AirBnB in Japan

Japan Releases Details of New Law on AirBnB-Style Rentals

By Jeff Wynkoop

The Japanese government has finally released details of the new Minpaku (民泊) Law it plans to submit to the regular session of the Diet sometime in 2017. The main purpose of the law is to provide a legal basis for the Airbnb-style private room renting that has been popping up all over Japan the last few years.

Please see the most up-to-date status of Airbnb in Japan here:

Japan Legalizes Airbnb in Japan: Diet Passes Law (June 9, 2017)

Airbnb in Japan close to full legalization: Details of draft law (March 11, 2017)

Current Legal Status of AirBnB-Style Rentals

Currently Airbnb-style businesses are illegal since renting out a room to the general public in a continuous fashion is considered to be a breach of the Japanese Hotel Business Law (ryokangyouhou or “Hotel Law”). That is, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, the Japanese ministry which enforces the Hotel Law, requires such business to get a license prior to beginning operations, however Hotel Law regulations are very strict and often times impractical to satisfy for private citizens wanting to rent out a room.

In the alternative, it is possible for Airbnb-style operations to be set up legally in one of the special economic zones designated around the country, provided the economic zone has also already passed a special Minpaku enforcement ordinance (such as in Osaka City and in Ota-ku in Tokyo), but these ordinances require guests to stay a minimum of 7 nights.

For changes to the law since this article was posted, please see: Government to Lower Restrictions on AirBnB-Style Rentals in Japan, posted on August 8, 2016.

Real Estate Zoning Law Restrictions

To loosen the Hotel Law restrictions, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has already enacted amendments this year to make it easier for small operators to qualify for a license (and be allowed to have guests stay less than 7 nights), but the main hurdle for private citizens is that there are real estate zoning law restrictions to such licenses (i.e., they may not be issued to operators located in private residential zones, only to operators in areas zoned for business).

New Law Will Require Outside Management of AirBnB-Style Operations

The main thrust of the new law is to require Airbnb-style operators have a contract with an outside management company which is a registered Minpaku business.

The “management company” under the new law is intended to refer to licensed real estate business operators and/or licensed hotel businesses which regularly provide leasing and/or real estate administrative services to private citizens and other companies dealing with the general public.

Such management companies will be obliged under the new law to perform background checks of guests, take care of complaints from neighbors, manage keys for the operator, take out casualty insurance, make sure building garbage rules are complied with, etc.

Under the new law, operators will be allowed to have guests stay for even just one night, and there are no zoning law restrictions. Accordingly, the government expects the new law will further stimulate regular citizens entering into agreements with private real estate management firms.

By: Jeff Wynkoop

Source: Nikkei Shinbun, March 15, 2016

Top photo: House in Osaka

For changes to the law since this article was posted, please see: Government to Lower Restrictions on AirBnB-Style Rentals in Japan, posted on August 8, 2016.

You may also be interested in: National Framework for AirBnB-Style Rentals Coming to Japan and Osaka Enacts Ordinance to Open Up AirBnB-Style Rentals

Photo Credit: m-louis .® via Flickr
  • Seadaddy66

    Huh, interesting, i would think about staying all over Japan if i could stay at AIRBNBs, which would make my trip much more affordardable than if i had to stay at hotels.

    • 3ddie

      I’ve done that, I stayed in many AirBnB’s all over JP, most were great, it’s great to know local people and it was my favorite experience.
      This is really a deterrent for tourism.

  • Milton D Beattie

    So basically SCREW the regular citizen and their rights unless they give all their profit and chance to make it to BIG BUSINESS!!!


    • Mark

      For sure, Japan is not a real democracy. It never was!
      The Japanese system works in a way that theoretically encourage small businesses and entrepreneurship but in reality the bureaucracy and regulations make it IMPOSSIBLE for the average citizen to succeed. In the past Japan was controlled by Samurai clans, who although were greatly admired, took advantage over the average citizens, farmers , fishermen, ect…
      Those clans -in particular the leaders- were enjoying Kings life style while the average citizens farmers were very poor and were still requested to always fulfil the needs of the clans.
      Today? Nothing really changed! Just that instead of Samurai clans Japan is controlled by large corporations such as MITSUI which will literally help create the laws which will always work in their own favour.
      The Japanese system works in a way that does not encourage their citizen to think on their own. People are encouraged to follow the society and never be the “nail who stick out”. People are not encouraged to dream big, they are encouraged to dream whats suits for “society” (which is really whatever suits for the 5% who control this country). In the west, school encourage students to think on their own and challenge what they learn. Even challenge the teacher. In Japan it is unheard of that the student will ever challenge the teacher. Whatever the teacher teach you is equal to whatever god himself will teach you. It is not questionable. This is why Japanese people are luck of creativity, they never think out of the box, they never think on their own. They will think whatever society will encourage them to think. They been trained this way all their life. This is why even that Japan as a country is very rich, the average Japanese person live in very poor western standards. Small apartments, crowded trains, cheap obento, long working hours etc… The “monarchy” created this situation and trained people from the age of 0 never to question it. Always to accept things as they are. This is why this “monarchy” doesn’t like forigners because they may show the light to their average citizens and that is not what they want. Japan is offcially democracy, they have to because it was part of their sorrounder agreement with the US. But In reality Japanese thinking is closer to North Korea. Blind obedience of the law without-ever questioning it.

  • HvacNews

    Protecting neighborhoods from people ignorant of things like proper waste management.

  • PeterParkour

    I have done Airbnb in Japan ever since people started putting their property on the site. It is essentially one of the best ways to live in Japan. The constraints of hotels and even hostels have put me off from wanting to go that route these days.

  • Román D. Sanz

    Milton, since when regular citizens has rights in Japan?

  • Mark

    The new regulations only meant to serve Big organisations, Real Estate and property management companies. Airbnb was originally meant for the average person to be able to rent out his apartment for few extra buck and at the same time make traveler feel at home. But in Japan, the big companies, can not see anyone makes money other than themselves.

    A friend of my purchased an apartment in Minato ku- mainly for purpose of being able to rent it out, short and long term. As soon as he and several more apartment owners started to operate airbnb, the Property Management company MITSUI FUDOSAN, sent letters to all citizen of the building encouraging them to vote against short term stay in this particular building (even in case that the local council will approve it for the area in the future). Claiming the typical thing which will scare all Japanese people…. for “security reasons”.
    This company is taking advantage of its power as a Property Management and the ignorance and fear of the average person in order to create rules and regulations in their own favour.
    Here are several reasons why those sort of “voting” should be illegal:

    1- To start with, 95% percent of the votes somehow always going in the Property Management suggestions. There are many reason for that * many citizens not feeling comfortable voting against, * they may only hear one side of the story and will not realise that it may not work really work in their favour as apartment owners, *Many of the apartment owners never even get to see those voting notes and without their voting there is automatically postive vote in their name for the Property management suggestions.

    2- Those so called *Property management” companies has serious conflict of interest. Take Mitsui Fudosan for example, Mitsui Fudosan is linked to Mitusi Hotels companies, the company running hotels! AIRBNB is direct competitor to hotels so off course the company will discourage airbnb.
    Moreover, in the particular example I specified above, Mitusi is operating in the next building short term serviced apartments rentals. How is it possible for them to call for votes against airbnb operations while they themselves operating something similar in the next building (shared lobby!)??

    Recently I have heard something really horrible!
    Property Management companies “pushing out” of their managing building airbnb operators, and then few months later, a linked company to this same property management company is operating airbnb out of the exactly same units! Basically the property management are pushing people out and then take over those apartments (probably encourage the owners to rent directly to them instead of this “person who break the building laws”) for there exact same purpose.

    I wonder when / if ever the average citizen will fight back for their rights versus those gigantic corporations which literally controlling every piece of this country.

    • Sh*t up already ! You probably sub-let your flat to some Chinese and don’t pay tax at the end of the year.
      It was only to be expected that a crackdown would come.

      • Mark

        It’s funny that a guy that disguise himself as “Mr Chu” mind the Chinese so much. Just say that you are Japanese property management ass hole that realized that the good old days of taken advantage of the common Japanese people are coming to an end.
        I really hope that the government will realized how corrupted you guys are. And if they will not, the rest of the world will.

        Go fuck

        • Marky boy is starting a revolution here…
          Yeah !

          • Mark

            Me and 1,000 others. This is the end of your regime!

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  • Mark James Hill

    so real estate companies and large hotels win out again- its racketeering and a monopoly which s how all sectors of Japanese business runs. there are cartels like entertainment, electronics, car manufacturing etc. I understand regulation but fuck you. if I want to rent a room out in my house that I own fuck off! im going to do it. get a fucking warrant. its private property. If i am renting an apartment well thats a different matter all together.

  • Mark James Hill

    I wonder if AirBNB has lawyers to deal with this sort of BS.

  • Mark James Hill

    hotels you have to pay per person. AirBNB gives you a whole apartment or house and some pet friendly for the price of 1 persons stay.

  • cubix626

    As an avid user of Airbnb travelling both overseas and in Japan, I can understand the frustrations that the people here describe regarding the vacation rental (minpaku) laws in Japan. However, now that I have worked for over 3 months at a management company that uses Airbnb, I ask the angry foreigners here to reconsider. To be honest the amount of people who host on Airbnb and other sites like HomeStay almost almost definitely get away with not getting a license from the hotel law restrictions. Mostly the claims come from the neighborhood, from everyday people living in the same building or nearby. Also it is not mentioned in this article, but there ARE websites that help you apply for a license so you can host as individual without being in a special economic zone. Mainly the license consists of very important safety checks from the fire department, and a one time fee, usually around 20,000 yen. It is ridiculous to see generalized baseless accusations against Japanese society or the government, such as big businesses first, when clearly SMEs make up over 90% of all Japanese companies. Also please don’t put real estate companies and hotels and such together. 99% of the time, owners of houses contact us and sign with us to help rent their homes out on Airbnb, so essentially these houses are still owned by individuals.

    • Mark

      Cubix I don’t know what is your employer selling you but you are very wrong. 95% of the complains against Airbnb in japan do not start from the tenants living in the neighborhoods. They start with the bldg management “educating” the tenants and encouraging them to complain and vote against it for “their own benefits” I know that because I am an owner of an apartment managed by Mitsui Fudosan and 2 months after we purchased the property we already received a letter encouraging us and the rest of the owners to vote against it, claiming that it will cause “disturbance for the neighborhood” and “potential security issues”.
      The license you are talking about is not that simple to get and it is still not clear if it is possible to get this license when your own bldg regulations are against it.
      As in regards to owners asking real estates to manage their Airbnb apartments. This is in fact part of the problem. Real estate agents should be forbidden by law to do Airbnb for their tenants. This is not the purpose of the sharing economy.
      This way they are blocking apartments from being offered to the general market. A friend of my used to rent apartment in australia and do sub let -with owner consent-when going on business trips overseas. This is good utilization of the apartment, this is sharing economy. However, in japan, there is no chance that someone can get owner consent through real estate agent because the real estate will block him from even making an offer to the owner. Real estate companies such as your own are taking advantage of their position to control the Airbnb market. They will never introduce a potential tenant to apartment owner if the tenant indicates in advance that he want sub let permission. Because they will want to take every Airbnb style apartment and run it themselves. There are serious conflicts of interest in here.
      i will never let real estate in japan manage my apartment on the prinicipal of how greedy and unfair they are.

      What is even more upsetting is that in many cases bldg managements are pushing out rental tenants who occasionally sub letting their apartments when not using it and after that they are taking over the apartments themselves and getting owner consent for themselves to do Airbnb style.

      But this issues will not continue forever. At the end the government will realize the problem and will act against those Bldg managements Maria.

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  • Distant Calm

    This is bullshit. They have just pretty much made it impossible to run a business on Airbnb. The Japanese government is fucking crooked. Classic Japanese business style all the different layers want cuts for doing nothing. Fuck Japan. Time to leave.