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Experience authentic Japan with an exclusive stay that won't cost a thing

Airbnb is giving travellers a chance to stay in Suganuma, an authentic village where, until now, it was impossible for travellers to spend the night

Published: Jun 24, 2023 09:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Jun 23, 2023 01:36:07 PM IST

Experience authentic Japan with an exclusive stay that won't cost a thingImage: Satoshi Nagare / Airbnb

It's an unusual experience, to say the least, that Airbnb has decided to offer to travelers in search of an authentic getaway. This summer, the accommodation giant is offering guests the chance to spend the night in an authentic Japanese village, where it's usually impossible for tourists to bunk down. What's more, the stay will cost nothing at all.

From the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, to the Louvre, Barbie's Dreamhouse or the "Home Alone" house, for several years, Airbnb has been reaching out to travelers in search of unusual experiences by proposing unusual, if not iconic, accommodation options. In fact, the booking platform no longer just lists vacation rentals. It now offers extraordinary experiences, with accommodation options that have their own section on the site. These include cabins, castles, caves, barns, shipping containers and more! The American giant has made the out-of-the-ordinary its new marketing strategy. By focusing on experiences rather than simple rentals, the platform has strengthened its local and alternative offerings at a time when mass tourism is increasingly being criticized for its harmful effects on the environment.

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The site's latest find ticks all the boxes, promising an otherwise unattainable trip for the modest sum of zero dollars! This time, the destination is Japan, and Toyama Prefecture, around 350 km from Tokyo. Airbnb is giving travelers the chance to stay in Suganuma, an authentic village where, until now, it was impossible for travelers to spend the night. The destination is usually returned to its residents when visitors leave at the end of the day. And with just nine houses, there aren't many residents who can enjoy the tranquility of this authentic site nestled in Japan's high mountains, and cooled by the Sho River. In tourist guides, Suganuma is described as a hidden-away spot, since there is no tourist accommodation on offer at all.

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For five generations, the Nakashima family has owned one of these thatched-roof buildings in the Gassho-zukuri building style. This architectural approach was designed to withstand the test of time, and above all, the elements, since winters can be harsh and particularly snowy in this part of the world. And it's precisely in the Nakashima house that Airbnb is offering guests the opportunity to enjoy a truly unique and timeless experience.

Hopefuls should sign up before June 30 on the accommodation webpage. The two-night stay also includes specially prepared local dishes and a workshop on local building techniques, such as thatching.

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