- 3 min read

Island Hunting in Hinase

An introduction to the archipelago

After having become a Japanese citizen or simply Japanese as it says on my wife’s spousal visa, I started having flashbacks to Palawan and the islands that I was told were for sale in my wife’s home country. I dreamed of creating my own world and an island to myself struck me as a good direction to go in. One day before work, I was watching a documentary about a young Japanese couple that decided to get out of their small apartment and buy an old abandoned house on an island in the Seto Sea for about $9,000. It seemed like a good idea. The question was how much was it going to cost me?

I decided to look closer to my new home in Japan and I came across an island. Not a whole island to myself but rather a piece of land on an island in the Seto Inland Sea. Often called, “Japan’s Aegean Sea”, the Seto Inland Sea is between Shikoku and the main island of Honshu.

I was surfing through Okayama’s court website and found a piece of land for sale for about $2000. I went to the courthouse, at that time on a work visa and bought the land. Later I went out to the small island of Kojima and couldn’t find it! The maps from the court were misleading and I spent hours trying to locate the lot.

I didn’t find the lot on my first visit but I got ideas just by being there. I thought of building a Gilligan’s Isle style hut with my own two hands then I thought that I would get some help on this. What I did was contact a builder and an exterior company. We went out to the island on separate occasions and it became clear. I would have to spend a lot to get anything done professionally. They told me $100,000 for a level foundation that would be suitable for the rough terrain and $50,000 for a house that would make a hobbit complain about the lack of space. So, I shelved my plans until I could think of something else.

Could I do at least some of it myself? One thing I can’t do is a survey of the land to get the GPS coordinates that are needed to determine the exact boundaries of the property. I reminded myself that I had bought this land from the Japanese courts not a private realtor. An acquaintance of mine who does surveys told me that it would cost $2,500 to do it and would include physically putting the concrete markers in the ground for all eternity. I said, “Hey, that’s more money than I paid for the land”. Then I realized why it was so cheap.

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