When it comes to travel planning, home sharing sites like Airbnb can offer globetrotters the opportunity to design a stay unlike any other. With a wide selection and variety of price points, home rentals make it easy to discover a one-of-a-kind experience. Maybe you’re up for some stylish urban “glamping” in a tricked-out Airstream? Or a summer weekend spent in a former 19th century silk mill (now a gracious country home) that’s surrounded by local onsen options? Let’s just say that these live-like-a-local options are sure to lend extra inspiration to those dreaming about a trip to Japan. Read on for some top picks to get you started.
Location: Chiyoda, Tokyo
Stay in one of two stylish rooms designed by a Tokyo artists’ collective comprised of several fine art painters, a tattoo artist, photographer, videographer and DJ – all part of Tokyo’s vibrant art scene (“stay in an art piece, support an artist,” reads the listing’s description).
Located in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood, an area that has recently grown to become a vibrant center for manga and anime culture, the apartment rental includes daily housecleaning and fresh towel changes. A co-working space on the ground floor is available for guests to use, and regular events with local creators also take place there.
Location: Minato, Tokyo
For travelers looking for an urban adventure, look no further than the Caravan Hotel, a renovated silver Airstream camper set in the middle of downtown Tokyo. With just room enough for two, the interior might be intimate, but the ambience is anything but. The Caravan is parked near a public gathering space, complete with food trucks, so guests can grab a bite and meet new people. No need to worry about getting enough beauty sleep though — the venue closes at 8:30 p.m. so you will wake up feeling fresh and ready for a day of exploration.
Location: Kisami, Shimoda
Loved by divers, Shimoda is a small coastal town on the Izu peninsula known for its natural attractions — from hot springs and beaches to hiking trails and more. This light and airy beach house looks like a Spanish villa (the building materials were brought over from Spain) and overlooks the bright blue sea. It sleeps four guests — but with the beautiful terrace, everyone will want to spend all of their time outside.
Looking for a personal yoga retreat just about an hour outside of Tokyo? This funky seaside property includes a red cedar house along with a 24-foot yurt in the back yard (let your hosts know in advance that you’d like to schedule a yoga class and an instructor will be arranged). With its lush greenery and view of the waves crashing on the reef, guests will feel lightyears away from the bustle of the city. The spacious property also includes an outdoor hot tub and cabana.
This 134-year-old renovated Japanese “art house” nestled in the mountains of central Japan was used as a silk mill back in the 19th century. Today, arrayed with traditional tatami mats and sliding screen doors, it boasts plenty of character and also lots of space: the home sleeps 15, making it perfect for a large group. Nestled among rolling hills and local hot springs, visitors will be sure to enjoy the peace and quiet of Japan’s countryside. Cooking classes may also be arranged in advance, so that you can go home knowing how to prepare homemade udon noodles (using local pollen) and tempura made with vegetables picked on the property.
*Photos courtesy of Airbnb