Essentials : How is the real estate ownership registered in Japan ?

Just the basics.

Today I am going to share some basic laws and regulations on the real estate in Japan.

1 How does the real estate registration work in Japan ?

The real estate registration system is governed by the real estate registration law (不動産登記法)

Properties are registered in the real estate register which gives the basic information of the property and its


The registration record can be reviewed at the legal affairs bureau. (法務局)

The registration information can be accessed by the internet by paying a small fee (you can also

get a copy of registration at local legal affairs bureau.

2 What kind information can you register ?

There are two main sections in the real estate registry.

: the description of the property and the rights of the property.

The description of the property mainly shows the address, the area and the type of land,

gross floor area (GFA), the structure (wood, RC etc) and number of stories of the building.

The term ‘right of the property’ includes the contents of ownership, superficies, pledges and mortgage (抵当権)

3 Where should you go to register the property ?

The real estate registration is conducted at the local legal affairs bureau (法務局)

which is under the Ministry of Justice (法務省).

You have to go to the local legal affairs bureau where the property exists.

4 Who can support the registry ? 

Usually people outsource the work to the Judicial Scriveners (kind of Para-legal, 司法書士)

who are responsible for preparing documents related to the real estate rights registration. 

Needless to say, you have to pay the fee to the Judicial Scriveners.

Final Thought

Japan’s real estate is strictly regulated by the robust laws.In some Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia,

foreign nationals are not allowed to buy the land. In these countries, foreigners can buy a condominium but not a house with land.

In China, all the lands are owned by the Chinese Communist Party and people can buy only the ‘leasehold’.

Unlike China, by registering your property with the legal affairs bureau, your rights are well protected by the

Japanese government.

In terms of the property rights, there is no difference between Japanese and foreign nationals whether you

live abroad or not.

The registry system is very fair here.

Other Helpful Articles 

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

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

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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