Airbnb Japan wants to attract more foreign tourists by offering an old, traditional Japanese house, "kominka". It is usually located in the middle of nowhere.
Most ancient houses require renovation and can be rented relatively cheaply. As a result, there is a growing interest in the tourism industry to buy these houses and offer them to tourists fascinated by Japanese culture.
Airbnb relies on "kominka"
Airbnb has now announced that it will offer "kominka" on a larger scale than "minpaku". "Minpaku" are private accommodations that are rented to tourists.
The Japanese offshoot of the U.S. company estimates that foreign tourists interested in the more traditional Japan will take advantage of the offer. After all, you live in a "kominka" exactly as you imagine traditional Japan: you sit on the floor around an "irori" (traditional sunken stove) and sleep on a futon. All away from the hustle and bustle in the places popular with tourists.
Attracting more tourists to rural areas
Since the "kominka" are also more likely to be found in rural areas, this trend is also an opportunity for small towns to benefit from tourism. Usually, tourism is concentrated in popular tourist destinations, including Tokyo, Kyoto, etc.
Encouraging the preservation and promotion of traditional Japanese houses, known as "kominka", could attract more tourists to rural areas and boost the local economy. In addition, this initiative may be especially appealing to digital nomads, a group the Japanese government is keen on attracting to the country.
Another benefit Airbnb sees is that Japan's tourism industry suffers from a massive labor shortage. However, Minpaku requires only a few employees, so the system is interesting for the industry. In addition, Japan has announced that it will simplify the requirements for operating Minpaku.