Japan’s real estate market has a unique set of terminology that can be overwhelming for buyers and sellers who are unfamiliar with it. Understanding these jargons can make a difference in making informed decisions. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the most common real estate terms in Japan and provide you with the necessary information you need to navigate through the complex process of buying or selling a property.
Understanding Real Estate Terminology in Japan
Before embarking on a real estate transaction in Japan, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the language used in the industry. Here are some of the most commonly used jargons:
1. 1R and LDK
One of the essential terms to understand when looking for a property in Japan is the room types. The most common room types in Japan are 1R, LDK, and DK. 1R stands for one room, while LDK refers to a combination of living room (L), dining room (D), and kitchen (K). DK, on the other hand, is just a combination of a dining and kitchen room. The numeric value represents the number of separate bedrooms in the property. For example, 2LDK stands for “two rooms plus a living room, dining room, and kitchen”. Similarly, 3LDK stands for “three rooms plus a living room, dining room, and kitchen”.
When searching for a property, knowing these terms can help in filtering your search and narrowing down your options based on your needs and preferences. If you’re a solo individual, a 1R room type may be more suitable, while LDK may be more appropriate for families or those who like to entertain at home.
It’s important to note that 1R apartments are typically smaller in size and may not have a separate bedroom. They are ideal for individuals who prefer a minimalist lifestyle or are on a tight budget. On the other hand, LDK apartments are more spacious and offer separate areas for living, dining, and cooking. They are perfect for families or those who enjoy entertaining guests at home.
In Japan, the tsubo is the standard unit of measurement used to denote the size of a property. A tsubo is approximately 3.3 square meters, but it’s important to note that the actual measurements may vary depending on the location. Understanding this unit of measurement is crucial since Japanese property listings usually provide the tsubo size of a property rather than its square footage.
When calculating the size of a property in square footage, you’ll need to multiply the tsubo size by 10.764. For example, 30 tsubos would equate to 322.92 square feet.
It’s worth noting that some properties in Japan may have unique features such as tatami flooring, which is a traditional Japanese flooring made of woven rush grass. Therefore, the number of tatami mats in a room is often used to describe the size of a room, especially in traditional Japanese housing.
一畳 (ichi-jou) means “one tatami mat” in size. The size of one tatami mat can vary, but in most cases, it’s about 1.65 square meters or approximately 17.7 square feet. For example, a six-tatami room (六畳, rokujou) would be about 9.9 square meters or approximately 106.5 square feet.
4. Takken: Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act
In Japan, real estate transactions are governed under the 宅地建物取引業法 (Takuchi Tatemono Torihiki Gyouhou or abbreviated as “Takken Gyouhou” or “Takken”; Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act), sets out the rights and obligations of buyers and sellers.
If you’re considering buying real estate in Japan, it’s important to understand the key elements of the Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act to ensure that you’re making an informed decision. Below are two keywords related to Takken.
5. Juyo Jikou Setsumeisho: Statement of Important Matters
Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act requires sellers to provide specific information to buyers in the form of a 重要事項説明書 (Juyo Jikou Setsumeisho; statement of important matters). This document discloses essential items such as building specifications, restrictions or liabilities, and any other issues that may affect the buyer’s decision to purchase the property. It’s crucial to read the document carefully and consult an attorney or real estate agent if necessary to ensure that you fully understand the information provided.
6. Keiyakusho: Contract
Additionally, the Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act requires sellers to provide a 契約書 (Keiyakusho; contract) that outlines the terms and conditions of the transaction. This contract should include details such as the purchase price, payment terms, and any other important provisions that may affect the transaction. It’s important to review the contract carefully and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions.
7. Toukibo: Real Estate Registry
In Japan, the Legal Affairs Bureau is a government administrative body responsible for keeping records of real estate transactions. 登記 (Touki) or 登記簿 (Toukibo) is a critical document that is maintained by the Legal Affairs Bureau, which contains information on the ownership, rights, and claims to a property and is used to verify property ownership. Buyers typically rely on the information in the Toukibo when purchasing a property as it is a legally binding document.
8. Kouzu: Cadastral Map
公図 (Kouzu) is a map issued by the Japanese government that shows the outline of a property’s boundaries. It’s an essential document in the real estate registration process, and it plays a crucial role in verifying the property’s location and boundaries. Understanding how to read a Kouzu can help in identifying potential issues such as encroachments or boundary disputes.
It’s important to note that the Kouzu is not just a simple map. It also contains information about the property’s size, shape, and location. By understanding how to read a Kouzu, buyers and sellers can ensure that the property they are interested in is accurately represented and avoid any potential legal issues.
9. Toshi Keikaku Hou: The City Planning Law
The City Planning Law (都市計画法) in Japan guides land-use and building regulations within specified zones, impacting construction or renovation plans. Every Japanese area is zoned under this law into residential, commercial, or industrial. Regulations differ per zone, so understanding property use restrictions and requirements is crucial. Constructing a commercial building in a residential zone, for example, necessitates special local government permission.
The law also governs building height and size, inter-building distances, and construction material types. Familiarity with these rules is important for assuring that renovation or construction plans meet zone regulations.
10. Kenpeiritsu (Building-to-land Ratio) and Yousekiritsu (Floor Area Ratio)
Kenpeiritsu (Building-to-land ratio) and Yousekiritsu (floor area ratio (FAR)) are key concepts that buyers and sellers need to understand when purchasing or selling a property in Japan. Here’s an overview:
建蔽率 (Kenpeiritsu): This is the Building-to-land Ratio. It’s the maximum percentage of the land area that can be covered by the building’s footprint. For instance, if the Building Coverage Ratio is 60%, then the building can cover up to 60% of the total land plot.
容積率 (Yousekiritsu): This is the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) or the Volume Ratio. It’s the maximum floor area relative to the size of the land plot. For instance, if the Volume Ratio is 200%, a building on a 100 square meter plot could have a total floor area of up to 200 square meters.
Simulation: Let’s consider a plot of land that is 100 square meters in size, located in a densely populated urban area. If the 建蔽率 (Building Coverage Ratio) is 60%, that means the footprint of the building on this plot can take up 60% of the land, so 60 square meters. If the 容積率 (Floor Area Ratio) is 200%, this means that the total floor area of the building can be up to 200 square meters. This can be achieved by building more than one floor.
In this example, a building with a footprint of 60 square meters could be constructed with three floors, each floor having an area of 60 square meters. This would make the total floor area 180 square meters (which is less than the maximum of 200 square meters according to the Floor Area Ratio).
Understanding the jargons and legal framework of Japan’s real estate market is crucial for buyers and sellers looking to make informed decisions. We hope this comprehensive guide provides you with the essential information you need to navigate through the complex process of buying or selling a property.