9 of the Most Unusual Airbnbs in Tokyo

Mareike Dornhege

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 9 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.

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Try these unusual Airbnbs in Tokyo

unusual airbnb tokyo japanese garden
Traditional gardens are one of the big drawcards of Japan. | Photo by brackenm used under CC

1. The traditional garden

If you want to be transported right into Edo Japan the moment you land at Narita Airport, this Airbnb is for you. Located close to the larger of Tokyo’s two international airports, this 60 sqm abode is quite spacious for Japan. It is a traditional Japanese house and sleeps up to six people on tatami and futons.

The space is aptly decorated with katana swords, Japanese paintings, pottery and ikebana flower arrangements, making your experience a complete one. The bedroom has views of a picture-perfect Japanese garden, letting you wake up in Zen mode. The hosts like to interact with their guests and offer a yukata (summer kimono) wearing and tea ceremony experience for a reasonable extra cost of ¥3,000.

This house is located about halfway between Narita Airport and Oshiage train stations. Costs per night vary from ¥3,900 for one to ¥16,400 for six people, making it a reasonable choice for your first or last night in Japan, to or from the airport. See it on Airbnb.

2. 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 ¥14,000/night, no matter the number of guests. There is a minimum two-night stay. See it on Airbnb.

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3. The designer house

While the thought of Japanese architecture might evoke images of paper sliding doors and tatami rooms, modern Japanese houses are equally stunning. Think exposed concrete walls, simple geometrical lines and extremely well-utilized small spaces all orchestrated into an ultra-modern home. If you want to experience what it would feel like living in one, stay at this small designer house close to Shinjuku.

Located only a few minutes walk from Koenji Station, this small house exhibits all the features described above and is built up over several levels and loft spaces to make the most of the small plot of Tokyo inner-city land it was conceived on. It sleeps up to six people and the costs varies from ¥12,500 per night for one to ¥23,700 per night for full capacity. Your hosts are a young family who are happy to offer a discount to those traveling with kids. See it on Airbnb.

4. The teahouse

unusual airbnb tokyo teahouse interior
The interiors of Japanese teahouses are simple and aesthetically pleasing | Photo by Pamla J. Eisenberg used under CC

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 ¥25,153 per night. See it on Airbnb.

5. 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.

6. 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 ¥7,300 per night. See it on Airbnb.

7. 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.

8. Room with an urban view

shinjuku neon unusual airbnb
Shinjuku’s trademark, its neon lights. | Photo by Kevin Poh used under CC

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.

9. Kumamon’s home (for long stays)

airbnb tokyo unusual airbnbs
Kumamon—probably the most popular Japanese mascot. | Photo by othree used under CC

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.

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Filed under: Places to stay
Tags: Accommodation, Airbnb, Homestay, Places To Stay, Sleeping, Tokyo Accommodation, Tourists, Unusual, Vacation Rental
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