We went to Japan with the goal of climbing Mt. Fuji, and decided to book three Airbnb locations during our stay. All three had some major problems, and I would absolutely not book an Airbnb again after that experience.
Location one was a disaster before we even booked. The host was extremely rude and condescending to us. We had asked for a different rate for our second of the two nights because our third party would only be present on the first night (extra charge for a third person). It was only a question, however the host took great exception to it, and accused us of freeloading, not understanding the close knit Airbnb community.
He told us the rate was as low as it could be and he would not split the rates, and it was rude of us to ask for anything lower. He also told us that it wasn’t worth climbing Mt. Fuji, we should just look at it from afar. Well, that’s the whole reason we were booking his home… to climb Fuji. Despite this we booked the room, but just for one night as we couldn’t get the correct rate for the other nights. I had a bad feeling about it, but we went ahead with it because the location was good for what we were trying to do.
We changed our plans to stay in a different town after the first night, which was inconvenient but we decided that was going to be the best plan. We arrived in town, walked to the location, and found that we could not access the key box; the pass code wasn’t working. We tried over and over again, with no success. We tried contacting the host, without luck. We were getting concerned at this point; it was getting dark, and we were alone on a small street without access to our room, tired, hungry, and needing rest to prepare for the climb.
We finally got in touch by text only with the host, but he did not answer his phone. He accused us of something or other in a nasty text (lying about how long we were waiting for his response for instance) and threatened us with the “bad reviews” game. Finally, he gave us another code, which did not work. After the third code he gave us, we were able to get inside to great relief, but also concerned over this host’s behavior and what else we might be accused of. I quite frankly believe the host purposely gave us the wrong codes because he was angry with us regarding our original inquiry. It seems strange to get it wrong two times.
I must say however, his home was the nicest of the three we would stay at. The major issue was actually that there were steps up to various parts of the house which in the dark and in an unfamiliar place was very hazardous, but other than that it was actually a nice place, and as advertised. One other small concern was that there were very see-through curtains on the huge windows that looked out into the street. Only after it got dark did I notice how exposed we were to the street, and we closed the curtains. The host was terrible, however the room was good overall.
We moved on after a good night’s rest to location two. We actually met our host in person and he walked us to his home. He was a wonderful host. His home was a traditional Japanese home. While it was nice, it was very rustic. It was as advertised, so I cannot claim it not to be. There was no air conditioning but we knew that going in. The rain on the first day there made that issue not as bad at first. It was very buggy however, and close to a canal that I think made the bugs much worse.
We saw spiders and mosquitoes. There were plants growing through the tatami mats, and we even had a major ant issue just before checking out. We actually had to dump one of our luggage bags and get all the ants outside. That was awful, and we missed something we wanted to do. Also, once the sun came out the heat really started being more of an issue. The host here was absolutely great though, and showed us around town when we asked him to. Fewer bugs, and I would have given this place much higher marks. There was even a washer available in the home. The bathroom was so small that we could not shut the door and use the toilet at the same time, but the shower was really great.
Location three – the host was operating the Airbnb illegally. We know this because our instructions upon arrival were to tell neighbors who asked that we were “friends” with the host. We did not meet the host for this location; instructions were all sent to us, some of which were confusing. The washer/dryer we were promised were actually coin operated and in the hallway, not as advertised. The place was not clean, the toilet was gross, and I cleaned it myself with supplies I found in the closet. The bathroom smelled awful.
We complained to the host by message about the cleanliness and were completely dismissed. Forget using the toilet after a shower – the water made the floor in the bathroom a total slip hazard. The place was so small it was crazy, and of course the photo choices somewhat covered how small the room was. It was to be for three people (our third person was to join us the last night in Tokyo again.) I would not call the room big enough to sleep three. The beds were super small, and one was bunk style so the third person had to climb to the top bunk.
Honestly by this point in the trip I wanted out of these places so badly. So much for living like the locals. Somehow I thought that would increase the experience unlike my first trip in hotels, but after three places with issues, I was dying for a hotel. I guess now with the experience over I can appreciate it, but we gave up a lot of comfort on this trip for some dubious places. It wasn’t worth the savings, adventurous as it may have been. I would not chance booking with Airbnb again. I especially did not appreciate the attitude of our first host, or the threats he made to us about not giving him bad ratings. It was very irritating to deal with him. Also, these places claim professional cleaning, which we paid extra for, but I do not believe that was the case at all.