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 Tokyo Airbnbs that convey Japanese lifestyles, culture and architecture in unique ways (while still being reasonably priced).
Pro tip: Also check out our list of budget-friendly Tokyo Airbnb picks.
Try these unusual Airbnbs in Tokyo
Please note that our photos are not of the properties—just pockets of the city you might explore and examples of traditional Japanese decor.
1. The ultimate traditional meets modern
This superhost rents out a sparkling clean traditional Japanese room—with nights starting from only ¥1,214. Cleaning and service fees are also extremely reasonable, making this a true bargain and a truly Japanese experience. You will be sleeping on tatami and a futon, but the bathroom and toilet are thankfully adjusted to modern Japan. The location is super central too, in Meguro, a stone’s throw from Shibuya. Maximum two guests. See it on Airbnb.
2. Rooftop bath
This compact top-floor studio is not only a great representation of modern Japanese interiors, it comes with an unusual 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 easy access to Asakusa, Ueno and the Skytree itself. It sleeps one to three people from ¥5,000 per night. See it on Airbnb.
3. 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 ¥14,000 per night. Maximum five guests. See it on Airbnb.
4. 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.
5. 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. Minimum two-night stay. See it on Airbnb.
6. 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 can accommodate two guests, and prices start at ¥6,786 per night. Note that this rental has a 28-night minimum stay—so it’s ideal if you’re going to be spending a month in Tokyo. See it on Airbnb.
While we do our best to ensure accuracy, details—including prices—may vary. This post was last updated on September 15, 2020.