I just wrote a blog article about the benefits of living and travelling to Japan. It also can make sense to have a holiday house there given the VERY low cost of foreclosed property. The cost can range from as low as $10,000 in the depopulating rural areas to Y3mil just 1 hour from Tokyo. I paid Y2.8mil ($US30,000) for my place that far from Tokyo. It costs me just $300/yr to maintain, but more of course if I need to use utilities when living there. I bought here because I could either:
1. I could get into the city for just $3.50 train and $2.50 bus (or bike for free). I like to ride the bike when I'm pissed.
2. I can elect to stay in the city all night and get the first train home.
3. I have good services like restaurants, izakayas and department stores a bicycle ride away.
4. I have wonderful mountain valley hinterland to explore on my bike. Anyone been up the Naguri valley. A recommended bike ride. I have also canoed down the Naguri river, as well as the neighbouring river as far as Ome.
I connect the electricity before I arrive and disconnect it when I leave by email with Tokyo Electric. Very easy. If I want to travel around Japan on my Japan Rail Pass, I get an early train to Shinbuya, so boarding a 6:30AM Shinkansen to say Fukushima, then a local train into the mountains. Lunch near a Buddhist temple, maybe staying in a business hotel in Niigata, or capsule hotel in Fukuoka (if travelling south), allowing me to explore a new area, or I can return home that night. I just have to leave by 8pm to give myself enough time. That is a lot of time.
I plan to be in Japan in May-June 2010. Busy until then. I don't mind catching up with interested persons.