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.

nolisoli fixture travel japan tokyo
After all the touristy sights, you get to go “home” to a real taste of living in a particular city or town. Photo courtesy of Pauline Miranda

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.

nolisoli fixture travel japan tokyo
Current listings. Screencap from Airbnb

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.

nolisoli fixture travel japan tokyo
Airbnbs and other short-term private lodgings provide travelers with a convenient way to immerse in the neighborhoods they visit. Photo courtesy of Pauline Miranda
nolisoli fixture travel japan tokyo
Photo courtesy of Pauline Miranda

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!)


Read more:

You can book a temple stay in Japan very soon

We found the Japanese art of saving money

This island in Japan was voted 2018’s top travel spot

Read more by Pauline Miranda:

This ancient Japanese philosophy will be your new guide to modern life

LOOK: There’s a Studio Ghibli theme park opening in 2022

Poblacion’s newest resident Yoi crosses from fusion dining to hip-hop sake bar

TAGS: airbnb budget travel japan nolisoli Tokyo travel travel tips