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If money were no object, would you buy an apartment, existing home, or have one built to order in Japan?

47 Comments

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have one built to order with a HUGE front and back yard. I hate apartments, and I HATE how Japanese houses are stuck together with no yards, making them in effect large 2 story apartments themselves. I'll build a house with a garden where I can hang a hammock and BBQ every weekend

8 ( +9 / -1 )

A house, definitely a house.

And in the process doing so right now.

Well, nothing like Aly's, I strongly assume, but it's gonna be ours and at least enough space for a small BBQ ;-)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well, nothing like Aly's,

mate, I'm not building anythign now, the question was If money were no object- for me it always is. LOL

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Primary residence would be a newly built house my family and I would help design. A second home would be a machiya or older farm house. And if I ever needed to go to Tokyo or Osaka, I'd have a conveniently located apartment on an upper floor for the views and to get away from the noise. There, did I answer all the choices?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If money were NO object I'd go buy Osaka dome and sleep in center field.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If money were no object I'd buy 6 vacant lots, build a 2 story home and still have a decent sized yard. Of course, for the amt. of money required to do that here in Kobe, I could buy a home in San Francisco or Seattle.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Kind of an obvious question. Like asking if you'd rather have a Lexus, a mid-range Toyota or a K-car. In Japan, old houses are rarely great houses, so it would have to be newly built.

However, since money usually is an object, I went for the old house and had it refurbished into something we all liked. For the same price, we could have had a new cookie-cutter house. But most new houses here age quickly. And new houses often have problems.

We still have our hammock. The mosquitoes love it. In fact, they pretty much rule over the whole garden from June to Oct. Then there's the maintenance the garden requires. Things grow insanely fast in the summer here. And when I do work up the energy to prune back some shrubbery, I get assaulted by all manner of mosquitoes, ticks, mites, poisonous hairy caterpillars, mukade and the occasional giant hornet. I'll often be scratching at the bites and rashes for a week or two after gardening, by which time the garden will have gone wild again.

Come to think of it, mansions look very attractive at times.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I'd buy a penthouse in a very high building. Hard to even tell you're in the city when you get up high enough in Tokyo, since you can't hear most of the sounds of the city.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Are the monthly maintenance costs covered for the next 50 years too? That would change my answer completely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If money were no object I would definitely get one spacious house up there in Niseko, down the Hirafu side. I would probably have my business in the same building too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Own house built from decent materials, not plastic-timber-framed as are springing up all around Kochi in the ricefields owned by people dying off or whose kids move to Kansai and Kanto.

And not in Kochi. The area around Naruto in Kagawa and Tokushima on the coast - no factories and superb sea views plus close to Kobe for a trip to the city once in a while. Yes, that would be nice.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If money were no object for me I would leave Japan. Got a big house, a huge land and a monstruous mortgage to pay for the next 30 years.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A house built to order, with a finished basement and a fireplace.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So let's say I just won $435. mill like some guy did yesterday back home here. I would stay in Japan only for the wife and in laws. Would rather spend the money on travel and toys, so, single story farm house in the country with some forest land, remodeled, insulated, off the grid as much as possible, some cows, chickens and a couple of horses, and a Bat cave.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yes a small 2 bedroom penthouse to accommodate my Partner and I which is very close to Sapporo station thank you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Big plot of land near the surf.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

solid modern construction materials, no paper, no carton, just good old solid steel and heavy durable wood.

but most important: it must be pure japanese style, like a feudal period castle, with onsen included

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If money were no object, I would buy Japan's Supreme Court building, just for the pleasure of tearing it down. Along with as many other buildings designed by Tadao Ando as possible. To call them ugly doesn't do them justice: they are hideous.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Question is ambiguously worded. Is it asking which of the three options we would go for, or whether we would go for any of the three as opposed to none?

Anyway if it was me, I would buy and renovate, or faithfully reconstruct, one of those early western-style houses which can be found in parts of Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki etc, that incorporate many Japanese features as well as western ones.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Any one of those choices would be fine as long as no Japanese Real Estate agents were involved. In fact it would be more than fine.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is perhaps not such an interesting question in Japan. In Europe, for example, you can find wonderful old buildings with tons of character in beautifully laid-out neighbourhoods with complementary architecture. In Japan though, most existing housing is poor, poor to no earthquake resistance, poor to no insulation, draughty, doorways that are only 180cm high or lower, etc. So if money were no object, I don't think you wouldn't want an "existing home". Its not difficult to build something better.

The old houses in Japan that do have character, Taisho and earlier kominka, generally need extensive structural work for earthquake proofing, to say nothing of insulation and draughtproofing. Once done though, they can be transformed into beautiful homes.

If you buy a second-hand house, and some of them are fantastic value, have a structural engineer check it out if it's post and beam. Don't assume it can survive an earthquake just because it looks modern. Even after ripping off all the dry wall and bracing all the joints, a second-hand house can still be a bargain.

We designed and built our house, and it was a great thing to experience. We're still paying for it, but if given the chance to go back, I would do it again. I guess it might be stressful if your budget is very tight, but I really enjoyed it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'd be on my big ass super yacht instead of messing round with real estate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If money were no object - order made house.

In reality, I bought an existing (10 year old) house that met our needs.

I like the fact that the option most Japanese people choose (buy a newly built, cookie-cutter home) is not one of the options. We looked at some of those places and they are just horrible value.

During our hunt we discovered that if we bought new our budget would buy us a terribly cramped, ugly plastic cube with no yard, surrounded on 3 sides by other houses built with almost no clearance between them and a 20 minute walk to the nearest station. It was depressing just looking at the places online and in person with the agents.

If we bought a place 10 years old however we could get on the same budget a relatively attractive house with a yard (not huge, but with enough space to plant some trees, set up patio furniture and watch our kid play in a sandbox), plenty of light and only a 10 minute walk to the station.

Our house, which was completely renovated inside and out just a month before we bought it, cost slightly over half what the original owner had paid a decade earlier. My only regret is that shortly after we moved in we discovered a 20 year old place for sale just up the block that was bigger than ours but about the same price (because the extra 10 years of age lowered its value even further) which would have been even better.

Anyone buying a new house is basically throwing money away (unless you get one made to order, in which case you get the advantage of choosing exactly how you want it, which is worth something).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Buy the land, and build to order, ti is not as expensive as been suggested.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If money were no object I'd buy a huge plot of private land in the center of Tokyo in a nice upmarket area and build a house surrounded by a large garden with lots of trees and plants.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would buy Tadao Ando's Church of the Light and keep it on my private island just to get on Laptop Warrior's nerves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very cheap in Japan - even in central Tokyo you can build super-luxury level with full finished basement for less than 1.3 million per square meter.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'd build a strong house on high ground near a beach in southern Izu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you build a house with a washitsu, my recommendation is to have an uninterrupted white wall you can use as a screen. You then hide the projector/BD recorder (or whatever tuner you use)/amp/game consoles etc. in the oshi-ire and run cables under the tatami to a soundbar placed below the screen wall. You can put rears in the oshiire too if you want 5.1. It's a really easy way to build a stealth home theater without splashing out on a dedicated room. I love mine. Movies and football on the big screen are so much better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did exactly that in the early 90s. In-laws helped with cost of the land, but we used four years saving to get the home built ! A fabulous learning experience ! Have since sold the place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

id buy a multistory luxury yatch with helicopter pad , inbuilt Ferry etc. can park it at almost any port in Japan and around the world. wouldnt be limited to living in one city this way. youtube.com/watch?v=17-FYHYG0og

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

wtfjapan - I voted you up for thinking big. Good on ya.

I was almost talked into dumping my apartment and living on a yacht once in San Francisco. It wouldn't have cost much more than I was paying in rent, and would have had lots of perks. But yachts don't offer a lot in terms of living space - unless money is no object.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wouldn't want to move to Japan full-time, but I would definitely have a vacation-house build and go there when I had the time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If money were no object, I would like to build a luxury log cabin home on a hill overlooking the ocean. No too big, but open and comfortable, with the latest amenities including solar panels and wind turbines so I could live "off the grid".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If money were no object, i would not live in Japan, i would buy a nice house with a big yard next to a calm lake in rural America.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If money were no object, and given the shoddy phrasing of the question, I'd have an existing home, with the Post Code London W1A 1AA.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If money were no object, I would buy Japan's Supreme Court building, just for the pleasure of tearing it down

Yes, that is quite the monstrosity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NO. Japan is a great country to live in rental. It's cheaper, someone else deals with big issues and when the building is getting old or fall aparts after a disaster, you go rent a newer place. In my country, I can't rent, I'm forced to buy but a house here has an average lifespan of 100 yrs, you usually get most of your money back when you resell. Not in Japan where a 20 yr old house is often sold cheaper than just the land with no house on it.

a vacation-house build and go there when I had the time.

A rebuild it all each time you visit ? It's easy to have a second house waiting for you in Southern Europe but the Japanese climates are very different. An empty house would get full of molds, in best case scenario. Then, take into account the frequency of typhons and quakes, and local plagues (rocks that fall from mountain, monster waves and wind at seaside, small rivers that expand overnight...).

I would buy and renovate, or faithfully reconstruct, one of those early western-style houses which can be found in parts of Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki etc,

That's already done for all the historic houses of the 3 cities you list. There were not thousands. You have more chances to buy an old J-style machiya.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If money were no object I would renovate our current house because I like living where we live. New kitchen, new bathroom, new dog-proof flooring, new wallpaper & furniture all through.

I would buy out our neighbours on either side, knock down their houses and build a garden with a water feature and plenty of room for the dogs to run around.

I would also buy and knock down the factory down the road some fool threw up twenty years ago, blocking our lovely view of Mt. Fuji, and replace it with a park/dog run.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Shuttling back and forth between Japan and the US. Got a house in the States and rental mansion in Japan brand new 2 years ago a 4LDK, would NEVER buy a house in Japan, not worth it, but I think if you want to buy in Japan and you might one day leave, if you want a higher return on your investment, get a rental, if you buy a house it depreciates in value and then becomes a crutch. I'm big on having a home theater system and a music studio, which is an absolute must have for me! Difficult to do in Japan and very easy to do in the States which I have both.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

*NO. Japan is a great country to live in rental. It's cheaper

This is not my experience, having spent 13 years here as a renter before buying a place. Renters get screwed here. My last apartment was a 2 Ldk in a 30 year old building. I now live in a house twice that size and my monthly loan payments are slightly over half what my rent used to be, and about 75 percent of that is paying off principal (ie a de facto form of savings).

Interest rates are crazy low here and second hand properties are extremely cheap. Rents are outrageously high and you get stuck with huge fees whenever you move into or out of one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'd like to do a "before-after" job like the TV program on Sunday evenings.

A really old farmhouse, deep in the heart of the Japanese countryside.

Keep the fantastic old features but make it super modern and cool inside.

Somewhere really hot in summer and really snowy in winter.

Maybe I'll be able to do it some day...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd build a passive house on a brownfield site within a 15 min taxi ride of Odawara's shinkansen stop. It would give me views of the Pacific and Fuji and easy access to my clients nationwide.

With money as no object, I'd also keep a suite in Strings at Shinagawa station and an office in an adjacent building.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe I would buy the Ghili museum and make it into my residence. Would keep the theater room.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would opt for a condo, as now, with nice neighbours and skilled assistance with any repairs or renewals. Lots of tatami rooms would be good. The Han-shin Great Earthquake shook us in Nagoya at about 5 on the Japan scale of intensity. I was glad to be in a futon on the tatami and not in a bed. Ever since playing "Indian" (viz., native American) as a child, I love to sit on the floor. Even in winter, tatamis 'breathe' as it were. I'd want a location near shops for essentials and for comradeship. Greenery is great, and I suppose we cannot manage well without it, but car cultures like most of Japan's countryside I would rather leave behind for walking-, bus- or train-access places--these constitute some of Japan's richest assets. If Tokyo and other crowded city residents are to be urged to relocate, such FREQUENT buses and trains need to be accessible elsewhere too. That is, ... "if money were no object...!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you're going to be in Japan for the long haul, then definitely buy something sitting on a piece of land.

If money isn't a problem, then have a house built according to your specifications. I live in an import house (most of the material is from Canada - 2x4) and we love it. Much warmer and quieter than a typical Japanese home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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