Important matters you should be aware of
before purchase Kyo-machiya.

Rebuilding Prohibited Lands

Building Standards Act Article 43 Clause 1

Certain properties in Japan do not comply with the current Building Standards Act and are prohibited from rebuilding. This is common among traditional properties in Kyoto. The act stipulates that there must be at least a 2-meter width in which the property/exclusive alley is adjacent to a public road (as prescribed in Article 42). Article 43 prohibits any rebuilding on properties that do not meet the requirements mentioned. The main purpose of this act is to gradually open up dense residential districts and ensure enough space for evacuation and to allow emergency vehicles to get through when necessary.


Preservation of Kyo-machiya and the traditional streetscape

Many Kyo-machiya located along narrow alleys are now designated as “Rebuilding Prohibited” properties. However, these houses have always played an important role in creating the beautiful streetscape and atmosphere the city of Kyoto has been known for. With proper maintenance and renovations, Kyo-machiya can last for generations and prove to be a wonderful place to live, regardless of it being “Rebuilding Prohibited”. We at Hachise put great effort into preserving the traditional Kyoto streetscape by restoring Kyo-machiya, which are said to be decreasing in number by 2% each year, and revitalizing its market. We strive to get as many people as possible to know that “Rebuilding Prohibited Properties” can have many attractive features.

Pros and Cons of "Rebuilding Prohibited" Properties


  1. The price range of these properties are relatively low compared to other Kyo-machiya.
  2. The appraised value of “Rebuilding Prohibited” properties are relatively low, resulting in lower fixed asset tax, real estate acquisition tax, inheritance tax, etc.
  3. Surrounding areas and properties along the same alley are often designated as “Rebuilding Prohibited”. If so, the buildings in the area and the streetscape will remain unchanged.


  1. Rebuilding of these houses are prohibited, even if they are destroyed by natural disasters and/or accidents, such as earthquakes or fire.
    (Renovations may still be possible depending on the situation, particularly if the framework and the base of the building is unharmed)
    However, fire insurance and earthquake insurance can both be taken out to cover for these risks, as with only other properties.
  2. "Rebuilding Prohibited" properties are usually not eligible for housing loans, and it may take a long time for the property owner to resell the house.
    (Hachise does not offer housing loans to non-residents)

Provision to Article 43 Clause 1

In an effort to promote rebuilding of aged houses, the city of Kyoto made a provision to Article 43, reducing the restrictions on some of the buildings that were previously deemed "Rebuilding Prohibited", particularly those that did not have a 2-meter width/exclusive alley in which the property is adjacent to a public road. This allows certain houses to be rebuilt under the new law. Below is a partial list of changes and conditions mentioned in the provision. For more details or questions regarding specific properties, please contact us through the "inquiry form" on the property page.

Properties with an adjacent area to a public road is less than 2 meters (Figure 3)

  • The building was built prior to 1950 when the Building Standards Act went into effect.
  • The Building must be for residential purposes only.
  • The Building must be 2 stories or less (no basements).
  • The exclusive alley must be at least 1.5 meters wide throughout.
  • The length of the exclusive alley must be 20 meters or less.
  • There should be no structures built over or above the alley.
  • The alley way should not be included in the overall site area.

Properties adjacent to a private alley (Figure 4)

  • The building was built prior to 1950 when the Building Standards Act went into effect.
  • The building must be used for residential purposes or for the same purpose as when the Building Standards Act went into effect.
  • The building must be 2 stories or less (no basement)
  • The private alley must be at least 1.8 meter wide throughout.
  • The length of the private alley must be 35 meters of less.
  • The house must be at least 2 meters away from the center line of the road.