Did you book an Airbnb in Japan? Check your reservation
Thanks to a new law by the Japanese government
Jun 15, 2018
Whenever I travel, I always swear by staying at an Airbnb. A lot of other tourists and travelers, I’m sure, would agree. Not only is it cheaper, it also gives you a better feel of life in a particular neighborhood. You get to live alongside locals, walk the same routes they do, and even shop in stores they too frequent. It’s a very convenient immersion.
But in Japan, this might not be so convenient anymore thanks to a new law by the Japanese government. The new law, Nikkei Asian Review reports, “requires hosts to register their properties instead of obtaining permits with local authorities.” This regulation aims to “ease a shortage of hotel rooms, bring order to an unregulated market, and offer more options for foreign visitors,” The Japan Times reports.
This means businesses like Airbnb (which has around 60,000 listings in Japan) could offer only a limited number of spaces as the law dictates they can only open up spaces for rent up to 180 days a year. Local and municipal governments also have their own guidelines. In Tokyo, some municipalities have even banned weekday rentals.
What does this mean for the Japanese property owners or hosts?
Obviously, the hosts will experience a loss in profit. But other hosts also use their lodging rentals as an opportunity to discover and exchange cultures with the people they host. This new law may put a damper on that cultural exchange.
On a larger scale, the new law also means that only licensed listings may continue operating. As of May 11, only 724 hosts completed the registration process, according to Nikkei Asian Review. With this, the Japanese government also issued a request for Airbnb to cancel existing bookings for unregistered listings.
What does this mean for travelers?
There have also been reports that thousands of Airbnb users who have booked reservations have received notices that their reservations have been cancelled. A $10 million fund was set up by Airbnb to cover for the cancellations, according to Tech Crunch.
It’s a sad week for us budget travelers, but on the somewhat bright side, Japan has also made a law that would open up more temples for lodging. So that whole immersion thing? Still possible.
But also, this just means we better start planning Japan trips better and earlier. (Note to self!)
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