Experiences involving alcohol in Japan
This page is here to help give you a starting point to find out about some of the obligations that may apply to you if you decide to host Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. It’s for your information only and includes summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to official resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
I plan to serve or provide alcohol as part of my experience - do I need any licenses for that?
Yes. The Food Sanitation Act applies to the sale, preparation, packaging, handling, transportation and storage of alcohol. The act imposes requirements (including food additive and hygiene rules) which must be followed. In addition, if you charge for your experience/trip, you are likely to be considered a restaurant business operator and the Food Sanitation Act requires individuals who carry out these activities to obtain a licence. You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with these requirements, which may include imprisonment and financial penalties.
There is one limited exception where you may be able to serve alcohol without being required to obtain a restaurant business license:
If you organise a cooking lesson whereby the guests cook their own food and no food is offered to any guest who did not partake in the cooking, then you would likely not be considered to be a “restaurant business”, even if you charge a fee for the cooking lesson. You may be able to serve alcohol as part of this cooking lesson package.
If you charge for your experience/trip, you may also be required to obtain a license under the Liquor Tax Act. Additionally, there may be local restrictions that apply to you depending on which municipality of Japan you are in, and therefore you should also check with your local Public Health Centre if you are thinking of serving alcohol.
Serving alcohol to your guests (unless you’re taking them to your favorite local bar) is generally a tricky area though, so we encourage you to check with your local Public Health Centre and your local Tax Office or speak to your lawyer to make sure you are following the laws.
What if my experience takes place at a bar?
You would be unlikely to run afoul of regulations if you take your guests to your favourite local bars that are licensed under the Food Sanitation Act.
What if my experience is BYOB, and I want to allow guests to bring their own alcohol?
If your experience is in your private home and it is not open to the general public, then hosting a BYOB experience may not require a license under the Food Sanitation Act and the Liquor Tax Act. You should always check with your local Public Health Centre and your local Tax Office or consult your lawyer to make sure this is the case.
What if my experience involves home brewed beer or sake, what do I need to keep in mind?
In Japan, if you have no license under the Liquor Tax Act, home-brewing is prohibited in general, with certain limited and complex exceptions. In addition, home-brewing will also need to comply with the requirements under the Food Sanitation Act.
Home-brewing is generally a tricky area so we encourage you to check with your local Tax Office or speak to your lawyer to make sure you are following the laws.
If my experience involves alcohol, do I need to watch out for anything else?
Yes, you should ensure that all guests are of legal drinking age (currently 20 and over).
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will involve combining alcohol with another activity (for example, serving or providing food or a guided tour of the city), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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