Photos Of Free or Cheap Abandoned Houses in Japan

Monica Gray - September 15, 2023

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).