Cyclicity has long been a characteristic of urban land and property markets. In some periods, especially in times of macro‐economic stability, it is subdued and readily manageable, and in other periods it is exceptional in terms of its amplitude, periodicity and overall economic impacts. In the post‐1980 period, however, not only have some cycles been exceptional in the above sense, they have also been exceptional in the sense that their causes and consequences are internationally transmitted. Accordingly, the post 1980 exceptional cyclicities merit theoretical and situational explanation. The purpose of this article is to explain the exceptional cycles occurring since 1980 from a theoretical point of view, focusing mainly on the situation in Japan where the impacts have been most significant and extreme.