I had my first Airbnb experience while holidaying in Japan recently. We booked a place in the Enoshina area owned by two friends named “Sho&Shin.” It’s a nice apartment in a quiet suburban area of Enoshima that is only a few minutes away from the commercial area / shopping street.
Photo Shots (not airbnb)
We agreed to meet at 3pm at Shonankaigankoen station and were greeted by Shin at the foot of the station. After some small talk we walked over to the apartment building a few minutes away. Shin introduced us to the owner of the bar restaurant right next door. The owner was friendly but we weren’t sure why she asked to check our passport and not Shin himself? I guess she was the landlord for the building, and therefore, wanted to know which randoms were going to be living in her lot. She invited us to come back for some dinner and wine if we chose to (we went the following night).
The apartment is very spacious given Japanese standards that we were used to in a hotel (because this was in the country towns). A folio filled with information such as house rules, how to separate garbage between bins, and so forth was shown and explained to us. We were also given a rundown on how to use the laundry and dryer, which comes in handy when travelling.
The place is super well furnished with more than just the essentials. More so than most hotels I’ve stayed at. There were plenty of spare bath towels, bath products (shampoo conditioner and soap), kitchen amenities (cutlery cups tea coffee sugar milk etc), cooking products (oils, sauces) first aid kits etc (I could go on). They basically had everything you need already stocked up. This was actually a huge surprise for us.
Everything in the house is labelled by Sho&Shin. Although at times it feels like the episode of the Simpsons when the family stay at the Flanders’ holiday house.
WiFi was provided and is fast (I get 2mbps in Sydney so double is a huge improvement!). I noticed that the downstream speed maxed out at the start before dropping to 4mbps whereas the upload blitzes everything at 60mbps. Maybe there was some QoS or throttling on the router to control the internet speeds. But only for downloads not uploads. Just a random observation really.
Location wise the place was a few blocks away from Enoshima station which is where most of the crowds are. The closest station is Shonankaigankoen . Its a fairly quiet residential area. Where you will not even hear a peep be it the middle of the day or later on at night. The only public noise comes from the nearby train, which is a nice welcome from the eerie quietness.
The only downer was the lack of a TV. You can get adjusted to living without a TV by substituting it for music, YouTube, and just chatting. It was actually quite nice to live without a TV for a few days, but then again, smartphones are probably more popular these days than the humble TV set.
Overall it was a fantastic place to stay. Its near local transportation that can get you to nearby Kamakura. It’s in walkable distance to Enoshima Dori where all the restaurants and shops are, to the local aquarium and to Enoshima Island. It does feel a bit different staying in someone’s apartment rather than a hotel room, but it makes you feel more like a local when you have to walk through some real quiet streets to get home 🙂
Anyway, if airbnb is something you want to try, here is my referral link for a free $39 credit from airbnb.