Guest Houses

Here is what you need to know on starting and running guest houses in Kyoto.

You are thinking of running your own guest house or hostel in Kyoto, so at Hachise we have gathered and summarized the important information before you get started. Note that information provided on this page apply to "Simple Lodging (簡易宿所)" under the Inns and Hotels Act. For information on "Private Lodging (民泊)", please refer to the official portal site by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Minimum Requirements

3
Ways of Operation

There are currently three ways to operate small scale lodging facilities in Japan. For detail information please refer to comparison table provided by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Simple Lodging
(Inns and Hotels Act)

Standard type of business permission that allows your guest house to operate all year round. You are also required to clear the Building Standards Act and Fire Service Act shown in the next section.

In Kyoto city, if you don't have a front desk staff, you are required to have someone who is able to reach the accommodation within 10 minutes in case of emergencies.

Private Lodging
(Private Lodging Business Act)

Starting June 15th 2018, private lodging facilities (often known as "minpaku") are allowed to operate even without hotel business permission, but with the restriction of maximum 180 operation days per year.

*Please note that Kyoto city has stricter rules on private lodging. Please consult with the city or ward offices for latest information.

Special Zone Private Lodging
(National Strategic Special Zones Act)

There are certain areas in Japan (Mainly in Tokyo and Osaka) that allows the operation of private lodging facilities all year round, however with the condition of minimum days of stay that differ by each special zone.

*Kyoto prefecture and Kyoto city does not fall under this category as of May, 2018.

*Please note that Hachise does not recommend the operation of private lodging “Minpaku” in Kyoto as investment or business under current Japanese law and regulation, as the maximum days of operation is only 180 days/year.

3
Acts to Follow

There are three acts that you need to follow in order to obtain permission to operate simple lodging facilities in Japan.

Building Standards Act

You need to make sure your property follows the Building Standards Act such as the (A)Total Floor Area, and (B)Land Use Zone which will be explained in the next section.

Please visit the City Hall for consultation or you can refer to this flow chart (In Japanese).

Inns and Hotels Act

Although the requirements for simple lodging are not as strict as Ryokans or Hotels, there are still minimum requirements for things like the spec of the bathing utilities and ventilation.

Please visit the Health Department for consultation.

Fire Service Act

To ensure the safety of your guests, you will need certain fire safety equipments in your facility depending on the floor size or maximum capacity of guests.

Please visit the Fire Department for consultation.

Building Standards Act

  • Total Floor Area

    If the total floor area (the area that is being operated as the facility) for your simple lodging facility is over 100sqm, you are required to submit application to change the Purpose of Usage of the building on the registry. Even if under 100sqm, we still recommend you to consult with city hall to be sure.

  • Land Use Zones

    There are total of 13 types of land use zones under the Urban Land Use Planning System in Japan, and each zone has different building regulations. There are currently 6 land use zones that allow the operation of simple lodging facilities as shown in the table below.
    *You can find out the land use zone of each property under the Details section in the property page.

    Land Use Zones Business Standard Act
    Category I exclusively low-rise residential zone X
    Category II exclusively low-rise residential zone X
    Category I exclusively mid/high-rise residential zone X
    Category II exclusively mid/high-rise residential zone X
    Category I residential zone O
    Category II residential zone O
    *Agricultural residential zone X
    Quasi-residential zone O
    Neighborhood commercial zone O
    Commercial zone O
    Quasi-industrial zone O
    Industrial zone X
    Exclusively industrial zone X

    For details on the land use zones, please refer to this PDF file by the government of Japan.
    *Newly added on April, 2018

Good to Knows

  • Understanding from the Neighbors

    In order to have a healthy and long lasting relationship with your neighbors, Kyoto city advises the lodge owner to (1) Set up clear signs of the name of your lodge, and (2) Explain to the neighbors about your lodge. If your lodge is within 110m to social welfare facilities like schools or nurseries, you are also obligated to get the opinions of those facilities.

    Please consult with the Health Department for more details.

  • Choices of Loan

    In the case of purchasing a real estate for the purpose of business (shops or lodging facilities), the regular housing loan with low interest rate will not be available. That said, there are some investment loans available for people living in certain countries. For more information, please refer to the Mortgages and Loan page.

FAQ

  • What services do Hachise provide in terms of guest house operations?

    • Hachise does not provide any services in operating guest houses. However, we can provide consultation on whether guest house operation is possible or not regarding the property you are interested in.
  • How much will I get taxed from the revenue from guest houses?

    • There are several types of tax (mainly income tax, property tax, lodging facilities tax) you are required to pay from operating lodging facilities such as guest houses. Please consult with a tax advisor in Japan for accurate information.
  • Can Hachise introduce operation companies for my guest house?

    • Unfortunately we do not provide such service at the moment.
  • Can I join the KyoYadoya group?

    • Only if your property is purchase and renovated through Hachise, and clears the requirements for KyoYadoya facilities. Please consult with us for more information.
  • Do you have any properties that are absolutely safe to operate guest houses?

    • We can do our best in introducing you properties that are appropriate in guest house operations, however in the end it still comes down to the government in granting you the permission to operate and there is no guarantee.
  • Can I run guest houses with properties inside a private alley?

    • It depends on width of the adjoining street. According to the Building Standards Act, in order to ensure enough space for evacuation and to allow emergency vehicles to get through when necessary, there must be at least 2-meter width in which the property/exclusive alley is adjacent to a public road.
  • How long does it usually take to obtain the permit to run guest houses under the Inns and Hotels Act?

    • It will take around 30 business days after the application has been received.