1932 Traditional Japanese House in Yanaka

SOLD3 Bedrooms + 1.5 Bathrooms
Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo

*This house sold in June 2018 and is no longer available*

This is a historic western-style house located in Tokyo’s Shinagawa ward. The exact age of the house is unknown, although it appears to date from the early Showa period (around the 1930s).

This is a traditional Japanese house located in the historic Yanaka district in Tokyo’s Taito ward. The two-stores wood-framed out was possibly built around 1932. In August 1992 it was renovated.

The total floor area is 104.13 sqm (1,120 sq.ft), with the ground floor having a size of 66.94 sqm (720 sq.ft) and the second floor sized at 37.19 sqm (400 sq.ft).

The ground floor has two tatami rooms for the living, both fronting onto an engawa-style veranda, a kitchen/dining room, bedroom and bathroom. The second floor has two tatami rooms, also fronting onto an engawa veranda. The rooms are south-facing to enjoy the sunny side of the house.

Please be aware that there is no available parking space on the land and street parking is not permitted.

The house is just an 8 minute walk from Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote Line and an 8 minute walk from Sendagi Station on the Chiyoda Subway Line. From Sendagi Station you can get to Otemachi Station (near Tokyo Station) in just 8 minutes by train.

2.2 Traditional machiya houses in Kyoto are demolished each day

Two renovated machiya by Kazuya Morita Architecture Studio.

Kyoto City is losing its traditional machiya townhouses at an alarming rate, with an average of 2.2 of these symbolic houses demolished each day.

On May 1, Kyoto City announced that approximately 5,600 machiya have been demolished over the past seven years. In 2016, a survey found that there were 40,146 surviving machiya in the city.

Of the surviving machiya, 14.5% are vacant and not occupied by owners or tenants, an increase of 4 points from the previous city survey in 2009. Kyoto City’s vacancy rate across all types of housing was 14% in a 2013 survey.

Town to buy 300-yr old house for 38 million Yen

Matsuzaki Town in Shizuoka’s Izu Peninsula will be purchasing the 300-year old former Yoda Residence for 38.4 million Yen (approx. 337,000 USD). The town’s budget for acquisition and preservation of the property is expected to total 48.7 million Yen, which includes 10 million Yen to acquire the rights to a hot spring source.

The property includes the heritage-listed 300+ year old main house and warehouse. The Yoda family has been a landowner for many generations and found success in the silk industry during the Edo period. At one time the house was the family home of Yoda Benzo (1853-1925), one of Hokkaido’s early pioneers and founding settlers.

Nakano’s last surviving thatched-roof house to be demolished


The 160+ year old Hosoda Residence in Nakano, Tokyo, is expected to be demolished soon to make way for a city road. The road plan was enacted in 1966, but, as is the case with many of Tokyo’s old road plans, remained dormant for several decades. The city obtained approval from the national government for the road construction in 2015 and plan to have the project completed by 2020.

This is the sole surviving thatched-roof house in Nakano Ward, and a very rare example of a typical farmhouse from the period in Tokyo’s 23 wards. 

Relocating a traditional Japanese house

A kominka relocation in Chiba. Image via Kanazawa Architectural Design Office.

Finding land with a traditional Japanese building for sale in the right location can be close to impossible regardless of budget. But, there are a number of these old traditional kominka available for purchase and removal across the country. If you find the right piece of land you may be able to relocate an old house of your choosing to the land.

These buildings can be bought for next-to-nothing. The real cost is in the actual relocation, although you may be surprised to find out that relocation costs may be similar to the cost of building a brand-new, average home.

Nanzen-ji: Japan’s most expensive and exclusive residential area

Nanzenji Hekiunso

London has Kensington Palace Gardens, Hong Kong has Pollock’s Path and Monaco has Avenue Princesse Grace. Japan’s most expensive and most exclusive neighbourhood is not in Tokyo, but in the grounds of a temple in the historic former capital of Kyoto.

Nanzen-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple that was first established in 1291 by Emperor Kameyama on the site of one of his former palaces. During the anti-Buddhist movement at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, Nanzen-ji’s grounds and sub temples were seized by the government, subdivided and sold off to private interests. Between the Meiji period and early Showa period, Japanese nobility began to build luxurious holiday homes with expansive and carefully designed Japanese gardens.

Competition amongst the elite was strong, with each one trying to build a bigger and grander villa than the other. Today, 15 of the original villas remain. Many of these villas are still owned by descendants of the original owners, or are held by some of Japan’s top companies and are not open to the public. These estates are worth as much as 100 million USD, but are so tightly held that, no matter how much money you may have, the area cannot be bought into at any price.



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