Before I was totally ready to visit Japan, and before buying that plane ticket, I wanted to research accommodations first to see where I would/could stay, how much it would cost, and how convenient or comfortable it could be. It was important that I didn’t spend too much on places to stay, and also be able to have my own private space. So, with that in mind I began looking at my options. Western hotels were right out. I could stay at a western hotel here in the US so why would I want to do that on an adventure to Japan!? This was a celebration! I really wanted to stay in a traditional ryokan, even if just for few nights. However, the prices were especially too high for me (more about what I did spend below). Shared rooms were brought to my attention as a super cheap option, but I wasn’t really into the whole dorm room situation.
Luckily, I found out about Airbnb (not sponsored by the way, haha.) right around the time I decided to go ahead book my plane ticket while they were cheap. I was able to search for places that were both really cheap and private all over Japan. I was really excited to experience living in actual Japanese homes, with a room or place all to myself, and kind of pretend like I lived there!
Before I found Airbnb I was planning just on staying in Tokyo for the whole month. Once I saw it was easy to find living options all over Japan I decided to visit Kyoto and Osaka as well. I researched, contacted, lost out, and researched some more until I finally found the four places I present to you! So feel free to join me as I share my experiences using Airbnb to vacation in Japan! Please enjoy video above, and read info about what I spent and the pros and cons I experienced below! If you would like to book your stay at any of the featured places please message me for the links!
Stay – 1 night
- Easy to get to from Haneda Airport.
- Literally right next to JR Station, which was perfect for trekking back and forth with luggage. I personally like ambient “city sounds”, it’s oddly comforting. Also Japanese train aren’t too loud and the stations play the cutest music!
- Really clean and cozy space with an aircon!
- Private amenities (washer, wifi, bathroom, and kitchen).
- The only negative I experienced was an occurrence which reasons will forever be shrouded in mystery. While I was brushing my teeth the next morning I heard someone or something knock intensely on the door. It initially startled me, but then thought that maybe it was the owner, who I had yet to meet. So I rushed to the door and looked through the peephole to see nobody there! I’ll never know if it was a person or not, if I was making too much noise brushing my teeth or if something just bumped my door. I’ll never know! AAAAH!
Stay – 6 nights
- Host was really kind, helpful and cool. I had a lot of fun practicing my awful Japanese with him. He also played Aslatua!
- One thing that was at the top of my “must do” list was to sleep on a futon in a tatami mat room. Here I got to do exactly that!
- The house and my room was really beautiful.
- Right outside historic and beautiful Arashiyama and close to other popular landmarks in Kyoto.
- Met people from around the world!
- Even though I wasn’t able to go, it’s really close to Tenshi no Sato!
- Also close to train station.
- Post Office right next door.
- Short walk away from an awesome izakaya.
- Being shy and sharing a living space with strangers is hard! Haha!
- Stressed about making too much noise.
Stay – 4 nights
- Really affordable.
- Short walk from the train station.
- Post Office around the block.
- 24 hour grocery store and 711 right outside my door. Food places all around!
- Very lovely and kind owners who spoke English quite well! They helped me anytime I had questions, especially about the complicated garbage system, and spoke about living in Japan and the US.
- Private kitchen, bathroom, and washer with a balcony to hang my clothes!
- The house was a bit spooky to be in alone.
- Aircon only in kitchen/living area, so where I slept was a bit stuffy, but not too bad once I figured out how to open the window.
- Hard time figuring out how to open the window. LOL.
Stay – 21 nights
- The owner was a grandpa and grandma who were incredibly kind and accommodating. I got to meet the family for dinner, and we even went to the museum together then we later talked about learning kanji. It was great being able to spend a longer time with my host.
- Really cool space saving apartment, literally and figuratively (super aircon for just one room)!
- The apartment was clean and comfortable.
- Restaurants, grocery stores, and cobini all around (Coco Curry was a couple blocks away!).
- Located in the middle of two close train stations on the Seibu Ikebukuro line. Really easy to get anywhere by train.
- Post Office on the way to train station.
- 3 miles from Nakano Broadway!
- I had my own kitchen, bathroom, aircon, and a tv.
- Met my first Japanese cockroach.
- Shared washer and didn’t have a lot of space to hang dry clothes.
1 Month Accommodation Total Cost = $937!
Total Overall Experience = Very Positive!
I think I was successful in keeping the cost down to a reasonable one. It was pretty similar to a months rent here in NJ. I wish I could have gone cheaper; but since I wanted to visit the most popular prefectures, and stay close as possible to my planned destinations, there had to be a give and take with the available options. For example, there were some places I found for only $500-$700 a month, but they were really far away from the heart of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. I’d then have to pay a lot more in transportation. I think I found a good middle ground with these four places (some prices have gone up since I visited). What do you think about the price? How did I do?
I’m definitely most happy about my experiences with all four places. Each one was special and exciting, and there were barely any negatives. You saw my “cons”, they weren’t even that conny. Conny is not a word… it is a name. Anywayward son, my time in these places, meeting wonderful people and adventuring around Japan makes me excited to go back again. And I hope this helps inform and inspire anyone who has dreams to go to a distant land that they can do it! Thanks for reading!
Photos in this post provided by Google and Airbnb.