AirBnB and its legal status in Japan

My husband and I will be visiting Tokyo for the first time this May. We’re both so excited. Ahead of our trip, I booked our accommodations in Central Tokyo on AirBnB.

Then I came across news articles about AirBnb’s current legal issues in Tokyo and Japan in general. Resources in English are still rather few, and details are far from clear and sometimes even contradictory. While I’ve read about cancelled reservations in light of recent developments, it seems to still be more or less business as usual for most AirBnB hosts.

Can anyone enlighten me as to AirBnB’s status in Japan? I understand there are locations already implementing some new regulations, such as Ota Ward. What about for other areas? I’m quite worried. :confused:

Would appreciate any insights on this from anyone. Thanks :slight_smile:

Most Airbnb listings in Japan are probably illegal however generally the law isn’t enforced. Some people do get shut down but as a guest you’re quite unlikely to be caught out in one of these situations. I think the situation is similar some other cities around the world, so it’s not a particular issue specific to Japan.

I think it’s far more likely any problem with that B&B would be the host cancelling for other reasons or some other unrelated problem rather than a legal issue causing the host to shut down that listing


I am living in an Airbnb apartment right now. Although in the hallways and elevators there are papers hanging up mentioning that owners of the apartments are not allowed to use their apartments for this purpose, we haven’t gotten any problems.

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Thank you for your replies, @mrkirkland and @Linus.

We’re are yet to apply for our tourist visa. We were advised by the travel agency who will be processing our visa application to indicate that we are staying at an Airbnb property. Now I’m concerned if we’d have issues at Japan immigration. Do they ask/check?

To add to my worries, our Airbnb host has started to not reply to my messages :fearful: :weary: :sob:

I don’t know what difference (if any) this would make, but I’m sure your travel agency probably knows more about this than I. The guest staying at an AirBnB is not breaking the law, the host is the only one who has any legal issues. So from what I can see there’s no clear legal reason why this would make any difference.

If your host isn’t replying to your messages, then escalate the problem to Airbnb support.

Best of luck!

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Appreciate the kind responses so much, @mrkirkland! After poking about my account for hours, I finally found out how to send Airbnb a message. Kind of inconvenient; the option is not immediately available. :confused:

I will try to drop by the travel agency to ask about it in particular. They didn’t discourage me in any way when I mentioned I’ve booked an Airbnb room, giving me the impression that it won’t be a problem. So far, people I’ve asked about it haven’t had problems during their stay (although their trips were back in the previous two years).

I’ll keep an eye on developments. Anything anyone could share about it would be truly helpful.

Maraming salamat! :slight_smile:

Traveling to Japan from 28 January 2017 until now (post this on the Shinkansen), and always use airbnb (in Hakata/Fukuoka, Kyoto and Sapporo).

The host in Hakata & Kyoto stated that b&b still in grey area (between legal-ilegal). Main problem for the neighborhood for this business is garbage separation (since this is one of important things in Japan) and crowd/noisy during the rest time. While, the main problem for the hotel/inn owner (“legal” place to stay) is unfair business competition, since the requirements for the license is difficult, also the fee/levies for such license is expensive.

Currently, as long as no one (neighborhood or building owner or building management) reporting the host and/or the guest to the local gov/police, the business (bnb) still run as usual :).

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That’s nice to hear. Thanks for the feedback, @Stef!

Man, I should try to calm down. :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

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