A restored traditional town house (machiya) in Kyoto

Vacation rentals, also known as holiday rentals, are furnished houses or apartments that can be rented by tourists on a temporary basis, sometimes as short as one night. They include a wide range of properties from modern apartments in the heart of Shinjuku to traditional, restored machiya town houses in Kyoto's Gion District. Vacation rentals make an attractive alternative to hotels, especially for larger groups, families or those who seek a more local, everyday life experience.

In addition to the amenities found at hotels, such as beds, showers and toilets, vacation rentals also typically include a kitchen, a washing machine and a living room. Many also supply basic household items such as cooking utensils, dishes, spices, soap and occasionally bicycles. However, unlike at a hotel, you will also need to take care of chores such as grocery shopping and garbage disposal.

Bedroom with Japanese style futon beds in a modern style house

Vacation rentals are a burgeoning industry in Japan. The majority of rental properties are found in Tokyo, Kyoto and Niseko. While some are individually owned and operated, others are managed by companies that may have several locations in a city. Many of them cater exclusively to foreign guests and often provide an English speaking contact to check you in, orient you to the neighborhood and provide you with information on sightseeing spots and local tours.

There is a lot of variation between different properties, and both traditional Japanese style and Western style accommodations are available. Vacation rentals typically sleep between 2-4 adults, but larger properties are also available. As expected, prices vary a lot depending on the type and location of the property, but they tend to start from around 10,000 to 15,000 yen per night for two guests. Most properties have a minimum nights stay, usually from 3-5 nights. A cleaning fee is also usually charged.

Modern kitchen and living space
Page last updated: December 14, 2015