• Akiya & Inaka

    Stake Your Claim to Rural Japan

Japan’s Akiya Problem

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or years, headlines across international publications about free houses (akiya) in Japan’s countryside (inaka) have been popping up. Much like many others, these caught my eye, but didn’t sit right. Un-cited numbers were referenced, anecdotal evidence was commonplace, and the narrative was suspiciously, constantly vague.

All of this added up to, well, nothing. The average reader had no means to test the veracity of anything being communicated. This told me that even if the stories were true, no one had access, so I stared digging. This sort of thing bugs the hell out of me.

Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Seen

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nd I found a lot. Not just hopelessly dilapidated properties, but also diamonds in the rough. Not just fractured data governance and siloed management systems that made it unrealistic to expect anyone but the most tenacious of hunters to turn up anything worth considering, but also a vast wealth of properties that, if leveraged correctly, could feasibly be the basis of a parallel infrastructure outside of the immediate grasp of Tokyo bureaucracy.

Akiya are not just an idea. They’re not just out there waiting. They have been purchased and converted into wildly imaginative homesteads across Japan over the last few years, and that trend is picking up speed. I may have a penchant for things off the beaten path, but akiya are quite special for me. They represent a reasonably accessible alternative to structures that are increasingly failing the modern citizen.

Enter the Inaka

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his was the start of Akiyaz, which has developed into a full-scale real estate engineering platform. We determined that there is a perfect storm surrounding akiya. Real estate standard practice in Japan is based off a 3% commission which only serves to further incentivize top-shelf sales and let the rest of the stock gather dust.

Tokyo dominates lifestyle narratives left and right, strongly implying that if you’re not in The Big City you might as well not exist.

General understanding of akiya is that they are all dilapidated death traps not suitable for anyone to live in.

The above and more are the problems we’re up against, and we even admit that sometimes this is the case. But not all the time, and we have clients who can back that statement up with their new purchases.