What is the Minpaku Law?
This new bit of legislation that comes into effect on the 15th of June and allows people to rent out houses for guests staying short-term much more easily than before (a maximum of 6 months). There will be no limitations on the type of housing that one can apply and there is no need for the owners to live on the premises to rent it out.
This may lead to small apartments being rented out throughout Tokyo and the rest of Japan that could compete with the hotel industry. With the Tokyo Olympics two years away, the new legislation is hoping to ease the hotel shortages that will surely occur when the games take place in 2020. While this is great news for those wanting to visit Japan, there are also concerns. There have been recent incidents where apartment rooms have been treated like hostels where foreigners have not respected the neighbourhood rules (such as how one should recycle household waste or when to keep the noise down). The last thing we need is to worsen the reputation we foreigners are often given when it comes to trying to rent in Japan.
It’s Not Only Small Apartments!
Many tourists who come to Japan wish to experience authentic Japanese home/hotel. These hotels can often date back hundreds of years and are truly a great treat to stay in. One of the most common types in the ‘ryokan’, a Japanese-style hotel that has onsens hot springs, incredible food and amazing service. Unfortunately though, staying at a ryokan hotel can be incredibly expensive. A good one could set you back $200 per person per night.
One American company that introduces tourists to Japanese residences has started investing in Japanese houses that have been long since abandoned. One house in Fukuoka is over 150 years old and full of local culture that was simply being left to decay. The new minpaku law will allow these such old buildings to be converted and used as a short-term lodging, allowing tourists to experience real Japan at a price that could be much cheaper than a traditional ryokan and much less of a headache than long-term renting.