Airbnb Japan donated 150 million jPY to Japan Kominka (old Japanese-style house) Association that addresses succession of Japanese-original architecture and local economy revitalization through renovation of old Japanese-style houses. Using the donation, the Association plans to support up to 5 million JPY each for renovation of 30 houses nationwide.
According to the Association, vacant houses reach about 10 million nationwide, out of which old Japanese-style houses account for about 10%. The Association will assist owners to renovate those for the current quake-resistance standards and more comfortable living environment.
The donation will be distributed to 20 houses nationwide, eight houses in Shikoku and two houses in Setouchi area. Airbnb expects that renovated houses will be listed as ‘Historical Homes’ on its platform.
Airbnb introduced ‘Airbnb Search Category’ as a new search method in May last year. Among 62 categories, ‘Historical Homes,’ containing castles or villas, is very popular. “We have more users who choose a destination from a viewpoint of homes that they want to stay,” Yasuyuki Tanabe, Airbnb Japan Country Manager, said. “With that, we can help travelers to discover unknown local attractions and contribute to decentralization of destinations.”
Airbnb Japan opened a special site named ‘Use Kominka on Airbnb.’ and also have plans to organize online seminars for people who are interested in managing Kominka. In collaboration with GLOCAL, a business operator for Kominka, it is supporting Kominka owners to list their Kominka on the platform.
Airbnb focuses on local revitalization including Kominka renovation, “We have seen a new trend for users to travel to local areas to see local people. It is a trend not only in Japan but also globally,” Tanabe said. “We want to meet such needs that look for ‘traveling like living’ opportunities.”
In the last year during the pandemic, Airbnb Japan has signed with local governments or DMOs for local revitalizations. “Local challenges are different. We are creating case studies of home sharing to solve each of local challenge and then applying for those to different areas,” Tanabe added. The next target is Kansai area, where Osaka Expo will be hosted in 2025.