Let's go through what you need to know about staying at an Airbnb in Japan:
It's Illegal (for now)
That's right, Airbnb is technically illegal in Japan. I can totally understand why too, as it takes money away from hotels that in the end helps promote tourism. Japan is in the works on making it legal though. They are aiming to accomplish this sometime in 2018. I'm assuming this is to ensure rooms to all Tokyo 2020 Olympics visitors as hotels will probably be full.
Some Japanese Apartments don't Allow Foreigners
Yep, no foreigners allowed is a thing when looking for apartments in Japan. There are many reasons for this that I can cover in another blog post, but right now we're talking about Airbnb. Most Airbnb places you'll find will be Japanese apartments, so if you ever dreamed of living in Japan this is a way to fulfill that dream. Sadly, that dream comes with a bunch of warnings. Many of the Airbnb hosts will instruct you on the rules of staying at their Airbnb. I will tell you of the warnings I've gotten from my Airbnb hosts: "Don't make loud noises." "Come in and out of the apartment quietly." "Make sure none of the other residents spot you."
I felt like I was playing secret agent the whole time! I understood the loud noises warning, but having to hide myself was a little overboard. I hated that fact that I was looking down every hallway before continuing to the room I was renting. One host even said that if someone spotted me to say I was visiting a friend. I complied to all these rules but I know many people who would not, so just a little notice to you folks out there.
|Inside our Airbnb apartment in Kyoto, Japan.|
Feel like a Local
Have you even seen those Airbnb commercials on TV or on YouTube where they talk about not just staying in Japan, Italy or France, but actually experiencing living there. Airbnb definitely gives you the living experience. I could totally live in a Japanese apartment, but I can't say the same for my tall husband (Japanese apartment are known for being small). I loved the feeling of stepping outside the apartment, into an actual neighborhood. You really get to know the area well with Airbnb, as hotels will usually be on main streets and populated areas.
|A shrine in the neighborhood in Kyoto that we would have never known about.|
It's the Cheaper Option
For travelers on a budget, Airbnb is perfect for you. It's way cheaper than a hotel. My lowest Airbnb price was $67 a day and my most expensive was $98. You can obviously go lower or higher than these amounts. The pricing will vary depending on the apartment's utilities, convenience and space. So if you see an apartment with a washer, dryer, more than once room and a 10 minute walk from the station you'll be paying a lot more than an apartment with none of these qualities. And when you're looking don't just pick the first apartment; shop around for one you'll be happy with.
|Tiny apartment means same room for the toilet and the bath.|
I hope this has helped you in decided your lodging for your stay in Japan. I definitely say try Airbnb at least once during your stay in Japan because it will really give you that "living in Japan" experience that I think everyone should try once (especially if you have dreams of living in Japan someday). I tried Airbnb in Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya, but they are in a lot more cities so browse around.