We won't lie, sometimes we like to browse Airbnb just to see what kinds of apartments are out there. And lately, thanks to an influx of tourists (and shortage of hotels), Japan has been stepping up its apartment rental game, giving us plenty of beautiful spaces to ogle. You’d actually be surprised by how many spacious apartments you can find in Tokyo, where homes can often feel more like chicken coops. While, sadly, we can't live in these houses, you can at least rent them out for a holiday. For those who live in Tokyo, we've also found a few superb spots further afield to give you a bit of holiday inspiration.
Tokyo: The one that makes you feel like you’re in a Nintendo game
Ever dreamed of being in a video game? From the bedroom to the bathroom, this apartment is covered in detailed Mario decor. Ideal for Tokyo visitors who like the idea of a cute novelty apartment (and a Tempur-Pedic mattress). See full listing here.
Tokyo: The Japanese minimalist
This apartment attracts both tourists and locals with its classy modern style featuring a hint of Japanese taste. The first floor includes a custom kitchen space with a wall covered in colourful Japanese wallpaper. The minimalist decor on the second floor creates a calming environment that’ll make you forget you’re even in the city. See full listing here.
Tokyo: The one with a tea room
Yes, you can have your own private tea ceremony here, sipping on green tea and pondering the meaning of life. Glass windows line the walls, giving you an amazing view of the cityscape. This one really makes our hearts ache. See full listing here.
Tokyo: The one that looks like an art gallery
Well, it is an art gallery... sometimes. But other times this home designed by leading Japanese artist Kohei Nawa is available for rent on Airbnb. It’s like stepping into a decor magazine spread, which means you're bound to pick up plenty of ideas for decorating your own home. See full listing here.
Chiba: The one that makes you feel like you’re in Bali
This is far from your typical Japanese household. It's not too far from Tokyo yet it's set upon a vast amount of land overlooking endless greenery and ocean views. It’s the ideal getaway and opportunity for a relaxing weekend trip. Enjoy barbecues, massages, acupuncture and yoga lessons while you're there, too. See full listing here.
Chiba: The traditional house surrounded by mother nature
Get a taste of how Japanese people lived decades ago. This house is surrounded by nature, located next to a rice field, a beautiful river and a waterfall. On hot sunny days you can enjoy the cool ocean breeze while resting on a hammock. On cold winter evenings you can cosy up around the authentic kamado stove. See full listing here.
Kyoto: The Miyazaki-esque ryokan
Long hallways, spacious tatami-mat rooms and a deluxe Japanese garden – this ryokan is a luxurious option for Kyoto visitors. Did we mention there's an onsen-style bathroom where you can gaze at the beautiful garden while soaking your jetlag away. See full listing here.
Kyoto: The place off the beaten track
Put your smartphone down and get in touch with nature. Though it’s located ‘in the place off the beaten track’, there are actually a lot of things to do around here besides frolicking in the grass: cycle around town and explore the hidden paths of Kyoto or take a Japanese cooking class and learn how to make sushi and seasonal Japanese dishes. See full listing here.
Shizuoka: The one that looks like a Spanish villa
Set in the Izu Peninsula, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan, this grand villa-style property is just a few hours from Tokyo. From the terrace you can take in a scenic view of the bright blue ocean. It's also cheaper than you'd think: ¥42,101 per night, with space for four guests. See full listing here.
Yamanashi: The one on a World Heritage Site, near Mt Fuji
Get up close to the iconic Mt Fuji at this pretty cabin in the forest. Go fishing, boating, hiking and cycling, and enjoy a bonfire in the evening. Total bliss, if you ask us. See full listing here.
– Note that prices and listing information may change.
– Images courtesy of Airbnb