Back at the end of October 2018, I went on the trip of a lifetime to Japan for two weeks with my boyfriend and our two friends. Our friends had been to Japan previously the year before and had sworn by Airbnb’s so we decided to do the same thing again. We stayed in three different accommodations whilst travelling around Japan so I’ll be reviewing each of them separately.
If you’re not familiar with what Airbnb is, it’s a website that enables private home owners rent out their properties to travelers. We found that using Airbnb saved us a large amount of money accommodation wise as hotels can get ridiculously expensive, particularly in Tokyo. Whereas with a hotel it’s usually a per person cost, you’re paying to rent out the property as a whole so when you’re travelling with a group and splitting it between yourselves, it works out a lot more cost effective based upon our experience.
The first Airbnb we stayed in was located in Osaka and was only a couple of minutes’ walk away from a metro station which was ideal for us. We were travelling out to lots of different places each day so we needed accessible places more than anything else throughout our time in Japan. We landed in Japan around 8am in the morning but our check-in wasn’t until the afternoon, however the owner of our accommodation very kindly said that we could drop off our suitcases if we wished. This was really helpful as it meant that we didn’t have to waste a day not doing much because of being weighed down by baggage.
By the time we got to the Airbnb on the afternoon after a long day of walking around a lot of shops, all I needed was a comfortable bed to refuel my energy. The beds definitely did not disappoint, they were super comfortable with plenty of pillows and blankets supplied. The property was quite narrow but most houses in Japan tend to be quite small anyway and we were only staying for 3 nights so we didn’t need anything massive anyway. I probably would’ve struggled spending the whole two weeks there but it was perfect for what we needed.
The Airbnb was also really nearby to a couple of convenience stores so we were able to very easily purchase meals, drinks and snacks during our stay. The property was modern-looking and absolutely spotless, stocked up with everything you would need such as a hairdryer, washing machine and dryer, plenty of towels and toiletries. There was even a tray set out in the kitchen with different options of hot drinks which I was over the moon about. An air conditioner and heater was available in order to adjust the temperature to our liking and we were also given WiFi access during our stay. There’s honestly nothing I can fault about our stay here; our host was very easy to contact and incredibly polite and helpful. I’d definitely recommend this property to anyone visiting Osaka.
The second city we traveled to was Kyoto where we stayed for 3 nights again. This property was also very conveniently placed nearby to a large supermarket as well as a metro station. It was a little hard to find to begin with whilst dragging our suitcases as there’s quite a few side streets you have to find your way around. Once we’d got our bearings a little better though, it wasn’t so much of an issue. When we arrived, the host had left us each a green tea Kit Kat which I thought was a very thoughtful gesture.
One of the main reasons I wanted to stay here was because it’s a traditional Japanese home (minka) complete with sliding doors, washi Japanese paper walls and tatami mat flooring. This is something that I really wanted to experience in our time in Japan. Although there were things I didn’t like, there were definitely positives as well. The beds were traditional Japanese futons which I actually found really cosy at first but my back started to disagree with me after a couple of nights (I’m actually an old woman). I don’t think I could have done it for a whole two weeks but I appreciated getting to experience it.
The house also felt a little chilly at first, almost like there was a draft coming from somewhere but they had heating available which quickly solved the issue. One other nit-picky issue was that the stairs were very steep and there wasn’t a handrail to hold whilst going down – definitely don’t attempt these in fluffy socks, that’s all I’m saying.
Aside from the small minor issues, I thoroughly enjoyed staying here. Our host was great at communicating with us and making us feel welcome. The property was spotless once again and we had everything we needed in terms of toiletries, clothes washing supplies, towels etc. I loved all of the traditional Japanese decorations throughout the home, in particular a canvas of a cherry blossom tree in one of the bedrooms. It definitely felt very cosy and homely.
This property also reminds me of one of my favourite memories from our trip as it’s a very short walk to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. We decided to go on a late night walk when it was dark and raining and it looked absolutely stunning at night with the front all lit up, it was great to be so close to something so beautiful. If you do ever visit Kyoto then I would definitely recommend staying here as the value for money was incredible.
To begin with, our stay in Tokyo was my biggest worry as the host messaged us to say there was a last minute issue. The property that we had originally booked to stay in for the rest of our time in Japan in its capital city was no longer available. He explained that some disrespectful guests had stayed and created a lot of noise to the point there were complaints in the neighborhood, which resulted in him no longer being able to host the property as an Airbnb.
I was panicking that we wouldn’t have anywhere to go but then the host went on to explain that he’s renting out a new property very soon and that we could be the first people to stay there. We actually ended up getting a bit of an upgrade as this was a bigger property that would be rented out for more money than we had spent on the original place. I was a little apprehensive as to whether we would like it as much as the other place was stunning but we were not disappointed at all. This actually ended up being my favourite place to stay out of the three.
The property was absolutely huge for a Japanese home; there were two living rooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a bathroom with a separate toilet room and three bedrooms – the house could sleep 10+ people at full capacity. The highlight for me was definitely the upstairs living room which had two large and extremely comfortable sofas along with a TV that had access to movies. As we spent the majority of our time in Japan here, it was important for it to be homely and to be able to chill out here so this ticked all right the boxes.
The beds were ridiculously comfortable, even more so than my own at home. I completely fell in love with this house, I found it pretty hard to part with it at the end of our stay if I’m honest. It had absolutely everything we needed; although originally I was really worried about being moved to a different Airbnb, I reckon it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us. The location was almost perfect as well, the only downside was that we had to get an additional tube to travel to most places due to the location change but this wasn’t a major issue. The area was actually really lovely, there were plenty of restaurants, convenience stores and even a drugstore within a few minutes’ walk. I couldn’t recommend this place any higher, I would 110% stay here again given the chance.
If you are interested in booking an Airbnb for any upcoming trips you might have planned, I have a referral link which will save you £25 across your whole booking. Please note that when you book through my referral code, I also receive Airbnb travel credit for referring you. Click here if you wish to redeem the discount.
Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb?