Japan Allows Home-Sharing In Time For AnimeJapan 2017? Airbnb For Anime Fans

Private homes and residential properties in Japan could soon be allowed to hosts foreign guests through home-sharing platforms like Airbnb. With AnimeJapan approaching fast, the country is expected to face an even acute shortage of lodging for foreign travelers, and the tabled bill could significantly alleviate the problem.

Japan is expected to allow residential property owners in the country to rent their homes to tourists. The ability to rent out personal accommodations to foreigners may be extended to only legitimate owners of private and residential property. Moreover, the property owners will have to adhere to strict rules. While many have openly applauded the government’s efforts to reduce the burden on overflowing hotels and inns, a few regional hospitality experts have raised concerns and claimed the new provision might cause several more problems than the ones they could solve.

Japan’s urban real estate is quite premium. The fact that Japan routinely experiences natural calamities merely adds to the cost of property ownership in the land of the rising sun. Hence property owners have long requested their local government representatives to introduce legislature that would allow them to offer their homes to foreigners on a temporary basis. However, the local government, known as The National Diet, had refused to allow citizens from offering their personal lodging and boarding to foreign tourists for limited period of time.


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Fortunately for the local population owning apartments and houses, the new bill would allow them to rent homes or rooms to tourists for up to six months at a time. However, the bill has been merely tabled, and is yet to be debated. If the bill passes through the Diet, property owners would be allowed to offer their local premises through established Bread and Breakfast (B-and-B) platforms. Needless to add, the most notable and prolific platform to gain from the legislature is Airbnb. The company has been trying to get the law on their side and get the norms relaxed in Japan for quite some time.

If the bill becomes a law, businesses like Airbnb could begin nationwide operation in Japan. Having multiple options apart from the standard ones would certainly benefit the tourists. In fact, the diverse lodging choices could allow international travelers a chance to experience Japanese cuisine and hospitality even more intimately. If the bill is cleared soon, the anime and manga industry would be the first to benefit.

Japan is home to the anime and manga culture. In fact, hundreds of Japanese manga and anime are not only popular within the region, but also enjoy fan base extending into the millions across the world. Hence, the country regularly hosts manga and anime festivals in various parts of urban Japan. Moreover, with majority of the hotels and inns already overbooked, last minute travelers regularly have a hard time finding accommodation. These festivals frequently stretch the already overburdened properties offering accommodation. Opening private residential properties for lodging would certainly offer more choices to foreigners and ease the strain on other commercial establishments.

Although the bill promises to elevate the temporary accommodation problems of tourists, it could cause problem to the local population, fear experts. Opening up residential areas to foreigners, even on a temporary basis, could cause escalation of real estate prices.

The local government, however, has mandated that all of these soon-to-be-opened lodging and boarding properties, be registered with their local municipality. The bill mandates these “minpaku lodgings” would operate specifically in residential areas, and would be required to be clearly marked and maintained by property owners, reported Japan Today.

[Featured Image by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images]