Short term accommodation in Japan

Accommodation in Japan can be complicated at the best of times. I made my way through it thanks to a combination of sites, both local and international.


At first, Airbnb was the most useful. I stayed in Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Kagoshima in Airbnb flats. This was always the cheapest option and offered the widest range of choices. I also stayed in hotels around Hokkaido by booking them on It was super helpful when looking for a place to stay in smaller cities such as Abashiri. Have a look at the Sapporo snow festival which happened during my trip in Hokkaido!

Even when my experience with Airbnb rentals wasn't perfect, the staff were helpful. In fact, they also saved me from a potentially awful experience in Kyoto. I arrived just after the typhoon season (remember Typhoon Jebi?) and the building I was supposed to stay in had taken damage. I ended up in a dingy old flat along with my partner and we thought, "OK, it's not perfect but it's only temporary" as the owner promised to move us to the original rental within 2 weeks. Let me paint a picture - There were holes in the floor where the wooden floorboards were rotting. The shower was in front of the front door, the bed was broken and let's not mention The "kitchen" that wasn't. Then things got worse! Our original flat was in even worse condition when we got moved there!

After a short back-and-forth with the owner and AirBnB, we were refunded the following month and able to move somewhere else. So, the point I want to make with this Airbnb horror story is that renting through this service allowed my partner and I to have an independent 3rd party to judge and resolve the situation for us who also spoke my language. I am learning Japanese but I don't think I could have resolved this alone.

I'll post later about long-term rental options in Kansai. I have a few good leads for that too.


Travel Light Sam