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Can I Really Trust Airbnb in Japan?

Finding the right accommodation can sometimes be the biggest pain when planning your trip.

We have all heard horror stories from friends and fellow nomads of hotels or hostels not being all they were cracked up to be. Hostel and hotel owners have gotten especially good with Photoshop and the art of deception. We want to be absolutely one hundred percent certain that the room we have booked is actually the room we get.

And for many of us, it’s sometimes more than just about the room.

Travelers want a convenient, safe location, with the proper amenities, and a good atmosphere among other criteria. As you search for that perfect spot to stay, a quick look at Airbnb will show the options are abundant. In Japan alone there are well over 1000 options.

So you may ask yourself before you come to Japan, “Do I just book a hotel? Or can I really trust reviews on Airbnb and be assured that I am going to be happy with my choice?”

The foundation of trust that the Airbnb model relies on is the review system.

Airbnb review system

Without fair, accurate, and honest reviews, people will undoubtedly feel unsure about the site and its services.

The whole idea of renting a complete stranger’s home, having polite interactions with them, and then be asked to rate and critique them as a host is a bit unsettling for some and in the past may have contributed to inaccurate reviews by guests. It’s hard for us humans to have a face to face interaction with someone and then give them an honest, and if need be, damning critique of their habits and abilities to host travelers.

This has been one of the biggest pitfalls in Airbnb’s feedback and review model.

However, last year the system was revamped in an attempt to create an atmosphere among users where they can be as honest and open as they want. Airbnb allows guests and hosts to review each other. In the past, users were able to see other users reviews and comments before they submitted their own. Honesty was sometimes thrown out the window in fear of having a guest or host you interacted with retaliate with a nasty and sometimes untruthful attack on you.

Since the summer 0f 2014, Airbnb now shows both the guest and the host each other reviews simultaneously in order to stamp out inaccurate reviews and comments. The site also changed the feedback system to allow users only 14 days to write reviews to ensure that guests and hosts still have an accurate and reliable memory of their experience when they go to critique it.

This revamped system should hopefully put any worries you have about accurate reviews to rest. Be sure to look thoroughly through all the reviews and communicate with the host about any questions or concerns that you might have.

Another step that should put your mind to ease is Airbnb’s Verified ID system.

Airbnb verified IDUsers of the site connect their Airbnb profile with other information to show that they are who they say they are. Hosts and guests are able to verify their name, address, reviews, and even the photos they put up.

Airbnb also incredibly offers to send a professional photographer to homes in certain cities to certify that the pictures of the rental are an accurate representation of what you are renting.

Before you book that expensive and boring hotel room for your next visit to Japan, know that this culture is steeped in traditions of honesty and hospitality.

Not only does Japan rank among the safest and most peaceful countries on the globe, the idea of omotenashi, or the so-called spirit of hospitality, should put any worries you have of being let down or deceived by your Japanese host. Apart from feeling comfortable with your Airbnb selection, knowing more about the country or city that you’re staying in is always a plus.

If you happen to snag an Airbnb rental in Japan and want to know more than what you can find in the review section, be sure to check out more articles in our TRIPals blog for tons of tips and suggestions to make your stay even better.


All listings by Mister Suite are operated by English speaking staffs so they will be able to support you 24/7 regarding any kind of inquiries, concerns, and uncertainties you may have.

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