire your property, you want to register your ownership with the officials here, right ?

If you don’t register your ownership(title), you can not legally argue that your property is yours.

You need the officially backing from the government.

Japan has the system called ‘Real estate registration’ (FUDOSAN-TOUKI 不動産登記)

Real estate registration shows the official right by listing the address and name of the owner.

The Registration also shows the location and area of ​​land and buildings.

You can officially register your ownership right with the legal affairs bureau (houmukyoku, 法務局,

 which is under Ministry of Justice in each area where your property is dwelling.

Interestingly, anyone can see the registration of any property in Japan by paying a small fee.

So if you register your title and right, all the information will become public.

The registration paper makes it possible for everyone to understand the nature of a property such as relations, cause and mortgage.

By making such information public, the registration paper plays a role in ensuring the safety and smoothness of real estate transactions.

Registration papers have the three segments.


1) General records

Land · · · Location, lot number,

Building · Location, location number, house number, type, structure, floor area, etc.

2) Right and title

Historical items related to the owner are recorded.

Name of owner

Date of registration

Cause (trade, inheritance, etc.) 

You can check historical records of the previous owners as well.

3) Other right information

This segment contains matters related to rights other than ownership such as mortgages.


(Juminhyo for foreign nationals)

Required documents for the registration

If you want to register your property, you have to have the following documents ready on the

contract day (the transaction day).

Ownership changes hands on the transaction day (meaning officially buying/selling is executed)

so having these documents ready by the day is extremely important.

Even if you are residing in a foreign country, you must physically attend the meeting where the contractual and legal documents are exchanged. 

1.Foreign nationals who don’t have the primary address in Japan

Foreign nationals who don’t have the primary address in Japan, meaning foreign nationals who

are residing in overseas countries.

First of all , you have to be physically in Japan to execute the contract and

registration (at time of the contract transaction)

The Japanese laws require the para-legal (judicial scrivener) called ‘shiho-shoshi’ to check your ID face to face in order to execute the registration work on your behalf.

In principle, you have to have two important documents to register your title and these are  ‘Certificate of residence’ (juminhyo,住民票) and ’Seal registration certificate’ (inkan-shoumeisho、印鑑証明)

However, foreign nationals who are residing outside Japan usually don’t

have such documents.

If you don’t have such documents, you can replace with the following documents.

Official Affidavit issued by your government body

(Affidavit needs to show name, date of birth, address, resident number, notary information etc)


Seal (stamp, seal but there is no need to be registered with the officials here. 

It is said some countries are issuing official affidavit in their embassy in Japan so please

check with your embassy if you want to get the affidavit when you come to Japan on the spot.

2.Foreign nationals who have the primary address in Japan

Foreign nationals who have the primary address in Japan, meaning foreign nationals who

are residing in Japan.

You need to have the following documents ready.

Residence card

‘Certificate of residence’ (juminhyo,住民票) 

’Seal registration certificate’ (inkan-shoumeisho、印鑑証明)

(Juminhyo for foreign nationals)

Final thought

Foreigners can buy a property in Japan without having the special qualification.

You can buy a property with the tourist visa.

However, you should allow enough time to prepare necessary documents in time.

Other Helpful Articles

How the commission for agents (realtors) works in Japan ?: Risks you should watch

Can foreigners get a MORTGAGE LOAN for home in Japan ? : Key Factors

Can foreigners buy a property in Japan ? : Fundamental rules when acquiring a property

Toshihiko Yamamoto
Real estate investing consultant and author.
Founder of Yamamoto Property Advisory in Tokyo.
International property Investment consultant and licensed
real estate broker (Japan).
He serves the foreign companies and individuals to buy and sell
the real estates in Japan as well as own homes.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from
Osaka Prefecture University in Japan
and an MBA from Bond University in Australia

Toshihiko’s book, “The Savvy Foreign Investor’s Guide to Japanese Properties: How to Expertly Buy, Manage and Sell Real Estate in Japan”is now out on Amazon, iBooks (iTunes, Apple) and Google Play.
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