Experiences involving food in Japan
This page is here to help give you a starting point to find out about some of the obligations that may apply to you if you decide to host Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. It’s for your information only and includes summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to official resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, it would be a good idea to take your guests to (or otherwise serve them food from) reputable restaurants, or reputable professional caterers who keep clean facilities and use fresh ingredients. Also ask your guests in advance about any food allergies they may have, or religious or philosophical codes that may impact what kind of food they eat.
I’m a foodie. What kind of food experiences can I provide in Japan?
The following food experiences are unlikely to trigger any regulatory issues:
- Taking your guests to your favorite local restaurants;
- Inviting your guests to your home or a picnic where you serve food that is cooked by someone else in a licensed facility (for example, take-out from your favorite local restaurants, food catered by a professional licensed caterer).
If you are thinking of serving home-cooked food, please carefully read our home-cooked food guidance below and check with a lawyer to make sure you are following your local laws.
I want to serve home-cooked food to guests visiting my home. Are there any specific rules I need to follow?
Yes. The Food Sanitation Act applies to the sale, preparation, packaging, handling, transportation and storage of food. The act imposes requirements (including food additive and hygiene rules) which must be followed. In addition, if you charge for your experience/trip, you are likely to be considered a restaurant business operator and the Food Sanitation Act requires individuals who carry out these activities to obtain a licence. You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with these requirements, which may include imprisonment and financial penalties.
There is one limited exception where you may not be required to obtain a restaurant business operator license:
- If you organise a cooking lesson whereby the guests cook their own food and no food is offered to any guest who did not partake in the cooking, then you would likely not be considered to be a “restaurant business”, even if you charge a fee for the cooking lesson.
There may also be local restrictions that apply to you depending on which municipality of Japan you are in, and therefore you should also check with your local Public Health Centre if you are thinking of serving cooked food.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will involve combining food with another activity (for example, serving or providing alcohol or a guided tour of the city), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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