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zenkoji temple experience

Discover Japan Through the Best Airbnb Stays

By Margherita Aug 18, 2023

Experience the true essence of Japan with Airbnb, a beloved platform offering diverse short-term accommodations. From modern apartments to traditional machiya (traditional wooden townhouses) and enchanting ryokans, you can find the perfect stay across Japan’s vibrant cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and scenic rural areas.

Best Airbnb Stays in Japan

In these best Airbnb stays we selected, you can immerse yourself in local life and explore hidden gems. 

Before booking, read reviews and check listing details to tailor your stay to your preferences. Some hosts offer English-speaking support, ensuring a seamless experience for international travelers.

Traditional Buildings with Tatami Mat

If you’re looking for somewhere traditional, try these stays with tatami mats.

Matakitai Iwate Traditional Farmhouse

またきたい airbnb in japan

Image credits: Matakitai Minpaku & Guesthouse

Listing Name: Tatami room Max 3ppl / Abundant Activities!
Location: Ichinoseki-shi, Iwate Prefecture
Listing on Airbnb

“Matakitai” is a rustic farmhouse located on a spacious plot, serving as an ideal base for exploring the World Heritage site “Hiraizumi” in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. The name “Matakitai” translates to “Want to go again” in Japanese, reflecting the owner’s desire to invite travelers to experience the charm of Ichinoseki and Iwate over and over.

The farmhouse opened in September 2018 and offers a chance to experience local Japanese life and culture. Guests can easily visit nearby World Heritage sites like Chusonji and Motsuji, just a 20-minute drive from Hiraizumi Station.

またきたい airbnb in japan room

Image credits: Matakitai Minpaku & Guesthouse

Accommodations include a Japanese-style tatami room, perfect for large groups and families who can arrange futons side by side. Additionally, visitors can enjoy the charm of the Japanese countryside and immerse themselves in a genuine local experience.

One of the adorable members of the staff is the beloved newborn goat named “Trevi,” who gets much of the attention of the little ones.

Kyoto Machiya With Porcelain Bathtub

Listing Name: (Near Gion) Machiya inside a temple, stay with Zen.
Location: Kyoto
Listing on Airbnb

The beautifully refurnished 100-year-old machiya offers a seamless blend of the traditional and modern Japanese spirit. It features tatami floors, sliding wooden doors with washi partitions, and a serene private garden, all accompanied by carefully curated, luxurious contemporary comforts.

Nestled in the peaceful vicinity of Chomyo temple, this machiya promises guests a fully immersive Kyoto experience. With a convenient 5-minute stroll to the subway/Keihan Sanjo station, exploring the city becomes effortless. Iconic landmarks such as Gion and Heian Shrine are within easy walking distance, and the neighborhood boasts an array of supermarkets and exceptional restaurants to cater to every taste.

If you want to upgrade your experience for something slightly fancier, this is the property for you. From the modern, sleek interior to the lacquer tables and dreamy bathtub with a garden view, Kyoto will surely retain a special memory in your heart.

Guesthouse Keiko Traditional Kyoto Japanese House

Listing Name: Traditional Japanese style house!!
Location: Kyoto
Listing on Airbnb

Are you still looking for a more authentic place with that old Japanese atmosphere far away from the patinated images of interior design magazines? Welcome to Guesthouse Keiko, a charming and tastefully decorated traditional wooden house located south of Kyoto Imperial Palace Park, just a stone’s throw away from Kyoto’s Teramachi Street. 

Visitors will find cozy Japanese-style rooms with tatami floors and Japanese futons. The house has been beautifully restored, blending modern amenities with traditional charm.

With major bus routes and the subway system close by, guests can easily explore the city.

Modern Houses

For something more modern, check out these homes.

Seaside Beach House For Large Groups

Listing Name: Entire house/12 adults allowed/3 minutes on foot from the sea/26 tatami mats LDK/BBQ 16 tatami mats Wood deck/The air
Location: Ichinomiya, Chiba
Listing on Airbnb

This private single building offers a spacious and exclusive retreat just a 3-minute walk from the ocean, making it perfect for various outdoor activities such as swimming, surfing, and BBQs. With 26 tatami mats in the living, dining, and kitchen area and an additional 16 tatami mats on the wooden deck, the property can comfortably accommodate up to 12 people, making it ideal for large groups of friends or multiple families enjoying the seaside together.

The building features three bedrooms, including a popular loft directly connected to the living area, favored by children. Air conditioners are installed in the living room and two bedrooms, ensuring a comfortable environment for guests. Parking space for up to 4 cars is available on the premises. An outdoor shower with hot water is conveniently located near the wooden deck for post-water activities. Entertainment is well-provided, with a 65-inch TV equipped with a FireTV Stick, enabling guests to watch YouTube and other video sites. The loft boasts a scenic view of the ocean. 

Kyoto Traditional House 14 Minutes From Kyoto Station

Listing Name: Don’t miss the tatami mats in Kyoto, a single-family home with 4 Japanese-style rooms (the total price you see is the total price for four people to use four rooms per night).
Location: Kyoto
Listing on Airbnb

This traditional Japanese house in Kyoto offers 4 rooms for ten people and three bathrooms. It’s conveniently located just a 14-minute walk from Kyoto Station. The rooms feature tatami mats and traditional futons, providing a cozy and authentic Japanese experience. There is even a small courtyard to sit outside and a beautiful mini garden Japanese-style where you can sit down and sip green tea just bought around town.

Guests have access to a kitchen equipped with essentials like a microwave and refrigerator. The property is close to various shops, restaurants, and public transportation, making it easy to explore the city. 

Buddhist Temples

Staying in a Japanese temple is a unique experience you have to try once! Here are our recommendations.

Nara Mountain-View Buddhist Temple Stay

Seikokuji temple

Image credits: B&B Seikokuji

Listing Name: Stay in a Buddhist temple in Yoshino
Location: Yoshino-chō, Nara
Listing on Airbnb

Welcome to Seikokuji Temple, nestled in the serene and picturesque east part of Yoshino-chō district, at the heart of Nara Prefecture. Surrounded by majestic mountains and blessed with clean, fresh air, our temple offers a tranquil and rejuvenating retreat. The gentle flow of the Yoshino River adds to the peaceful ambiance.

With a history dating back over 1,300 years, Yoshino holds a special place in Japanese literature and cultural heritage, mentioned in ancient works like the “Kojiki” and “Man’youshuu.” Notably, Emperor Godaigo chose Yoshino to construct the Imperial Palace in the 14th century.

Throughout the seasons, Yoshino enchants visitors with its unique charms. Spring brings breathtaking cherry blossoms, particularly at Yoshino-yama in early April. Summer invites you to cool off in the river or simply dip your feet. In fall, the vibrant foliage and swirling fallen leaves create a captivating spectacle.

Seikokuji temple

Image credits: B&B Seikokuji

This Airbnb offers an exclusive experience, with only one reservation accepted per day, ensuring that every guest can fully immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, culture, and history that Yoshino has to offer.

Whether you seek solace, reflection, or an escape from the bustle of daily life, our temple provides a serene haven for your mind and soul.

Gifu Temple Stay With Beautiful Gardens

zenkoji room image

Image credits: Otera Stay Zenkoji

Listing Name:[TEMPLE HOTEL]Japanese room with garden view
Location: Takayama, Gifu Prefecture
Listing on Airbnb

The Temple Hotel Takayama Zenko-ji presents a unique opportunity to experience the serenity of a Japanese temple. With over 100 years of history, this Jodo sect temple is nestled discreetly in the heart of Takayama.

Embodying the concept of “Less is more,” the temple’s simple, traditional Japanese architecture offers a tranquil space for self-reflection and inner cleansing. Guests from all faiths are warmly welcomed to indulge in this enriching experience.

The room provided is a spacious Japanese-style room with a delightful garden view, accommodating up to three guests. It includes a private restroom, shower room, and a washing machine for convenience. The temple hotel houses a total of 5 private rooms and shared areas, including a living and dining space, kitchen, and bathroom with a bathtub.

To enhance the spiritual journey, the main hall at Takayama Zenko-ji hosts sutra chanting every morning, and guests are encouraged to participate or observe for a unique inner exploration. The serene atmosphere of the temple complex fosters a sense of calmness and tranquillity, creating a peaceful retreat for all who visit.

zenkoji temple

Image credits: Otera Stay Zenkoji

For those seeking further immersion into temple life, various experiences, such as Zen meditation, hand copying sutras, and the Zukouo incense pastille workshop, are available upon reservation. These optional activities provide a deeper understanding of traditional practices.

The Temple Hotel Takayama Zenko-ji is conveniently accessible by bus or train, making it an ideal location for exploring Takayama’s surroundings, including Takayama-jinja, the group of temples in Higashiyama, and Kokubun-ji temple.

Best Airbnb for a Unique Stay in Japan

Have you found your next destination on Airbnb? Whether you are looking for a traditional experience or a modern and stylish apartment, among these best Airbnb stays in Japan, you will indeed find the perfect place to create some unique memories.

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Featured image credits: Otera Stay Zenkoji