Responsible hosting in Japan
We’ve put together this article to help hosts on Airbnb become familiar with hosting responsibilities, and to provide a general overview of different laws, regulations, and best practices that may affect hosts. You’re required to follow our guidelines, like our Hosting Standards, and to make sure that you follow the laws and other rules that apply to your specific circumstances and locale.
We recommend that you do your own research as this article isn’t comprehensive, and doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. Also, as we don’t update this article in real time, please check each source and make sure that the information provided hasn’t recently changed.
Table of contents
Health and cleanliness
As COVID-19 spreads throughout communities, proper cleaning and disinfection has become more important than ever before. With this in mind, Airbnb has announced a new and enhanced cleaning guide for hosts.
On top of that, we recommend hosts to clean and disinfect listings in accordance with the hygienic standards set forth in the Hotels and Inns Business Act, Housing and Lodging Business Act, and Special Zoning Act (Private Lodging in Special Administrative Zones) and to clean adequately so guests can feel comfortable and safe during their stay. Below are some helpful links for hosts in Japan.
If you have any questions, please consult the local health center or other health authority in the jurisdiction where your listing is located.
Helpful links - Information about cleaning and disinfection from the Japanese government and public authorities
- The Cabinet Secretariat's Office for Novel Coronavirus Disease Control
- Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, About the Novel Coronavirus Disease
- Infectious Diseases Act Disinfection and Sterilization Handbook Tuberculosis and Infectious Diseases Control Division, Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare
- Guidelines for Novel Coronavirus Disease Control in Accommodations (1st Edition) Authored by the National Ryokan and Hotel Environmental Health Association, Japan Ryokan and Hotel Association, and Japan City Hotel Association, May 14, 2020 (Revised May 21, 2020)
- List of products containing surfactants effective against coronavirus (updated regularly) National Institute of Technology and Evaluation
Additional tips for the enhanced cleaning protocol
In the Airbnb Cleaning Handbook, we recommend washing linens on the highest heat setting possible. However, not all washing machines available in Japan have the features needed for high heat washing. If your washing machine doesn't have this functionality, you can substitute chlorine or oxygen bleach.
Laws and regulations in Japan
It is important for you to have a good understanding of the laws and regulations applicable to you, when you decide to host through Airbnb. Here are some links to the information on laws and regulations in Japan which may require your attention. You can also find details about the Private Lodging Business Act at the Minpaku System Portal Site set up by the Japan Tourism Agency.
Here are some additional articles:
- Relevant Laws and Regulations in Japan
- Notification about the Private Lodging Business Act
- More about how the Japanese Hotel & Inns Act affects hosting on Airbnb
- Hosting in Kyoto
- Hosting in Osaka
If you have any questions or points you find unclear regarding applicability of laws, regulations, or other rules for you or your listing, we ask you to consult with the competent administrative agency or local government or seek professional legal advice.
License, permission, registration, notification, etc.
Inform yourself what sort of license and/or permissions are required by laws and regulations (including regulations concerning building standards as well as health and safety matters) applicable to you. You can find information on relevant laws and regulations in Japan above.
Taxes, contracts and other rules
Inform yourself in advance about relevant taxation such as income tax and consumption tax levied on turnover as well as accommodation tax in some cities. Ensure you have a thorough understanding of tax payment procedures (including filing of final return) as well. Read more about consumption tax.
If you have any questions and/or points you find unclear regarding applicability of tax laws and/or regulations, we kindly ask you to directly consult with the competent administrative agency or local government or to seek professional legal advice from certified tax accountant, etc.
Contracts between private individuals/entities
Contracts between private individuals/entities are different in nature from laws which govern the relationship between the state authority and you. Nevertheless, one of the most important aspects of responsible hosting is to abide by relevant contracts. If your listing is located in a condominium, you need to confirm, for example, that there is no provision in the condominium bylaws that explicitly prohibits hosting (it is possible that such a provision has been newly added). If your listing is not your own property but rented under a rental contract between private individuals/entities, you need to read the contract and examine if hosting is permitted under the contract. If it is not clearly stated in the contract, it is important to seek legal advice from a lawyer or to consult with the landlord.
Rules for public housing
If you live in a public or subsidized housing, there may be special rules that apply to you. The manager of the property may be able to answer questions about this.
If you have roommates, it is important to have an agreement in writing on such important matters as frequency of hosting, house rules, distribution of revenue, etc.
Contact information for emergency numbers (police, ambulance, firefighting, etc.)
Indicate, both in Japanese and in English, emergency numbers (police, ambulance and firefighting) as well as address and phone number of the nearest hospital. We advise you, for the sake of easy reference, to make a list that also includes information such as emergency contact number and back up number for the guest to reach you, how the guest should get in touch with you when he/she has a question or problem, etc. and visibly place the list in your room.
First aid kit
Provide a first aid kit and place it at an easy-to-find location.
Disaster prevention measures and display of escape routes
Ensure that automatic fire-alarm equipment or your home fire alarm device is appropriately functioning and that your listing meets all the safety standards (e.g., the Building Standards Act, the Fire Service Act, etc.) set forth by the competent local government. You need to perform all the legally required maintenance and inspections, such as keeping a functioning fire extinguisher always available. Depending on the structure and the size of your listing, you may need to install illumination devices for emergency. Clearly mark the escape routes and post the escape route plan in the property. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency has prepared and distributes a leaflet: Fire prevention and safety measures for private rental lodging service in four languages.
Regularly clean objects in your property which guests may touch in order to reduce risk of infections, etc. and to prevent mites, ticks, mold, etc. Some local governments organize training courses on hygiene. We encourage you to check with your local government, actively participate in such courses and gain further knowledge on public hygiene.
Your guests' privacy must be always respected. Personal information provided by the guests, for example, constitutes precious information that shall not be disclosed to third parties without good reason (There are exceptional cases where disclosure is permitted in accordance with provisions of laws and regulations.). If there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around your listing, explicit and "prior" disclosure of information about it to the guests is required.
With the size of your room in mind, establish safe occupancy limits so that guests can stay at ease. Such figures as minimum space required per guest (in square meter terms) stipulated in Japanese laws and regulations, such as the Inns and Hotels Act, may serve as a useful references for you.
Go through your home to identify any areas where guests might trip or fall. If there are any, you need to take measures such as removing the object that may cause tumbling, marking it clearly, etc. Consider such measures as installing railings along the stairs. It is also advisable to remove or lock up any objects that may cause injuries or harm to your guests.
If you expect children to stay in your listing, you need to thoroughly ensure that your property is safe for children, with particular risks for children (ex: stumbling, falling, burning) in mind. Marking in English may also be necessary. Be sure to take all necessary preventive measures and fully notify your guests (parents or guardians of the children) of potential hazards in advance.
Checking functionality of electricity, water supply, air conditioning, etc. in advance
It is also important to check the functionality of electricity, water supply, air conditioning, etc. in advance. First of all, make sure that they properly function. Mark (in English) the temperature control mechanism of the air conditioner and place the remote controller at an easy-to-find spot. If there are any stoves or any other kind of heaters, clearly communicate to the guests how to safely use them. If they require ventilation at certain regular intervals in order to prevent carbon monoxide intoxication, you need to take precautionary safety measures (including provision of necessary information in English) and to notify the guests that regular ventilation is necessary.
Being mindful of your neighbors
Your neighbors are important not only for you but also for your guests. Consider talking to your neighbors to share your plan to start hosting as well as your thoughts about preparation and measures you are going to take regarding the possible impacts on them and to hear their opinions about it.
At the same time, you should also ensure that your guests would not cause trouble for your neighbors by establishing and posting appropriate house rules.
Rules on shared space in the building
Make sure to inform your guests of rules regarding usage of shared space in your condominium or apartment block in advance. (If applicable, inform your guests that they cannot use certain facilities such as pool, gym, etc. or that there are restricted areas.) Take precautionary measures to prevent your guests causing trouble for your neighbors, including such measures as notifying your property managers and neighbors of your hosting in advance. Clearly communicate your room number to your guests, so that they would not mistakenly knock your neighbor's door. Marking your door is also advisable.
Ensure to sensitize your guests to noise issues, keeping in mind that living environment in Japan is generally more quiet than in other countries and that foreign guests may not share the same sensitivity to noise. Be aware that your guests may unintentionally cause discomfort among your neighbors by acts such as ringing the neighbor's doorbell at night to ask for directions at the time of check-in, causing noise early in the morning or late at night by dragging their suitcases, throwing out their garbage on a wrong day or without separation due to their ignorance of the rules, talking loudly at night, taking a shower late at night, etc.
It is also important that you make your own decision about potential causes of noise such as accepting small children and/or pets to stay, allowing the guests to hold parties, etc. If you allow your guests to hold parties, establish clear rules (party policy) on number of people your guests can invite to your listing and on time when holding parties is allowed and explicitly notify the guests of the rules.
Complaints from your neighbors
If you receive a complaint from your neighbor regarding an act of your guest, promptly get in touch with the guest by means of phone call, messaging, etc. to notify the guest of the complaint and to request a change for the better. If there are further complaints despite your previous advice, take swift action appropriate to the situation such as immediately going over to your listing.
Establishing house rules and obtaining prior consent from guests
One of the most simple and important means for you to fulfill your responsibility as a host is to establish house rules and thoroughly inform the guests about them. To avoid surprises, you may want to include, in your House Rules as part of your Airbnb listing profile, the rules you deem most appropriate after reviewing this page and further information covered above. By having access to thorough information on your house rules prior to making a reservation, guests are better equipped to know what to anticipate and to avoid conflicts.
Facilities in your listing
Provide manuals explaining how to use facilities in your listing in English and/or other appropriate language(s).
Other considerations (smoking, parking, pets and transportation)
If you do not allow smoking in your listing, it is advisable to post signs to remind guests. If you allow smoking, clearly specify the area(s) where smoking is permitted and have ashtrays available. If parking space is available, relay parking rules to your guest. If you allow pets, share with your guest information on locations of local parks and local customs (e.g., cleaning up after your dog). It is also advisable to have a back up plan such as the number of a pet hotel available.
Provide your guests with information in English and/or other appropriate language(s) on available transportation means.
Provide your guests also with such information as "address of your listing and how to get there written in Japanese" by means of messaging, etc., so that your guests can clearly communicate the address of your listing to taxi drivers. Depending on the location of your listing, there may be some particular local customary ways of explaining how to get to certain addresses. Please look into them in advance in order to make sure that your guests can arrive at your listing without problem.
Please inform yourself what insurance you should get to cover your building and/or room.
Basic coverage and liability
We recommend you to review your insurance policy (ex: tenants' liability endorsement) with your insurance carrier to make sure you have adequate coverage before you start hosting. Ensure you have adequate liability coverage as well as property protection.
Airbnb maintains Japan Host Insurance, which may provide coverage of up to ¥100,000,000 JPY, but please note that it does not take the place of fire insurance, homeowners’ insurance and/or earthquake insurance.
Other hosting information
For more information on how Airbnb works, visit our hosting FAQs.
Please note that Airbnb has no control over the conduct of hosts and disclaims all liability. Failure of hosts to satisfy their responsibilities may result in suspension of activity or removal from the Airbnb website. Airbnb isn’t responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).