Property Rental Options During the Tokyo Olympics

Lodging market in Japan has diversified but still cannot meet the demand

Arial view of Tokyo cityscape
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As the event gets closer, Japan is still trying hard to cope with its major concern: how to deal with the number of people that will come to see the Olympics? On the one hand, many businesses will profit from all the tourists that plan to come to Japan and especially Tokyo. For example, Malaysian tourists are predominantly Muslims are will be looking for halal dining options.

However, regardless of their destination within Japan and food preferences, they all will have to stay somewhere, and Japan is still trying to come up with the solutions. This article gives a brief overview of the property rental options in Tokyo during the Olympics.

Airbnb Japan

While present at the market, one of the most popular lodging options faces great difficulties in Japan. The core of the problem is the Minpaku Law that regulates private lodging industry in Japan. Short- and mid-term rentals within a private sector used to be a poorly coordinated area. Airbnb faced a very cold welcome and many misfortunes on their way to establishing their presence in Japan.

Mitsui Fudosan charges JPY 50,000 (nearly USD 460) per night at their Halekulani hotel in Okinawa.

Lately, Airbnb has stabilized its position and even created competition to traditional hotels that are still dominating the market. Staying in the hotel is definitely a safer option with great services. Yet, it comes with a price tag. Airbnb is far more attractive money-wise but might bear more risks.

Rakuten Vacation Stay

After the crackdown on Airbnb properties forcing them to remove the majority of registered lodgings from the platform in 2018, there was a niche that had to be filled. This gap created by the Minpaku Law between legality and affordability of stay helped Rakuten to enter the lodging market.

It has joined forces with Booking.com in 2017 to create a Vacation Stay platform that would offer checked legal accommodation from such known providers as Expedia, HomeAway, AsiaYo from Taiwan and Tujia from China.

Hotels

This is the most traditional option, yet the most controversial. While some people would rather save money and stay at Airbnb or Vacation Stay, there is also a cluster of consumers who would go in the opposite direction and aim for options that are more expensive.

Some real estate companies are betting on the luxury hotels for Westerners. For example, Mitsui Fudosan charges JPY 50,000 (nearly USD 460) per night at their Halekulani hotel in Okinawa, which is a minimum charge among 360 available rooms. So far it is mainly booked by the Japanese tourists. However, occupancy rates among foreigners should go up to 30% of the total amount.

About 8,000 new hotel rooms will be built in Japan by 2020. However, even these rooms will not be enough. Japan will need additional 3,500 rooms. Partially, this demand can be satisfied with the rural accomodations.

Hyakusenrenma – rural lodgings in Japan

While not exactly what one may be looking for during the Olympics, Hyakusenrenma might be an answer for cheap accommodation if you are willing to travel a bit further, beyond the cities. This a less know lodging platform focuses on rural homes and has about 2,000 rooms available for rent.

The tourists can buy passes to get access to these rooms for a week, two, or three. Unlike the above-mentioned hotel, a week-long stay at the Hyakurenma properties will cost about JPY 39,000. The question is, how many tourists will choose to use it?

 

"Otsumami" - a bite size snack:

There are at least four lodging options to choose from, but one should book fast.

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Written by Viktoriya Kuzina

Likes business in Japan and helping entrepreneurs become successful.

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