Some of the surest bargains on the real-estate market are so-called besso manshon (resort condos). When most people in Tokyo think of second homes or weekend homes, they think of Karuizawa or the Izu Peninsula or maybe the five lakes area around Mount Fuji, where prices tend to be uniformly expensive. The thing is, second homes almost anywhere else are quite affordable, and I often check resort-net.com, which is run by Recruit, to see what’s available, and one of the most intriguing areas is actually the Boso peninsula, meaning Chiba Prefecture. A few weeks ago on the site I found 73 properties on the Boso Peninsula that were priced at less than 5 million. Though Chiba has a reputation as a bedroom region it’s got lots of hills and forests and Kujukuri sea coast is cleaner and less crowded than the stretch of beach that leads from Shonan in Kanagawa to the tip of Izu. In fact, diehard surfers say Kujukuri has the best waves on the Pacific side of Honshu. More significantly, it’s cooler than Tokyo in the summer and warmer in the winter, sometimes by as much as three degrees.
Consequently, there are a lot of second homes and resort condos on sale in seaside towns like Onjuku and Katsuura for as little as ¥2 million for about 40 sq. meters. These two resort towns are quaint but large enough to supply all the amenities you’d want in walking distance to wherever you happen to live. Many of the resort condos are close to the main train stations, and both towns are less than 90 minutes from central Tokyo by express. If you don’t have a car this is important, since most second homes tend to be far from central business area and train lines.