AIR-J, run by Japan Foundation, is an extensive Online Database of Artist-in-Residence Programs in Japan, available in both English and Japanese.
The core of the site is its listings and search function, allowing you to search for Artist in Residency programs either directly by looking through a listing of Residencies, or by choosing a number of features or elements. For example, one can specify that one is searching only programs that “definitely” include a studio, accommodation, and funds for travel expenses, but which only “maybe” include an open call, and funding for production. Altogether, there are ten criteria by which one can search in combination.
In total, there appear to be only 64 artist-in-residence programs listed on the site at the moment, but, even so, this seems a useful search function for narrowing down the programs by one’s desired criteria. Each program is then listed with a run-down of whether each of these criteria is included (provided) by that residency or not, along with a set of keywords as to the focus areas of that residency (e.g. crafts, film/video, performance, sculpture), and an indication of the application window, and residency dates. Clicking through for more details, you are taken to a lengthier listing, explaining out the fuller details of that program, including description of the location & surrounding area, a more precise and detailed description of the activities an artist is expected to take part in, application procedures, the history of that residency program, and so forth.
The website also includes a listing of individual artists who have previously taken part in these programs. I imagine this could be quite useful for (a) looking up which program so-and-so did, if you’ve already heard that a particular artist had a particularly good experience, and/or (b) looking up which artists to contact about a particular program, to ask their opinion about their experience.
AIR-J also provides its own FAQ on artist residencies in general (as a concept), and a list of books and articles about residency programs in Japan, for further reading, as well as a series of links to other websites of arts events calendars (e.g. Tokyo Art Beat), funding sources (e.g. Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council), arts-related libraries, ministries & agencies, artists’ networks, and other useful websites for artists in Japan.
Best of luck with your applications! Looking forward to seeing you at galleries, festivals, or museums in Japan!