Author Topic: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?  (Read 7133 times)

totoro

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How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« on: May 09, 2014, 07:08:47 PM »
We have decided that we are going to spend two or three weeks in Japan sometime between now and August 2015.    We live in British Columbia Canada, have two houses and a newish Mazda 5 that could be exchanged in very nice areas, and are pretty flexible with the location in Japan.

Does anyone know the best way/online site/agency to go about advertising for a car/house exchange?  We are able to advertise in written Japanese with the help of friends. We speak Japanese but can't write or read well.

TokyoLotus

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 11:43:17 PM »
Hi Totoro!

By house exchange, you mean you are looking for Japanese to go to your house in BCC while you stay in theirs in Japan?

How many people? Maybe golden week 2015 is a good time....I haven't heard of this in Japan before, I'll ask around.

Kaminoge

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2014, 11:52:48 PM »
Do you have to have a car?

I actually organised something similar when I lived in Tokyo - it was done though a home exchange website. I was looking for someone to sublet my place and I got a request from people wanting to do a house exchange. I wasn't interested but I hooked them up with some friends of mine. It all worked out really well. No car was included though as many people in Tokyo don't have a car.

I'd say look into expats as well as Japanese people. I'm not sure most Japanese people would be keen on the idea but I think you'll find quite a few foreigner's might be interested. My suggestions would be home exchange websites, Craig's List and expat magazines.


TokyoLotus

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 12:03:12 AM »
Here is an interesting site...

http://Http://www.lovehomeswap.com/


They have a listing in Japan.

Still searching!

avonlea

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 05:18:17 AM »
I'd say look into expats as well as Japanese people. I'm not sure most Japanese people would be keen on the idea but I think you'll find quite a few foreigner's might be interested. My suggestions would be home exchange websites, Craig's List and expat magazines.

Hi, totoro.  I have never tried doing a home exchange in Japan (or anywhere actually).  I asked around a bit after seeing your question last night, and the suggestions Kaminoge made are what I was also told would probably be your best options.  If I receive any additional feedback, I'll definitely get back to you.

I hope that you and the family will have a great trip there!

TokyoLotus

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2014, 06:47:53 AM »
Sorry, looks like I added one http too many

http://www.lovehomeswap.com/

Like others have said, it seems like expats use this website---they are also the ones with the good sized housing! Heck, I want to do this myself with the houses in Tokyo!


totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2014, 08:33:33 AM »
Hi Totoro!

By house exchange, you mean you are looking for Japanese to go to your house in BCC while you stay in theirs in Japan?

How many people? Maybe golden week 2015 is a good time....I haven't heard of this in Japan before, I'll ask around.

Yes, it and four of us will be going.  Golden week might work.  Some Japanese folks do house exchanges, but I haven't found a site with a lot of listings.

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2014, 08:42:18 AM »
Do you have to have a car?

I actually organised something similar when I lived in Tokyo - it was done though a home exchange website. I was looking for someone to sublet my place and I got a request from people wanting to do a house exchange. I wasn't interested but I hooked them up with some friends of mine. It all worked out really well. No car was included though as many people in Tokyo don't have a car.

I'd say look into expats as well as Japanese people. I'm not sure most Japanese people would be keen on the idea but I think you'll find quite a few foreigner's might be interested. My suggestions would be home exchange websites, Craig's List and expat magazines.

I don't have to have a car.  We could use public transportation if we are in a larger city like Tokyo, but we're open to smaller places too. 

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2014, 08:42:48 AM »
I'd say look into expats as well as Japanese people. I'm not sure most Japanese people would be keen on the idea but I think you'll find quite a few foreigner's might be interested. My suggestions would be home exchange websites, Craig's List and expat magazines.

Hi, totoro.  I have never tried doing a home exchange in Japan (or anywhere actually).  I asked around a bit after seeing your question last night, and the suggestions Kaminoge made are what I was also told would probably be your best options.  If I receive any additional feedback, I'll definitely get back to you.

I hope that you and the family will have a great trip there!

Thanks!

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2014, 08:45:54 AM »
Sorry, looks like I added one http too many

http://www.lovehomeswap.com/

Like others have said, it seems like expats use this website---they are also the ones with the good sized housing! Heck, I want to do this myself with the houses in Tokyo!

Thanks - there are some listings there that look good. 

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2014, 08:49:01 AM »
See if you can find some connections to people in the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.  Embassy staff often have very generous housing provided in their post country, and also generous vacation/home leave policies.  If you can tap into the internal Embassy network, you may have BC-ites (or other Canadians wanting a trip home) very eager to exchange with you not just once, but on a regular basis. 

If you might ever be interested in spending time  in Beijing, let me know -- we've got a lovely large apartment and usually spend at least 2-3 weeks every summer and up to 2 weeks around Christmas visiting family in the Seattle area, but I LOOOOOVE BC as well and would be very happy to swap.

Thanks - good suggestion.  Let us know when you are planning a trip to Seattle.  Because we have two places we may be able to set you up - particularly in the summer months.  Not sure we will get to Beijing soon but we'd take a rain check.

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2014, 08:58:55 AM »
I realized that I should probably post in the AJET facebook pages: http://ajet.net/prefectural-ajet-directory/

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2014, 06:56:06 PM »
We finally booked our tickets for two weeks in Japan.

Game-changer:  the internet. 

We organized Airbnb accommodation everywhere - awesome.  Got a 7-day first class JR-rail pass each.  Bought the air tickets on points.

Used to be Japan was super-expensive - now it is totally doable.  Thank you internet.

And we have a home and car exchange in the works for 2016.

Beric01

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2014, 09:21:43 PM »
We finally booked our tickets for two weeks in Japan.

Game-changer:  the internet. 

We organized Airbnb accommodation everywhere - awesome.  Got a 7-day first class JR-rail pass each.  Bought the air tickets on points.

Used to be Japan was super-expensive - now it is totally doable.  Thank you internet.

And we have a home and car exchange in the works for 2016.
. I spent 2 weeks in japan and the JR rail pass was all I needed! Have fun!
I likewise spent 2 weeks in Japan and the JR pass was perfect! I did use some local subways/buses in Tokyo/Kyoto though.

Have fun! It's a great country.

arebelspy

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2014, 09:24:20 AM »
We finally booked our tickets for two weeks in Japan.

Game-changer:  the internet. 

We organized Airbnb accommodation everywhere - awesome.  Got a 7-day first class JR-rail pass each.  Bought the air tickets on points.

Used to be Japan was super-expensive - now it is totally doable.  Thank you internet.

And we have a home and car exchange in the works for 2016.

I started reading this thread (not realizing it was old, and I missed it the first time around) and was going to suggest renting one on AirBnB (and renting out yours if you wanted to offset the cost), rather than doing a straight swap, but you already got there!

AirBnB is ridiculously awesome. Makes longer term travel (several weeks or months) way cheaper.  And it's great for the people getting to make a little extra income renting out their excess space.  Win-win.

Enjoy your trip!  Let us know how it goes.  (And the costs, you know, this being MMM.)  :)
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totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2014, 09:32:44 PM »
It is awesome.

I was able to book great stuff like a stay with a bus driver who will take us on a tour of Mt. Fuji (wearing anime costumes for those who like it), a historic samurai bar (above) accommodation, stay with an architect in a beautiful ocean-view home and super-cheap tiny apartment in Tokyo on the subway line.

Add in a JR Rail Pass, air-mile tickets and some quirky things like an "eatwithus" sushi experience, a tour of the Miyazaki studio, and one car rental in the countryside, and it is an affordable and exciting trip.

We have three Airbnb rentals ourselves and I highly recommend it for travel.  I prefer it to hotels most of the time.

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2015, 10:58:30 AM »
Really easy.

1.  Identify an itinerary - you can set the amount of days and google the recommended options.
2.  Get tickets to Japan.
3.  Go on Airbnb and search for accommodation for the city/date you are looking for.  Make reservations.
4.  Order JR rail pass and google how to use and how to look up train schedules.
5.  If you want pocket wifi (you can take it everywhere - not much free public internet in Japan) google this - you can pick it up at the airport and return it there too.
6.  For driving you need an international driver's licence - you get it in the US - just an application.  Not recommended to drive in Japan unless in the countryside.  Use trains instead and the subway systems.

Google any questions you may have.

totoro

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2015, 12:03:00 PM »
I will post actual costs and links after our trip in March. 

Total cost for everything (includes food, transport, accommodation, admissions) is $110/person per day for three people by my calculation so far as our air tickets were purchased with points.   

Others have done it for less: http://rtw-travel-guide.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-travel-in-japan-2013/ 

The first class JR rail pass for seven of these days is $367 each. We went with first class after some consideration.  Given the amount of travel on the train we'll do it made sense for us to have preferred seating for the busier routes.

Accommodation averaged about $75/night for three using Airbnb.  A private apartment in Tokyo was only $65 dollars each night!  It is small but new, sleeps 3 which is difficult to find for a hotel in Tokyo (usually 2 is the limit so we'd have needed two rooms), and is on a subway line. 

Our itinerary is:

Day 1   Tokyo – Arrive evening (Airbnb apartment)
Day 2   Tokyo – Pokecentre, evening in Roppongi (Airbnb apartment)
Day 3   Tokyo – Morning Ghibli Museum, afternoon Akasakusa, evening onsen (Airbnb apartment)
Day 4   Tokyo - Izumo train - rent car (Airbnb apartment)
Day 5   Izumo – tour countryside (Airbnb apartment)
Day 6   Hiroshima  – arrive Hiroshima 1:30 pm– ferry to Miyajima return – Okonomiyaki evening (Peace Park accommodation)
Day 7   Kobe – morning tour of Peace Park with guide – afternoon train to Kobe  (Airbnb with family)
Day 8   Kyoto – train Kobe to Kyoto – afternoon and evening tour in Kyoto  (Airbnb Samurai bar apartment)
Day 9   Shizuoka – morning in Kyoto - leave Kyoto approx. 1pm.  - Dinner with family in Shizuoka - get picked up (Airbnb with family)
Day 10  Tokyo – morning bus tour of Mt. Fuji – lunch with family in Shizuoka – leave for Tokyo 3pm (Airbnb apartment)
Day 11  Tokyo – open for shopping/requests/last minute ideas (Airbnb apartment)
Day 12  Depart – day in Tokyo - fish market tour and sushi lesson (overnight flight)
Day 13  Day in San Francisco (evening flight home)


SingleMomDebt

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Re: How to find a house & car exchange in Japan?
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2015, 01:49:49 PM »
Really easy.

1.  Identify an itinerary - you can set the amount of days and google the recommended options.
2.  Get tickets to Japan.
3.  Go on Airbnb and search for accommodation for the city/date you are looking for.  Make reservations.
4.  Order JR rail pass and google how to use and how to look up train schedules.
5.  If you want pocket wifi (you can take it everywhere - not much free public internet in Japan) google this - you can pick it up at the airport and return it there too.
6.  For driving you need an international driver's licence - you get it in the US - just an application.  Not recommended to drive in Japan unless in the countryside.  Use trains instead and the subway systems.

Google any questions you may have.

I have no plans to drive in Japan. Pocket wifi - good to know.  Many thanks for sharing this information and your itinerary!