Tokyo — There's a "airbnb prohibited" sign at the entrance of the building I'm staying

I’ve recently booked an apartment in Tokyo and when I arrived I noticed there’s a sign stating it’s prohibited to rent a temporary accommodation (it states airbnb and other services) on that building, which I found weird since Airbnb is now legal in Japan, should I worry about it?


When did it get legalised?
And if it is legal, doesn’t mean it may permitted in the building you are in.

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Apparently it’s been legal since June of this year, can’t post links but it should be easy to search the news about it

I would contact Air and ask if you should be rehomed. Take a photo of the sign. Guests should not be put in the position of feeling like their presence is breaking a rule of a home owners association, apartment complex, or local government.

As guests, we were once told to tell any neighbors that we were “just friends” visiting in an apartment in New Orleans. It was just one night and we didn’t have a car so we stayed but it was very awkward. Now, as hosts, we understand more of the issues - legal parking requirements, taxes, license, insurance etc - and get annoyed at those who disregard them.


I see, problem is that I’ve rented it for 90 days, it’s a very long stay and I don’t want to change to another place unless I’m forced to, the host seems to have over a dozen of flats in Tokyo.

Yes, don’t want to feel like my presence is not welcome in the building, even though I’ve stayed in 20 different airbnb flats and always respect the social rules of the building, it’s just not pleasant to be staying in a place for so long and feeling bad every time I pass by a neighbor.

Actually, from what my host told me, I shouldn’t worry since I’m staying for more than 30 days so it’s legal, apparently the building management is very grumpy about airbnb and put that sign to intimidate people.

If this is true or not, I can’t really tell but I’ll believe it is since this isn’t a short stay.

In your shoes I would still call Airbnb. Better that then finding yourself turfed out at short notice @Cavalol

As others have pointed out to you. Yes you can now offer long term rentals in Japan. But for each listing the owner has to apply for permission from their local government and of course the apartment management company needs to agree.

I note your host didn’t say he had permission from his management company. Have you asked them that specifically?

Yea, I asked if everything was legal and he said it was completely legal, of course I can’t be sure if he’s saying me the truth or not… for now I’ll just ignore the sign and if any problem occurs I’ll contact airbnb but thanks for the responses anyway!

I’m rather wondering why you came on here, asking for advice, if you had decided to just rely on what the host said :slight_smile:

It sounds like you have decided to stay regardless of the legality issue because you would rather not move.

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I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. You’ve probably rented from someone who’s not allowed to do AirBnB. It’s very common in Japan and especially tokyo where the vetting process for an apartment is ridicules.

I’ll put my money on someone from SEA who probably left the country a while ago while still retaining his residence and renting it out on AirBnB and living comfortably from it in his home country.

I would call Airbnb and get the heck out. Find an actual Japanese person to rent from…

Korl is right - you’ve probably rented in a building that doesn’t allow STRs.
Let’s ignore his/her borderline-racist conjecture. The situation is a little more complicated.

  • YES, there is a new law that would explicitly allow and regulate STRs such as Airbnb in Japan.
  • HOWEVER, there are condo buildings where the owners’ association or building management prohibits STR - thus your sign. (Enforcement varies).
  • BE THAT AS IT MAY, in your case, since you are staying more than 30 days, the prohibition in the sign would technically NOT apply. Your stay would not be a short-term rental, but rather a 3-month sublet. And anyway, there are significant tenant protections built into Japanese real estate law. Eviction of a tenant is very difficult, you must prove non-payment of rent or other contract breach, and even then forced ejection is not allowed.
    So rest easy on the legality front.

Now, outside the legal issue, your most immediate problem is feeling insecure about the situation. If you are noisy at night, or if you make a mistake in trash separation (gasp), or of the host comes under pressure from the neighbors, there is a possibility that they will ask you to move to another place. In that case, you can (but are under no obligation to) accept the host’s offer, or call Airbnb and they will hopefully take steps to remedy.


Thanks for the comprehensive post, I wasn’t aware at all that Airbnb was still so “lawless” here in Tokyo, that’s why I came here to figure what my options were in regards to this since there’s a lot of more informed people around here than me. Wasn’t aware at all that even Airbnb would help me in regards to this if needed.

I get what you’re saying, even though I’m careful with that and follow all rules and polite to the neighbors it’s indeed quite uncomfortable to see that sign every time I pass through the entrance.

Thanks once again.

Once they see you are there for three months, and not rolling out within a week or two they will realize you are basically a medium stay tenant. How do they know you didn’t rent for 90 days directly from the owner?

Dear Cavalol

Just came across your posting. I am aware that my comment is late and you probably already -or almost- left Tokyo. Hope you have had great trip and enjoyed japan.
Still, as an apartment owner and previous Airbnb host here in Tokyo. I will like to explain to you and to other curios people out there about the status of Airbnb in japan, Why it is confusing and why you may have noticed those kind of signs.

Airbnb is now officially legal in japan. In particular it has been legalize in the big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. However, those so called “legalization” is in fact ONE BIG JOKE. It has so many restrictions on the apartment owner/host that it is literally impossible to host/rent out short term in proper “legal licensed” way.

Due to limit writing space and time, I will ignore most of the other restrictions and regulations for now. i will only focus on one -which is the most ridiculous one-

“In order for apartment owner to get Airbnb license in Tokyo, he must first show the local municipalies that his bldg condominium allows it”. He actually need to provide the local council a document from the bldg management that there are no restrictions against short term rental in this particular bldg. But guess what: They will never ever give it to you. Ever!
I have talked with hundreds of apartment Owners and hosts in Tokyo who tried to talk and convince their bldg managements. But in 100% of the cases (not 99% but 100%) the answer was always negative.

What’s even worst, is that even in cases where neigbours originally did not mind about Airbnb so much, the bldg managements themselves are abusing their power and manipulating neighbours votes against it.

You see, in japan Bldg managements are way overstepping of their responsibilities. Their responsibilities meant to maintain the Bldg in good condition, take care of basic security and to follow tenants instructions. But in reality, they are the supreme authority and somehow always manage to get most of apartment owners to follow their own agendas and “suggestions”.

Why Bldg managements are against Airbnb?
First of all because most of those bldg managements are also involved in the hotel or serviced apartment industry. For example, the apartment I purchased is managed by Mitsui Fudosan. Mitsui Fudosan is linked to Mitsui Coroporation and they owing several hotels and plenty of service apartment bldgs. For them Airbnb is a direct competitor! So the instructions from Top management of Mitsui is: to get tenants to vote against it. Which is pretty easy really because most tenants don’t plan to do Airbnb so why they don’t just to follow what the “trusted” management company suggested? Remember that most Japanese people are not business minded people, they just purchase an apartment for their own use or for long term typical investment. So they are pretty easy to be manipulated and pushed into personally unfavorable situations by those big Coroporations.

So, no one in Tokyo (In particular central Tokyo) can actually get permit from bldg managements and therefore no one can get a proper Airbnb style license. So what to do? Some people such as myself choose to give up on the all adventure (and lose lots of money on their investment in the process), some people are trying to fight this absurd request and some people choose to continue hosting in Tokyo/Japan under the radar.

The good thing is: under government instructions, the law enforcements do not really try to enforce those restrictions and they pretty much ignore “illegal” Airbnb operations. That is because it is good for the country tourism and economy (japan hotel supply is very low and bad value for money so removing Airbnb completely will kill 30-40% of tourism). The other good thing for you as a guest is that even if there will ever be prosecution (which is very very rare) it will be against the host not against you as a guest, you are protected.

The Bldg managements companies are aware of that, they are aware that law engorcement will never do anything. So what they do? They are trying to “stop the phenomena” themselves. One way is by trying to scare guests with those kind of signs thatbyou noticed etc… and another way is by threatening the apartment owner/host of prosecutions ect…

Bottom line is, this confusing situation been created by the impotence of the Japanese government that on one hand supposedly legalize short term rental but on the other end made serveral requirements which the hosts can never get.

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What you are saying is nonsense. Japanese or foreigner it doesn’t matter. Out of 52,000 Airbnb listings in Japan, less than 100 actually have proper Airbnb licenses. Those will be private houses in some outskirts areas, not central. OR a bldg owned by big Coroporation and is over charging.

As mentioned in my previous reply to C, those so called “licenses” are impossible to get for individuals hosts in condominiums because of ridicules restrictions and involvement of bldg managements with personal agendas.

If the guest decide that she want a proper officially “licensed” apartment then she will need to either pay twice as high to those big Coroporation serviced apartments or stay in not central area which can be very unpleasant. Or she can just ignore the sign and no one will really bother her.

Saying all that, since she rented the apartment for over 3 months so it is not even law violation in japan. Regardless of condominium rules.


Is it in kanji? You could pretend you can’t read it :joy: