HomeAway, Expedia’s AirBnb-style site, recently published an interesting survey into minpaku, private rentals.
The two types of rentals in the survey are first renting a complete dwelling, a flat or a house, and second, the more traditional B’n’B style of renting out a room in someone’s home. In Japan, the term is æ°‘æ³Š, minpaku, and taking the characters literally it might be something like “staying with the people”. There is a long history of minpaku, which used to be more like traditional B’n’B with all the regulation that goes with that, but now it is usually taken as referring to the probably-illegal-in-most-circumstances private rental of rooms and flats.
I am very much anti-AirBnB; traditional B’n’Bs have many regulations covering them, including the obvious one of insurance for guests, but most net-based rentals turn a blind eye on these regulations, and renting out complete units in blocks of flats can often cause friction with the neighbours due to guests being unfamiliar or just ignoring the social norms that apply in Japanese shared accommodation.