In the Leguminosae plant family, few of the individual plant species have been used for plant molecular biology research. Among the species investigated no obvious representative ‘model’ legume has emerged. Here a member of the tribe Loteae, Lotus japonicus (Regel) Larsen is proposed as a candidate. L. japonicus is a diploid, autogamous species, with a good seed set, and a generation time of approximately 3 months. The haploid genome consists of six chromosomes and the genome size was estimated to be relatively small (0.5 pg per haploid complement). L. japonicus is susceptible to Agrobacterium tumefaciens and transgenic plants can be regenerated after hygromycin or kanamycin selection. Tissue culture conditions and procedures for transformation and regeneration are described. Stable transformation is demonstrated by segregation of the hygromycin selectable marker after selfing of transgenic plants or test crosses. The possibility of mapping polymorphic DNA markers inbred lines of L. japonicus is also discussed.