What is a Special Zone Minpaku? A Guide for Potential Owners

Tokku-minpaku-law eyecatch

Are you wondering, "What is Special Zone Minpaku and how does it relate to running a Minpaku (private lodging)?"

This article provides an easy-to-understand explanation about who is best suited for Special Zone Minpaku, the rules involved, and how it differs from the Ryokan Business Law and the New Minpaku Law.

First things first, it's crucial to check if the area you plan to operate in is eligible for Special Zone Minpaku. This is important because the areas where Special Zone Minpaku is permitted are quite limited.

What You'll Learn in This Article▼

Special Zone Minpaku eligible areas as of November 2023

Who is well-suited for Special Zone Minpaku

The specific rules of Special Zone Minpaku

Differences between Ryokan Business Law and New Minpaku Law

Author:Airhost Digital Marketing Team

Special Zone Minpaku: Eligible Areas as of November 2023"

Latest info: location of OK to use as Tokku minpaku 2023NOV

As of November 2023, the areas where Special Zone Minpaku is permitted are as follows:

  • Ota Ward

  • Chiba City

  • Niigata City

  • Osaka Prefecture

  • Osaka City

  • Yao City

  • Neyagawa City

  • Kitakyushu City

Reference Material: Special Zone Minpaku Trends - Achievements (as of September 30, 2023,Japanese)

For the latest information on Special Zone Minpaku areas, please check the following page:

Reference Page: National Strategic Special Zones | Cabinet Office

For information on operating Minpaku in areas other than Special Zones, please refer to the following article:

Who is Best suited for Special Zone Minpaku?

tokkuminpaku 2

While Special Zone Minpaku is limited to certain areas, it remains an attractive option for those looking to start a Minpaku operation efficiently.

It is particularly well-suited for individuals with the following characteristics:

  • Those who do not want to worry about the number of operating days.

  • Those who want to secure a solid income.

Let's see these points.

For Those Who Want to Run a Minpaku Without Worrying About Operating Days

In Special Zone Minpaku, unlike Minpaku operations under the new Minpaku law, there are often no restrictions on the number of operating days per year. Under the new Minpaku law, you are limited to operating only 180 days a year.

Owners can freely plan their operations, allowing for more flexible Minpaku management. For example, you can increase the number of operating days to coincide with tourist seasons or event periods.

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Minpaku Law Japan Explained: Ryokan Business Law or New Minpaku Regulations

Remember the 180-Day Rule When Operating a Minpaku (Provisional - Coming Soon)

For Those Seeking to Secure Steady Revenue

Special Zone Minpaku offers the advantage of no limits on operating days, allowing you to accommodate more guests and, consequently, increase revenue opportunities.

A higher occupancy rate makes it easier to secure a stable source of income. Additionally, by specializing in specific regions or themes, you can carve out a unique market niche and aim for maximum revenue.

For Minpaku owners looking to minimize various costs, Special Zone Minpaku might be an ideal option.

With these points in mind, it's also important to understand the objectives and rules of Special Zone Minpaku.

Special Zone Minpaku: A Unique Rule within the Ryokan Business Law

tokkuminpaku rule

Special Zone Minpaku refers to a special set of rules that allow homes and apartments in specific areas to be used as lodging facilities.

Normally, operating lodging facilities like hotels and ryokans requires adherence to the Ryokan Business Law. However, in the case of Special Zone Minpaku, some aspects of this law do not apply. This means that with special permission, even regular homes can be rented out to guests.

A Key Initiative under the National Strategic Special Zones Act"

Special Zone Minpaku is one of the new business models established under the "National Strategic Special Zones Act."

This law aims to strengthen various industries in Japan by altering rules in specific areas to facilitate new business opportunities.

Purpose of Special Zone Minpaku: Welcoming as Many International Tourists as Possible!

The official name for Special Zone Minpaku is "Foreign Visitor Accommodation Management Business in National Strategic Special Zones."

The primary goal is to enhance Japan's tourism industry by providing a broader range of accommodation options for international guests. This rule was created to increase lodging options in areas and tourist destinations where hotels and ryokans are insufficient.

Of course, not only foreigners but also Japanese nationals can stay in Special Zone Minpaku facilities.

For more information, visit: About Special Zone Minpaku | Minpaku System Portal Site

Differences from Ryokan Law and New Minpaku Law

tokku minpaku difference

Here is the summarized the differences between Special Zone Minpaku, Ryokan Law (Simplified Minpaku), and the New Minpaku Law.


Special Zone Minpaku

Ryokan Law (Simplified Minpaku)

New Minpaku Law

Operating Locations

Designated Areas Only



Operational Day Limit

No Limit



Minimum Stay Requirement

2 Nights, 3 Days or More



Minimum Floor Area

25㎡ per Room or More



Neighborhood Briefing Required




Need to Delegate to a Management Company



Only When Absent

Fire Safety Standards



Required (Relaxed if Owner is Present)

Information Sharing with Foreign Tourists




In the following sections, we will delve into the details of:

  • Expansion of Annual Operational Days

  • Minimum Stay Requirements

  • Neighborhood Briefings

  • Necessity of Delegating to a Management Company

  • Fire Safety Standards

  • Information Sharing with Foreign Tourists

Let's see detail;

Expansion of Annual Operational Days

In Special Zone Minpaku, you can operate as a minpaku (private lodging) throughout the year.

This is because there is no limit on the number of operational days set by the "National Strategic Special Zones Law," unlike the 180-day rule found in the New Minpaku Law.

Being able to operate all year round allows for more flexible planning and maximization of revenue.

Minimum Length of Stay Requirement

In Special Zone Minpaku, guests are required to stay for a minimum of 2 nights and 3 days.

This requirement is in place to encourage guests to experience the diverse attractions of the area over a longer period. Longer stays mean guests are likely to spend more in local businesses and tourist spots, contributing to the revitalization of the local economy.

Therefore, providing comfortable accommodations and services for extended stays becomes crucial.

Management Delegation When Absent

In Special Zone Minpaku, owners can manage emergency responses and cleaning without specific rules for management delegation. This contrasts with the Minpaku New Law, which requires owners to delegate these tasks to a management company if they are absent.

For owners who find self-management challenging or seek professional services, AirHost offers a comprehensive "One-Stop Property Management Service." This service covers OTA management, pricing, guest communication, and cleaning, ensuring efficient operation and guest satisfaction.

Consider such services for efficient and professional minpaku management under Special Zone Minpaku, aligning with your business needs.

Information Sharing for Foreign Tourists

In Special Zone Minpaku, there's a strong emphasis on services for foreign tourists. It's recommended to have staff who can communicate in multiple languages and to prepare materials like guidebooks in various languages. This not only helps guide guests during their stay but also reduces language barriers in emergencies or when issues arise.


We've discussed the suitability of Special Zone Minpaku for different types of minpaku operations and its differences from the Ryokan Business Law and the Minpaku New Law.

Special Zone Minpaku is a unique rule aimed at revitalizing local areas and promoting tourism. Its distinct regulations from the Ryokan Business Law and Minpaku New Law might make it a more manageable option for some owners.

However, the areas where you can operate under Special Zone Minpaku are quite limited. It's important to thoroughly research whether your area is eligible for this type of operation.

Whether you're new to the minpaku business or already running one, AirHost offers comprehensive support. For taking your minpaku operations to the next level, consider consulting with AirHost.

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