Leading Individuals: Gaiben

Firms To Watch: Real estate and construction: Independent local firms

Led by Akira Kubota, who is an expert in hotel development transactions, the real estate team at Yokogi & Masui Partners regularly advises on real estate transactions related to the development and construction of data centres.

Real estate and construction: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

The team at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune is known for its ‘superb knowledge’ of  a range of real estate transactions. The group consists of a number of non-Japanese-qualified lawyers which strengthens its cross-border capabilities, with the group regularly advises foreign investors on their inbound real estate investments. Tetsuya Itoh advises on real estate development transactions and the formation of real estate funds across the residential, hotel and logistics sectors. Hikaru Naganuma has deep M&A expertise, advising on the acquisition of real estate holding companies as well as acting as counsel to J-REITs. The team has an established position in the J-REIT market, with Minoru Kobayashi has extensive experience in J-REIT-related matters, particularly in relation to global offerings of J-REITS, which is also structured finance expert Ken Kobayashi's area of expertise.

Other key lawyers:

Tetsuya Itoh; Hikaru Naganuma; Minoru Kobayashi; Ken Kobayashi; Naoyuki Kabata; Eiji Sakai


‘Anderson Mori & Tomotsune is one of the most reliable law firms in the field of Japanese real estate transactions. They have superb knowledge in related laws and regulations and practices.’

‘Anderson Mori & Tomotsune is not only one of the most reliable law firms in the field, but also understands and meets clients’ demands best.’

‘Full-service firm that renders consistently high quality of work. For a foreign client, we also appreciate that the Japanese attorneys whom we deal with are proficient in English and have an international mindset.’

‘We use AMT for both corporate real estate transactions and also fund marketing advice and regulatory processes. Naoyuki Kabata is a very experienced and knowledgeable corporate real estate attorney. He is also very well-versed in regulatory matters. Advice and work product are always rendered and delivered very promptly and professionally.’

‘The team has extensive track record of real estate finance of healthcare asset in Japan.’

‘In particular, Ken Kobayashi and Eiji Sakai have reliable knowledge and know-how of structured finance and provide us with useful and suitable advice at any time.’

Key clients

Nomura Securities

Japan Metropolitan Fund Investment Corporation

Nippon Prologis REIT, Inc.

Hoshino Resorts REIT, Inc.

Nippon REIT Investment Corporation

Kenedix Office Investment Corporation

Frontier Real Estate Investment Corporation

Japan Logistics Fund, Inc.

Hankyu REIT, Inc.

Renewable Japan Energy Infrastructure Fund, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Acted as underwriters’ Japanese counsel in the global offering of units of GLP J-REIT.
  • Acted as counsel to Oaktree Capital Management in its joint venture fund with Stack Infrastructure Inc. for the development of a 36MW two-building data center campus in Inzai, Chiba, advising on a capital structure and investment scheme through a TMK in Japan.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is praised by clients for its 'abundant' knowledge and experience of real estate and capital markets related issues, with the highly experienced team exhibiting expertise across the full spectrum of real estate issues, from development and acquisition to leasing and divestment. The firm also leverages its international strength to advise Japanese clients looking to develop or acquire properties overseas. Real estate financing is another key focus area for the team, with practice head Eriko Ozawa advising numerous private real estate funds on investments. Satoru Hasumoto has deep expertise in all forms of financial regulation, while Fuyuki Uchitsu contributes to the team’s security token offerings capabilities. The firm’s strong capital markets practice bolsters the team’s J-REIT offering, with Masahito Saeki having broad knowledge of both Japan and ASEAN REIT markets. The 'outstandingTakahiro Sato regularly advises private REITs, J-REITs and listed infrastructure funds.

Practice head(s):

Eriko Ozawa

Other key lawyers:

Naoki Ishikawa; Satoru Hasumoto; Masahito Saeki; Takahiro Sato; Fuyuki Uchitsu


‘Ability, experience and scale to prepare contracts required for real estate securitization; ability to explain simply and clearly to the person in charge; familiarity with the management of real estate transactions in Japan; flexibility and quick response required to execute transactions; and readiness to respond to the latest legal regulations and trends.’

‘Takahiro Sato is familiar with the practice of securitisation of real estate in Japan. In addition, he assumes Japanese judicial practice and drafts contracts in accordance with the terminology of Japanese law. He does not overestimate his abilities and acts in the interests of his clients, enlisting the help of other lawyers in the firm when necessary.

‘There is an abundance of excellent human resources. Speedy and accurate responses. They provide a wealth of information and seminars on related work, and offer services that contribute to the client’s business even if there is no specific request for work.’

‘Masahiro Saeki is not only familiar with Japanese real estate fund schemes in general, but also with overseas schemes, and can provide appropriate advice when working with overseas funds.’

‘MHM has a deep knowledge of Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and Act on Investment Trusts and Investment Corporations, and has accumulated a wealth of these cases, and is able to provide prompt and accurate legal responses in these areas. MHM always obtains information on new legislative, examines their impact on practice, and provides that information to clients quickly.’

‘MHM’s members have abundant knowledge and experience of the real estate and capital market practice and has provided us advice which is not only legally correct but also constructive and practical based on the deep understanding of our business and situations as well as the latest market trends. Saeki is outstanding in the field of J-REITs and listed infrastructure funds. ’

‘Each person in charge presents the best explanations and solutions to the legal questions and problems we want to solve, with a sense of speed and punctuality. Additionally, Masahito Saeki’s abundant experience and cross-cutting knowledge in the industry, as well as legal interpretations of issues and proposals for response policies, are extremely helpful in my work.’

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. and Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Diamond Realty Management Inc.

Mitsubishi Corporation

Goldman Sachs Asset Management Co., Ltd.

PGIM Real Estate Finance

Google Inc.

Government Pension Investment Fund

Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd.

Baring Private Equity Asia

Work highlights

  • Advised Hulic on the acquisition of Otemachi Place (East Tower).
  • Advised a U.S. investment fund on the bulk acquisition of more than 1300 share house properties, together with obtaining real estate financing.
  • Advised UBS Asset Management on the divestment of Mitsubishi Corp.-UBS Realty.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu’s real estate practice maintains a strong reputation for handling a broad array of real estate transactions in Japan, including M&A and investments in properties overseas. Practice head Shunpei Tanaka counts major real estate companies among his clients, frequently advising on the establishment of sponsored J-REITS. Kenji Utsumi also regularly represents both listed and unlisted J-REITs, and both Hiroto Inoue and Junji Yamanaka are experienced in advising on J-REIT formation. The team advises new entrants into the Japanese real estate sector, with Mami Ikebukuro assisting clients with their first investments into the Japanese real estate market. The group has experienced growth in the hotel sector, with a key focus of Yoshihisa Watanabe’s practice being the acquisition of hotels and hotel development projects, while Yoshinobu Koyama regularly advises clients on hotel management agreements. Shinichiro Horaguchi regularly handles domestic real estate transactions and overseas development projects, and Makoto Saito regularly represents both national and international investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Shunpei Tanaka

Other key lawyers:

Mami Ikebukuro; Hiroto Inoue; Junji Yamanaka; Kenji Utsumi; Yoshihisa Watanabe; Yoshinobu Koyama; Shinichiro Horaguchi; Makoto Saito


‘Services are quick, having points without redundant analysis. Lawyers are well organised from partner to associate level to quickly to form a group for assignments.’

‘Their strengths are that they fully understand a Japanese company’s mindset, our critical points, and our expected goals. They collaborate well with local firms.

‘NO&T’s attorneys attend to the contract negotiations, and their negotiating skills are outstanding.’

‘Tanaka has excellent practical negotiation skills for real estate-related contracts, based on his many years of experience. Fujisaki demonstrated outstanding ability in handling cases with a sense of responsibility. Kurihara has demonstrated exceptional ability in handling a large volume of work with short deadlines.’

‘Works very well with foreign law firms. Long track record of advising on fund raises for Japanese PE funds.’

‘They are covering variety of issues for our sector and are very experienced. We believe they are one of the best in our industry.’

‘Hiroto Inoue has varied knowledge and experience in our industry. His suggestions are always reasonable, and he can find hidden issues within the deal.’

Key clients

Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.


Tokyu Land Corporation

Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd.

Nomura Real Estate Development Co., Ltd.

Mitsubishi Corporation

Hulic Co., Ltd.


AEON Co., Ltd.

NTT Urban Development

Marubeni Corporation




ESR Cayman Limited

Gaw Capital Partners

Hilton International

PGIM Real Estate

Norges Bank Real Estate Management


Accor S.A.

Allianz Real Estate GmbH

Challenger Kabushiki Kaisha

Japan Excellent, Inc.

Kenedix, Inc.

Kokyo Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Marriott International, Inc.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised KKR & Co. Inc. on its acquisition of the entire share capital of Mitsubishi Corp. – UBS Realty Inc., with a valuation of JPY 230 bn.
  • Advised Dorchester Collection on their hotel in Japan, to be located in the Torch Tower, Mitsubishi Estate’s flagship, currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2027.
  • Advised Nomura Real Estate Development Co. Ltd. on structuring a joint venture with Federal Land Inc., aimed at property development in Malaysia.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi’s broad practice, led by Yoshihiko Kawakami, spans both financing and development matters within the sector. In addition to sale and purchase, and leasing and management issues, the team advises on large-scale developments. The group notably advises a varied client base of Japanese mega banks, financial institutions and both domestic and foreign investment banks. Hiroshi Niinomi regularly assists builders, developers and lenders with their real estate transactions, while Yoshiaki Ikeda advises both private REITs and J-REITs on Japanese real estate transactions. Norio Maeda is known for assisting foreign investors entering the Japanese real estate market, and Takuya Shimizu works with international financial institutions and funds. The real estate group works closely with the firm’s Singapore-based construction team, led by Shintaro Uno and supported by Natalie Yap, which handles construction disputes and represents Japanese construction companies across Southeast Asia.

Practice head(s):

Yoshihiko Kawakami; Shintaro Uno

Other key lawyers:

Yoshiaki Ikeda; Hiroshi Niinomi; Norio Maeda; Takyua Shimizu; Natalie Yap

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Tokyu Land Corporation

Kajima Corporation

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

ORIX Corporation

Mitsui & Co. Asset Management Holdings Ltd.

Mori Trust Co., Ltd.

Tokyo Tatemono Investment Advisors Co., Ltd.

Kajima Real Estate Investment Advisors Inc.

The Blackstone Group Japan K.K.

SMFL MIRAI Partners Company, Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Tokyo Branch as lenders to Gaw Capital Partners in its acquisition of seven logistics facilities from Blackstone Japan.
  • Represented the buyer, SMFL MIRAI Partners Company, Limited, in acquisition of a plot of land consisting of 105,270 square metres, which previously housed Panasonic subsidiary Sanyo Electric’s Suminodo factory and Kyocera’s Osaka Daito Office.
  • Represented the seller, Blackstone, in the acquisition of 30 residential properties in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, including the Grace Residence Tokyo, from M&G Investments using a TMK structure.

TMI Associates

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi leads the broad real estate and construction practice at TMI Associates, which displays deep bench strength in structured financing. The firm regularly advises on domestic, inbound and outbound real estate investments, and counts domestic and foreign sponsors, lenders, trustees and REITs among its clients. The group also handles a variety of construction matters, including schemes such as PFI/PPP. Along with real estate finance specialist Hideaki Kurauchi, Arito Ogoshi contributes in-depth knowledge of financial regulations, advising on transactions across the hotel, logistics and data centre sectors. The construction team also handles a range of contentious matters, with Yu Tomita acting in a range of disputes and lawsuits. Mizuki Koshimoto is noted for his broad knowledge of the development and structuring of various renewable energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi

Other key lawyers:

Hideaki Kurauchi; Arito Ogoshi; Mizuki Koshimoto; Yu Tomita

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

SMBC Trust Bank Ltd.

LaSalle Investment Management

ORIX Corporation

Aozora Bank Ltd.

Kenedix Investment Partners, Inc.

Mizuho Trust & Banking Co,Ltd.

Suruga bank Ltd.

Work highlights

Ushijima & Partners

Kohtaro Tamura, an expert in real estate transactions and securitisation, leads the real estate and construction team at Ushijima & Partners. The group has 'outstanding experience and knowledge' of real estate transactions, advising clients on the full range of matters within the sector. Naoki Hieda is particularly skilled in the drafting of sale and purchase, lease and construction agreements. With a strong background in finance matters Hiroki Awahara has a wealth of experience in real estate investment and finance transactions, while Masahiro Shiotani has deep expertise in securitisation. The team is noted for its cross-border capabilities, with Nao Makita advising both foreign and domestic, investors, banks and funds. Makita also has experience in real estate-related disputes, particularly in relation to leases, land pollution and construction.

Practice head(s):

Kohtaro Tamura

Other key lawyers:

Hiroki Awahara; Masahiro Shiotani; Naoki Hieda; Nao Makita


‘The team has an outstanding experience and knowledge of real estate deals. Their work is very speedy.’


Work highlights

Atsumi & Sakai

Russell Kawahara leads the real estate financing and development team at Atsumi & Sakai, which advises a range of clients across the real estate sector, and is particularly active in the logistics space. Drawing on the firm’s international network, the team is able to advise foreign clients such as real estate investors and funds and represents offshore REITs, as well as J-REITs, in the formation of investment funds. Takafumi Uematsu plays a key role in the team and has extensive experience in advising both domestic and international asset managers and investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Russell Kawahara; Shuji Koyama; Jun Oishi

Other key lawyers:

Takafumi Uematsu


‘Takafumi Uematsu is responsive, cooperative and knowledgable.’

Work highlights

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners has 'specialists in every field' that offer 'unique and invaluable' advice across the real estate and construction sectors. The team, co-led by Shigeaki Itoh and Junko Hirakawa, represents both Japanese companies and foreign clients. ‘Standout‘ partner Masamichi Sakamoto counts foreign investment funds, international hotel brands, real estate asset managers and banks among his clients. Hirosato Nabika advises on numerous construction and procurement projects both in Japan and overseas, in addition to assisting clients with matters that arise post-transaction. Practice co-head Yoshiko Koizumi specialises in dispute prevention and resolution, and in recall and product liability on an international level, and Hiroaki Matsunaga has experience in disputes concerning domestic construction matters. ODA projects are another area of focus for the team, with Yoshitada Ogiso handling financing issues, and Koji Matsuda handling infrastructure matters.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Itoh; Junko Hirakawa; Yoshiko Koizumi

Other key lawyers:

Masamichi Sakamoto; Hirosato Nabika; Hiroaki Matsunaga; Yoshitada Ogiso; Koji Matsuda


‘City-Yuwa Partners has provided us with effective legal assistance, particularly for cross-border projects involving investors from Singapore and Thailand.’

‘Their expertise in offering suitable and adaptable legal advice has enabled us to navigate laws from all angles. Their unique and invaluable legal services have significantly contributed to our decision-making process for each financing transaction.’

‘Highly valued capability for effective negotiation and communication: City-Yuwa Partners could directly and effectively support our bank’s negotiation and communication with our customers. They also have direct and effective negotiations with the legal advisors on behalf of our borrowers, especially with respect to the significant legal issues.’

‘Accurate, proper and sufficient knowledge and experience in every letter of law, which has largely and effectively contributed to supporting our bank’s various transactions.’

‘Sakamoto, as the stand-out partner of City-Yuwa Partners, has established and maintained strong and effective personal connections over the domestic market and overseas countries. He has been effectively cooperating and working together with specialists.’

‘I think they are differentiated from other law firms by forming a team of people with different expertise and experience and approaching cases from many angles. Each lawyer has specialised knowledge and experience, so they can handle many tasks with high quality.’

‘Yoshiko Koizumi; In addition to her excellence of professional legal skills and experiences, she has outstanding view as a businessperson and gives us great advice from big picture based on her various experiences and practice. She also has rich connections and networks globally, and can provide us with wonderful resolutions from a wide point of broader insight.’

Work highlights

Kaynex Law Offices

Kaynex Law Offices provides comprehensive advice to its diverse list of clients, which includes international, as well as domestic, real estate funds, asset management companies and banks. 'Standout lawyer' Eiichi Nagai leads the team, maintaining a broad practice covering all aspects of real estate transactions from investment, to development and construction. Nagai also has expansive experience in advising lenders on real estate financing. Aya Kurahashi is a key name of note within the team and Makoto Fujii handles a broad range of issues relating to real estate investment and lending.

Practice head(s):

Eiichi Nagai

Other key lawyers:

Aya Kurahashi; Makoto Fujii


‘Kaynex Law Firm truly excels in providing comprehensive legal solutions that meet a wide range of client needs. Their expertise spans cross-border real estate securitisation and various transaction processes. Their team’s collaborative approach ensures every aspect is thoroughly addressed, offering clients a holistic and robust legal strategy.’

‘From international real estate to intricate financial transactions, Kaynex is able to provide an all-encompassing legal support.’

‘Nagai, a standout lawyer at Kaynex, goes beyond conventional approaches. With cross-border real estate securitization expertise, he crafts tailored solutions aligned precisely with each client’s unique requirements. His ability to delve into specifics and understand the bigger picture allows him to offer personalised guidance.’

‘Nagai’s approach is marked by a commitment to addressing individual concerns, ensuring clients feel heard and valued. By customising legal strategies, Nagai creates a seamless fit between legal intricacies and client objectives, setting him apart as a remarkable advocate.

‘Speedy and accurate advice. Knowledgeable and experienced.’

‘Understand the business and the client’s intentions and give advice. Nagai Eiichi.’

‘The firm has a small but experienced team of attorneys who specialise in challenging matters. It is a law firm that not only points out the risks but also offers the best solutions based on a deep understanding of our business background.’

‘Eiichi Nagai has extensive experience in providing legal advice in both real estate finance and real estate investment and has a good understanding of the parties’ situations, and he provides balanced solutions that prioritise the client’s interests while taking into account the parties’ risk-reward.’

Work highlights

Tsubame Law Offices

The team at Tsubame Law Offices has broad expertise, handling a variety of mandates involving development, financing, and asset and property management. Atsuko Kissho is a real estate financing specialist, who is particularly adept at advising on mezzanine finance transactions. Takumi Fukuda advises a number of banks on real estate financing transactions, while Yasuhiro Shimada has expansive expertise in trust ABL real estate financing transactions. Known for having regulatory and transactional knowledge Yasuko Tsuchihashi regularly assists banks and asset management companies.

Practice head(s):

Yasuko Tsuchihashi; Atsuko Kissho; Takumi Fukuda; Yasuhiro Shimada


‘Deep legal knowledge and very practical problem-solving.’

Work highlights