Shimane Prefecture will give you a house…but only if you promise to stay for 25 years

By Preston Phro, RocketNews24

As you may have heard, the population of Japan is getting older and smaller. While other (smarter) people have debated the problems and complexities of this issue, we do know one thing: It’s left a lot of prefectures without many young people. Some places are celebrating when the community has even a single wedding, but Tsuwano in Shimane Prefecture thinks they’ve hit upon an idea for injecting some new, young blood into their town. They’re giving houses away for (kind of) free! Of course, there are a few stipulations.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a houses being handed off without payment in Japan, but this time it turns out there’s more than one house being given away. In fact, five lucky families were chosen to move to rural towns in Shimane and Hyogo prefectures to spend the rest of their lives living in the country.

Well, maybe not the entire rest of their lives, but it will certainly be quite a while. You see, to get ownership of these free homes, people will have to live in them for 25 years. And not rent-free either, though the 30,000 yen a month isn’t bad for a brand new house. And after 25 years, or about nine million yen in rent), they’ll own the buildings and the land they stand on. Tsuwano is also offering free repairs for any work that needs to be done and will help potential new residents find jobs. For example, one family has decided to move from Tokyo to Shimane, and the father’s new town has set him up with a job with a forestry company.

While only five families were selected from the 17 who applied for this round, another 20 houses are planned to be built by 2018, so there’s still plenty of time to apply for the next batch. The houses are all approximately 94 square meters and sit on relatively large plots of land. We imagine that’s a big draw for Japanese urbanites who may never have had a yard for their kids to play in.

If you’re thinking this sounds like a pretty sweet deal and you want to apply for the next round, bear in mind that they’re looking for families with children, and the adults must be 40 years old or younger. You’ll also probably need to be willing to ingrain yourself in the community — we doubt they want any weirdos messing up their nice town. And, of course, you’ll have to live in the town for 25 years to get ownership of the house.

While it’s certainly a big move for families, and an expensive proposition for the local communities building the houses, it’s not a bad idea. With the dwindling number of young people, there’s not much else they can do to ensure there’re enough people to keep the prefecture running. And if you love the great outdoors, Shimane has a lot to offer.

But if something a bit more island-like is what you’re looking for, be sure to check out Mishima. They’ll even give you a cow, and that’s just udderly crazy!

Sources: Sankei Biz, Copy Paste Joho-kyoku

Read more stories from RocketNews24 -- Want to Grow a Bonsai Tree? There’s an App for That -- This new convenience store isn’t so convenient for the blind -- You’re probably not as genki as this old lady!

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i am from Kurdistan region - north of Iraq, how can I register for this offer?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sounds like a reasonable offer but also a bit risky. If something unexpected comes along and you must move after 20 years, does it mean you haven't built up any equity in "your" property at all?

There were a few cities in Hokkaido offering free land if you built your own house and lived there. A slightly better deal IMO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Friend of mine had to move back to Shimane prefecture to take care of Family, very little work there and he is still looking.

Deal sounds OK if you either got a good nest-egg or job lined up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm from Indonesia, and I got much interest from Japan if this was true, where I can register this offer? cause I want learn much about Japan

1 ( +2 / -1 )

if only other countries would create these incentives before it got to critical stages like in foresight .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm pretty sure you would have to be a Japanese national to qualify for this.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

For the non-Japanese people posting here....good luck trying to get in on that! You really don't know how Japan works, do you?!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

This would be a great opportunity for those homeless families displaced by the Tohoku disaster. From what I've read, the government will be pulling the plug on their benefits within a few years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

only five families were selected from the 17 who applied for this round

It is hard to believe that only 17 families applied for this, especially given that job opportunities may be available through the program.

I am always amazed at how urban centric people in Japan are and the stigma most people here attach to rural living and the farming lifestyle. In the U.S. there are a lot of people who romanticize life in the country. If this program were offered there, many thousands of people would have applied.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not crazy over straight up country, but will take town life if there is a shopping district to chill at.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'd ditch my life in Canada in a second for that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I lived in Shimane back in 1993.......yes I heard back then about free homes and free job training leave there with nothing if you leave too soon

like imagine you could become a fisher on the boats... up at 3 in the morning and all those waves, etc.... free fish too, i suspect...

.nothing new here i think, unless they have reduced the offer over the years...

Turn 40, then spend 25 years til you are 65, then retire and say goodbye to your kids as they surely will leave for jobs in the cities below...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hello. I am interested about this offer. How can I got more informations? Thanks. Eva

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was going to say 25 years in Shimane?? Who would agree to that?

But looking the comments, I think we just solved the population decline problem.

Just let gaijin come here and live in the country areas cheaply.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

gaijinpapa-Just let gaijin come here and live in the country areas cheaply.

i think MANY of us would take them up on their offer. IF they allow foreigners married to Japanese into this program. The rest of the prefectures really need to start taking a hint.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Don't hold your breath. Kagoshima tried a similar scheme, received a huge number of applications from foreigners, and so decided to end it.

In the name of avoiding "misunderstandings".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The story comes across as being wonderful yet they don`t mention any of the requirements. Are they willing to accept all nationalities? The Kagoshima program was halted after many foreign applicants applied. Same?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lots of older houses up for auction or sale for around ¥4,000,000. and under, all over Japan. YouTube can make remodeling a lot easier. Looking at one my self with a large garden and a backyard full of redwoods a stream. Now just trying to convince the wife. Lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Good| Bad

lucabrasiMay. 27, 2015 - 12:35PM JST


Don't hold your breath. Kagoshima tried a similar scheme, received a huge number of applications from foreigners, and so decided to end it.

In the name of avoiding "misunderstandings".

Why am I not surprised?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How are you going to earn money there? The reason these places don't have healthy populations is because there aren't any jobs! Plus Tsuwano in the winter is bleak and cold with very little life.....nice if you like staying in and watching the tv.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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