Let me share my experiance and opinion about owning property in Japan.
First I am a Canadian and speak no Japanese and had no visa to stay in Japan only the 90 day tourist visa when I arrived two years ago.
I bought a parcel of land 900 m2 in Shiga-ken, I have to say it was the easiest parcel of land I bought, Foreigners have no problems acquiring land in Japan. A foreigner can buy, sell own a business in Japan with out having a visa, with that being said you only can hold a 90 day tourist visa every time you enter Japan and once you own property or a business in Japan you can come and go as you please but with only a 90 day visa of course.
Real estate agents are more then happy to help foreigners who want to purchase property as long as you have the money, remember you will not be able to borrow money in Japan unless you are a permanent resident or citizen. I hired a translater when I did all my transaction in Japan, no problems what so ever.
Just last year I built a new Chalet on the property by importing everything from Canada so I really didn't need to purchase any large items in Japan or hire anyone from Japan it was quiet easy.
That said I have a vacation home in Japan I come and stay twice a year just on my 90 day tourist visa with out any problems at all.
People in this form sometime state that things can be difficult in Japan but really if you do your home work first on what you want to achieve it is actually very simple.
If you have the money you can do anything.
PS: Shiga-Ken is one of the places with the cheapest property, 100's of them.