Real Estate in Japan | Inheritance | Sales

Japanese Lawyer’s support for Japanese Real Estates

We receive many inquiries about real estates (Fudosan) in Japan. Typical inquiries are as follows.

  • My father passed away and I want to inherit and sell the land and house he owned in Japan.
  • My grandmother was Japanese, but it turned out that she owned land in Japan.
  • I bought real estate in Japan, but I want to sell it because I will not be visiting Japan anymore.
  • I own a building on leased land. I would like to sell this building to a third party, but I do not know how to talk to the landowner.


The most common inquiry we receive is that a client has inherited a land and a building in Japan but does not know what to do.

If you inherit Japanese real estate, the following procedures are generally required.

  1. If the decedent is Japanese (or former Japanese), collect the family register
  2. Confirming the Beneficiary
  3. Contact tenant, if any
  4. Real estate registration for inheritance
  5. Procedures for sale (if you are to sell the property)
  6. Inheritance and income tax procedures

These are often difficult for Japanese nationals. For most foreigners, supports from specialist should be required.


Attorneys can also assist with real estate issues that are not inheritance-related. For example, when a building on leased land is no longer needed, the building should, in principle, be torn down and the land returned to the landowner. However, if the building is still usable, it may be possible to sell it to a third party or have the landowner buy it back by consulting an attorney.

In many cases, a client residing overseas can process the inheritance or sale of real estate without having to come to Japan.

Network of English-speaking specialists in Japan

Rea estate related procedures require the help of many specialists such as in the following list, but when the client is a foreigner, it is often difficult to know whom to consult.

  • Legal issues — Attorney-at-law (Bengoshi Lawyer)
  • Tax issues — Tax Accountant (Zeirishi)
  • Registration issues — Judicial Scrivener (Shihoshoshi)
  • Sales activities — Real Estate Agent (Realtor)

Sumikawa Law Office has assisted foreigners in dealing with Japanese real estate many times, and this extensive experience has created a network of English-speaking specialists in Japan who can help make the process go smoothly. This enables us to provide comprehensive support for foreigners.

Support for Lawyers in Foreign Countries

Our firm receives many requests from foreign attorneys. When overseas attorneys are handling procedures related to the inheritance of a client in their home country, they may discover real estate or savings accounts in Japan. In such cases, our attorneys can provide comprehensive support on behalf of the heirs.

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