Photos Of Free or Cheap Abandoned Houses in Japan

Monica Gray - September 15, 2023

A Traditional Old Guesthouse

Located only 1.5 hours drive from Kyoto, this Akiya was recently renovated in 2021. Originally, the homeowners used it as a cafe and guesthouse. It still holds its traditional charm, with its thatched roof and blossoming cherry trees. It’s located near a tranquil area with few visitors, called “Kayabuki no Sato.” In summer, you’ll have lush greenery, and in autumn, vibrant foliage. Throughout the year, this beautiful home will capture the essence of every season (Instagram).


This Home Is Move-In Ready

If you’re looking for an Akiya that’s modernly refurbished and ready to move in, then take a look at this one. Originally built in 1935, this Akiya comes with a spacious living-dining room and a total of 4 Tatami rooms. The home also has five Western-style rooms and an annex. With two sets of bathrooms and toilets, it makes it convenient and easy for your friends and family to stay over. According to the seller, you’re only a 40-minute drive to downtown Kyoto and less than ten minutes to Mitsui Outlet Park Shiga Ryuo (Instagram).


Live In A Previous Restaurant

Considering this Kominka used to be a cafe-restaurant, its previous owners renovated it in 2018. They also repaired the walls and floors, so this Kominka is ready for you to move into. It sits in the center of the old residential area of Nakamoto Town, where an old farmhouse sits diagonally across the street. The Tango family previously owned the farmhouse, and famously made a living with their textile business for generations to help with the expansion of sales channels overseas (Instagram).


A Kominka With A Whole Lot Of Land

This one-story Kominka house has over 1,500 square meters of property, which is ideal for homeowners looking for an outdoor project. It’s close to a train station that’ll get you to Tokyo within an hour. The home itself needs renovation, but it has roof tiles on the building still in wonderful condition (Instagram).


An Old Akiya Folk House

Built nearly 200 years ago, this old folk house sits on large land, with plenty of room for a home garden. You can enjoy rural life in proximity to hot springs and ski resorts, spacious rooms, and a Western-style room. It comes to $27,000, and the previous owners left the home in April 2010. It needs some repairs but is otherwise live-able (Iekatsu-Kitagawa).


A Kominka Home In Proximity To A Beach

If you’re someone who needs to be near the ocean, then check out this Kominka. This part of Kyotango City has tons of abundant nature, including the sea and mountains. It’s only one kilometer from the downtown area and five kilometers to Kotobiki Beach, known for its “singing sand.” Constructors built the home in 1942. The home has a courtyard garden and a garage, which can double as a guesthouse with proper repairs (Instagram).

Cheap Houses Japan

Buying An Akiya Without First Seeing It

While we wouldn’t recommend what Coline did, which is buying a home without first seeing it, she was lucky. Originally from France, she fell in love with Japan during a visit and decided to invest in an Akiya. Some things she plans on renovating include, “Fixing the roof leaks, updating the electric system and doing the connection to the sewage system. The final part of the renovation will be about the traditional elements, tatamis, doors, and wooden structure.” Again, she bought the house for a cheap price but will spend a lot of money on renovations. She said, “I hope all this will cost between 50,000€ to 100,000€. I already have a few quotations done by the previous owners, that’s what I based my budget estimations on. I also plan to do a lot of things myself.” If you’re looking for a project like Coline was, then buying an Akiya might be a great investment (Cheap Houses Japan).


The Grand Japanese Villa

Just take a look at that superb hallway, and imagine yourself walking down its halls. This Kominka is located in Sanjo City, only an hour’s train ride from Tokyo. It’s only a five-minute drive to Sanjo City, which is an area known for its highly advanced metalworking technology. Even though it’s so close to a bustling downtown center, it feels secluded and quiet. Constructors built this Kominka in 1990 and renovated it in 2021, hence the reason it looks so new. It’s ready to move in to use as a home, guesthouse, or vacation property (Instagram).


A Kanazawa Machiya

This machiya, which is an old traditional home that once also functioned as a shop, was built during the Meiji era in 1902. It functioned as a confectionary before the owners turned it into a guesthouse. It’s within walking distance to the Higashi Chaya District. With two different entrances suitable to accompany two groups of guests, you can turn this vacation home into a family place or a guesthouse (Koryoya).


A Petite Home

Following the grand villa is a petite Japanese Kominka. This two-story home was originally built in 1931. The garage and Kura storage date back to 1868. The previous homeowners recently added the kitchen and bathroom area, which you can use as is, without needing to renovate it. Until the summer of 2022, the owner lived in this house, so it’s only recently abandoned. You’re less than a five-minute drive to the Yuwaky Onsen and a twenty-minute drive to downtown Kanazawa City (Instagram).


An Akiya On a Little Island

Located near the fishing port on Toshikima, you’ll need to take a ferry to get to your home. If you’re up for an adventure to the largest remote island in the city, then by all means, grab this house. It takes roughly 20 minutes to get from the ferry to this home. Constructors built it in 1969 and cost 9 million Yen, or $60,100 to own (Toba).


This Historical Japanese Sukiya-Style Villa

Doesn’t living in a historical Japanese home sound appealing? This Kominka was once owned by Taniguchi Toyosaburo. He was the previous head of the Toyobo Corporation and a famous businessman during the Show era. According to the sellers, “Toyobo is now one of Japan’s top manufacturers of fibers and textiles.” Perhaps owning this home will inspire you and spark you to build your own business! This home is a ten-minute walk to the Atami Sun Beach and close to nearby train stations. Lush greenery surrounds the villa; even though you’re in the heart of a bustling city, it’s tranquil. The most appealing part of the home has to be the fresh hot spring water you can access right inside the home (Instagram).


The Farmhouse Kominka

Located in a mountain area only twenty minutes from central Kanazawa City, this Kominka boasts a total of twelve rooms and a Kura storage unit. Those twelve rooms are spread across two stories, built with high-quality Zelkoba wood. The original owner used to own forested land in the region, hence the building material. You’re getting a completely natural home! (Instagram).


This Single-Family Home

Built-in 1961, this Akiya costs 3 million Yen, or $20,000, which is affordable in house terms. It’s a simple home, with rooms spread across two stories. It has most of the basic amenities already in place, making it easy to move in right away. It’s a 12-minute walk from the nearest train station and only a few kilometers from the nearest elementary school (Akiya).


A Century-Old Kominka

Located north of Kobe city, this home has a garage, a Kura storage unit, a traditional Japanese garden, and two annexes. You’ll need a car if you want to live in this area. It’s a 25-minute drive to Tambasasayama Castle Town and an hour’s drive to Kyoto. Before the home becomes livable, though, it’ll need cosmetic and equipment upgrades. There’s enough land for home gardening and manicuring, so it might be time to think about starting your vegetable garden (Instagram).


Dating Back to 1886

This machiya rests in the downtown area of an old castle town called Daishoji. Built in 1886, this 136-year-old townhouse remains much in its original state. You’ll find fine materials and craftsmanship in this home, which has the potential to run you a profit if you decide to turn it into a guesthouse. You’re also in a great location, only ten minutes from the famous Yamashiro Onsen and Katano sandy beach (Koryoya).


The Kominka Tsuji Residence

This home is a rare find, as 16 generations of the Tsuji family lived here. Previously, it was a village headman’s mansion (Shoya). For 250 years, Shoya existed during the Tokugawa Edo period, and the families that served as the village headman during this period lived in this house. According to the sellers, there’s the main Kominka, and “a brewery, nagayamon gate, and a few storages. While the kitchen, bathroom, and toilets are recommended to be upgraded, this property is in livable condition and has not been vacant until recently.” You’ll get all the antiques with the property, in addition to over 23,000 square meters of forested land (Instagram).

Cheap Houses Japan

From Akiya To Guesthouse

Homeowner Gilles purchased an Akiya for under $10,000 and turned it into a cafe and guesthouse, with a lot of work and renovation. During an interview, he said, “It took us 4 months in the winter of 2019 with some work trips back to Tokyo to fully complete the renovation process, which turned out to finally create a cafe and Lodge place, beside our base.” Another successful passion project that was worth the time and money. He said, “The total cost combined came to about US $45,000 that includes also the electricity, water work, home center equipment, appliances, decoration, etc… But it doesn’t take into account all the actual work of the 3 of us working mostly every day for 4 months nonstop.” He now has a beautiful home, and business (Cheap Houses Japan).


A Two-Century Old Akiya

This Akiya in particular dates back more than 200 years, to the Edo Period. It previously belonged to the Muchi family, with a history of 71 generations over a thousand years. Next to this, Akiya is a temple called “Fukujuji,” with ruins of Ishikawa Castle nearby. You’re only a ten-minute drive to the Amanohashidate sandbar and beach, which has over 7,000 pine trees. Before buying, take note that because this home is registered as a tangible cultural heritage, there may be renovation guidelines (Instagram).


A Three-Century-old Kominka

We’re going another century back with this Akiya, which could be yours for a decent price. Originally built in 1702, this home has been fully renovated since two decades ago. According to the seller, it was “Once a “Jinya” of the Naito family from the Kameyama feudal clan in the Edo period, and has been operated as a Ryotei restaurant since.” It’s in a great location, only 20 20-minute drive away from the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter (Instagram).


A Kominka Home Near A National Park

If nature calls, then this Akiya is for you. It’s over 100 years old and sits in the inlet of Tsukumo Bay. This bay is part of a larger national and marine park with a beautiful coastline in a deep emerald green color. The name translates to “99 Bay” thanks to its 99 Coves. From spring to fall, you can enjoy fishing, sightseeing, snorkeling, and SUP, all within proximity of your home. If you own a boat, you’re in luck, since this home comes with its very own dock (Instagram).


A Double Whammy Kominka

With this deal, you’ll get two Machiya townhouses built in the early Showa era. They’re both near downtown Kanazawa. The previous owner used one as a shared home, and the other as a residential property. There’s a cute backyard with greenery and plants, which you can convert into a small garden (Instagram).


The Perfect Family Home

Take note, you can only purchase this Kominka home if you plan on living in it. Other uses, like converting it into a guesthouse or restaurant, need permission from the city. This Akiya is over 100 years old, and a one-hour drive from downtown Kobe. It belonged to a family that prospered as a cotton trader back in the late Edo period. It has a main house, garden, four storehouses, and a cow shed (Instagram).


A Home With A Karahafu Style Entrance

This Kominka is a rare find, as it combines different traditional styles into one home. You’ll commonly see this Karahafu-styled entrance in traditional architecture, like Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. It’s a 40-minute drive from downtown Nagoya city and dates back over 120 years (Instagram).


A Home From 1977

Despite this being a home dating back more than 40 years, it’s still a hidden gem. It’s located in an urbanized area and costs roughly 7 million Yen, or $47,000. You’ll get four rooms, plus an additional living room, kitchen, and dining room. It’s perfect for a big family with little kids, as you’ll each get your bedroom. It’s located in Toba City and needs quite a bit of renovation before it’s livable, though it’s worth the investment (Akiya).