When Airbnb first started out, for many it was a way to find a bed that didn’t cost an arm and a leg—especially in a city like Tokyo, which is notorious for tiny and overpriced hotel rooms. Nowadays, Airbnb has become synonymous with an authentic travel experience. Here, we round up 7 Airbnbs for you that convey typical Japanese lifestyles and architecture in unique ways.
Pro tip: You can also check out our list of budget-friendly Tokyo Airbnb picks.
Try these unusual Airbnbs in Tokyo
1. 1920s Mingei house
Mingei was a Japanese folk art movement that developed in the late 1920s and 1930s. Its founding father was Yanagi Sōetsu. He discovered beauty in everyday ordinary and utilitarian objects created by nameless and unknown craftsmen.
This Ikebukuro apartment, with wooden floors and traditional sliding paper doors and windows, will transport you back into this time with its simple yet stunning decorations and coffee-table books on the movement.
The space is additionally adorned with plants in every room, giving it a nice, green feel. Only seven minutes from Ikebukuro Station, it is in a very central location. This space sleeps one to three people, with the price currently fixed at ¥13,000/night, no matter the number of guests. There is a minimum two-night stay. See it on Airbnb.
2. The teahouse
Or how about staying at a former Japanese teahouse? The entire building was lovingly remodeled by the host to function as an abode for guests. Complete with a small Japanese garden, cypress wood bath, and all the ikebana flower arrangement, Japanese paper umbrellas, kimonos and katana swords you could dream of as decorative elements.
It’s located a bit remotely in Itabashi Ward, but the area has convenient train connections to the city center. It also offers ample green spaces in the form of parks and temples, as well as local shopping and restaurants for those who prefer a quieter base to explore from. It sleeps up to seven people (for ¥35,214/night) or just one for ¥12,999 per night. See it on Airbnb.
3. Rooftop bath
This compact top-floor studio is not only a great representation of modern Japanese interiors, it comes with quite a unique feature: an open-air rooftop bath. The wooden bath is embedded into a minimalistic pebble and stone garden and offers views of Tokyo Skytree. Located away from the city center in Hikifune, the north-eastern part of Tokyo, it falls outside the Yamanote Line. But you have close access to Asakusa, Ueno and the Skytree itself. It sleeps one to three people for ¥9,350 to ¥12,350 per night. See it on Airbnb.
4. Temple lodging in central Tokyo
Spending a night in a temple is an experience that travelers usually find in Kyoto and Mt. Koya, but this Airbnb makes it possible right in the middle of Tokyo. Located close to Shinagawa Station on the Yamanote Line, access to the city as well as the Shinkansen is convenient. The accommodation is traditional, with Buddhist paintings adding to the minimalist Japanese style. The highlight is without doubt the house temple and altar. From ¥17,000 per night. See it on Airbnb.
5. The homestay experience
This little, simple apartment is a good representation of what normal life in Japan is like for most people. What makes it special though is that the hosts live in the same building, upstairs, and are very happy to interact with their guests from all around the world. They offer a number of cultural experiences, like calligraphy and kimono wearing (for a small extra fee) and during the warmer months of the year are happy to have breakfast or chat with you in their charming rooftop garden.
It also comes with a pocket wifi to take around with you and the cost is extremely reasonable at ¥3,800 yen/night for single travelers and ¥5,600 yen/night for pairs. Located at Keisei Takasago, it is about halfway between Narita Airport and the city. See it on Airbnb.
6. Room with an urban view
This room offers an interesting experience, somewhere between Blade Runner and an eco lodge. A tiny, wooden room on the 10th floor, one wall is entirely made up of large windows that offer a perfect view of Shinjuku’s urban cityscape. The wood-paneled walls give a warm and comfy feel to the room. The bathroom is shared with other guests, so it does have a bit of a hostel feel to it, though. It’s located super centrally right in Shinjuku. For one guest only, from ¥5,980 per night. See it on Airbnb.
7. Kumamon’s home (for long stays)
Kumamon, Kumamoto Prefecture’s official mascot, is one of the most popular Japanese mascots. This Airbnb host offers a clean and spacious apartment located right by Ikebukuro Station on the Yamanote Line—and it is completely decked out in Kumamon bedlinen, towels, pillows, cushions, tablewear and of course Kumamon plush toys. This black, red and white fantasy-land fits up to four guests and prices start at ¥6,500 per night for a single traveler. Four people can share the space for ¥11,900. Note this rental has a 28-night minimum stay. See it on Airbnb.
While we do our best to ensure accuracy, details may vary. This post was last updated on November 4, 2019.
There are certain times in the year that can make your visit to Tokyo less than idea.