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Buying apartment to rent out as holiday home

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  • Buying apartment to rent out as holiday home

    Hi all,

    I've been scouring google on this subject, but not really coming up with much useful information.
    I'm looking to buy an apartment in Tokyo to then rent out as a holiday apartment, and use it myself for a break each year. Has any one had any experience of this? Are there any agents in Tokyo that you can use to manage the apartment and look after any repairs etc it might need?

    I suppose the best thing to do would be look around myself when I am over in April, but would like a bit of an idea before going in blind!


  • #2
    Hello Deszaras,
    Yes you can do this. Yes there are agents in Tokyo who will manage this, but if you are looking for English-speaking agents who will handle this you are in for a challenge. For a Japanese-speaking agent who will handle this you are spoiled for choice. Take a look at for a representative agent.

    You might need to redefine your concept of "holiday home", as using someone else's vacant apartment for holidaying isn't really part of the mainstream here (some exceptions for prime beach/ski locations). In Japan you will have more luck if you search for "Weekly/Monthly Mansions". One potential stumbling block for you might be your desire to use your apartment on demand, as agents will want to know in advance when you intend to use it. And you may have potential renters who wish to occupy the unit long-term, so you have to negotiate your desire to use your apartment when you want, vs. the commercial realities of renting out property.

    But yes, the short answer to your question is that it is possible. Basically you sub-let the apartment to the agent, the agent manages the marketing of the unit, pays the utilities, and pays for basic supplies in the apartment (fridge, cooking utensils, etc...) in addition to cleaning/repairing the property after the short-term renters have left. In return the agent will pay you a discounted rent.

    For the really adventurous there is Craig's List or Vacation Rentals By Owner (, but this is definitely not for the weak-hearted.


    • #3
      The larger real estate agencies such as Mitsui or Sumitomo housing also offer these apartment management services, but usually for long-term rentals. For short term 'holiday' rentals, such as just one or two weeks, I would think that the one-off cost charged by them for cleaning, restocking, etc. would seriously reduce your income. The other problem is that an obvious 'hotel-like' subletting of the apartment might go against some building rules.

      Japan indeed has 'holiday villages' where that concept would work (with an on-site caretaker), but not in Tokyo.


      • #4
        Thanks for the help so far, I will have a loom around at the stuff so far. does a similar service to what I want, but I assume their building has specific rules that allow it to be used this way.


        • #5
          These guys handle rentals and speak English:


          • #6
            Before you go this route (filled with land mines), please note it would be very difficult to make money off your properties as the laws in Japan have sufficient protections for tenants and you need to pay for the property tax. In the past, I thought about renting out my condo in Tokyo as I needed to be in NYC for my job. But, I decided not to do this as the hassle and Japanese-y-ness with the local tenants turned me off like a fat chick on a bar stool (bending because of her weight).


            • #7
              Time to necro the thread a bit. I've found an area I'm interested in, Niigata province, and along with some friends we have decided to buy an apartment just for ourselves to use, and maybe allow others to rent it off us when/if we arent using it. No need to worry about visa's or the like and the bank account for property tax is easily sorted.
              Has any one had any experience with a real estate broker that can cater to us foreign types when looking to buy outside of Tokyo? I've checked on English friendly Japan and am not getting much joy.