Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Japan Travel Part 2: AirBnB Review and Tips

Konnichiwa! Life goes on...I miss Japan.

Here is a belated review of AirBnB. We used AirBnB for Japan. Wiki tells that Airbnb is a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging. It has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.
Be kind, click on my referral link here or the image for free AirBnB travel credits for you and me. 
For our Japan trip last time (read Part 1 Japan Highlights), we required 3 accommodations. First part is Osaka, then Tokyo, and then Osaka. We were able to cross area because of Japan Rail Pass (I love it! Review soon!). Via Agoda, accommodations for anywhere in Osaka was relatively costly for December. Naturally, we wanted to be at the center of Osaka, near Dotonbori, Namba or ShinSaibashi. So I gave AirBnB a try. It's like online shopping, you have several room choices at various location. What is important is to Google Map it, and benchmark its location from Dotonbori area or Kix Airport. Major consideration is its accessibility either via JR train routes or subway. When we narrowed down the area choices, we came across several listing within Shin-Osaka, walking distance from Shin-Osaka train and subway station, plus it's the gateway to the Shinkansens. I love Shin Osaka!

After the location, you have to consider the following:

  • Read the reviews. Discern. 
  • Does not charge per head or only has minimal per head charges, because it will add up more expensive than a hotel stay. For our case, I kindly asked the host if it's okay that I will only declare two adults, and my son is free of charge, they both said okay. Why do you have to declare it? Because some host will meet you up for the key or directions, and at the end of every transaction, like eBay, review will be provided as a host and as a guest. 
  • No deposits required. You have to look it up in the listing details.
  • Cleaning Cost should be minimal
  • Has a mobile wifi router for free
  • Has kitchen for cooking or reheating
  • Has washer, a dryer will be a nicer addition though, as it takes a while to dry clothes considering the weather
Here's what came up. 



Our Shin Osaka Room 1: Comes with a veranda where I air dry our clothes, and for a breath of Japan nice air. 
Packed Toilet and Bath plus Toiletries and Tsubaki Shampoo and Conditioner as added amenities
Complete kitchen utensils, cookware, ref and microwave (not in photo), coffee and tea
This room is adjacent to Shin-Osaka Station Hotel (which we spent an overnight too). Walking distance from the station, a lovely restaurant (our favorite, review soon!), and Lawson Convenience store. Perfection.

Quick review of Shin-Osaka. It has a direct stop from the Haruka from the airport. I mentioned it's the main hub for the Shinkansen so it's easy peasy 30 mins trip from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto via Shinkansen.It's a quiet area. If you love peace and quiet after a long day of touring the city, this is for you. I mentioned that there is a Matsuya restaurant, that easily afforded us 5 pounds at very friendly price. Sweet.

When we went to Tokyo, AirBnB listings were a bit off the main train station stops. So we had to get a hotel via Agoda. Though it took a while to decide a hotel for us, affordability and accessibility both in consideration, we went for Smile Hotel Asagaya. It's one of the very few hotel rooms that still allows 12 year old children to share rooms at no extra cost, or worse, no extra room. So after our four days adventure in Tokyo, we went back to Osaka. To stay in another AirBnB room below.

AirBnB Room 2 in Shin-Osaka
Room 2 is way nearer to the station. Definitely more spacious, even the toilet and bath is bigger. This is a no frills room. No flowery decors. But you have the basic, ref and microwave.  This is basically cheaper. I made the same arrangement with the host, our son was free of charge.

So basically, a pleasant AirBnB accommodation comes with a lot of planning and research. Though, in Japan, it is safe to say that the listing details and provisions are trust worthy.

If given a choice, Room 1 or Room 2 round 2, Room 1 will be our choice, just because of the washer provision, though a dryer will be a nicer addition. I like the veranda as well.

Overall, the AirBnB with kitchen access allows you to save  your breakfast, and/or dinner. If you budget $10 per meal per person for a basic meal, fancy meals occasionally, that's at least $20 savings if you spend on microwaveable rice on Lawson, milk, eggs, and Spams or Sausage for breakfast instead of dining out. ;-D That savings, and a relatively cheaper than hotel stay, again that is if you consider my tips above, is a major consideration in going for AirBnB. More savings, means more shopping money! The only downside of AirBnB is you have to pay way ahead of your trip, a month or more. Plus there is little or no room at all for changes. Unlike a hotel booking via Agoda, which allows you more flexibility in cancellation and changes. The key to get my must-haves checked on my shortlisting and eventually making a booking is to negotiate, to ask for discounts from the host, and just be nice and be patient. Kindness is universal, so with language barrier and the what have you, all will actually be sorted out for a happy Japan stay. I love Japan! Kanpai! ;-D



1 comment:

Madeleine Razon said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips & hacks! I love airbnb myself!! Can't wait to try it out with Etihad for my trip this December! http://www.etihad.com/en-jp/

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