Japan seems to have the right mix for developing a vibrant short-term home rental market: a rapidly growing tourism industry, a cheap currency and — unlike many countries — 8 million vacant homes.

Adding to the attractive business case is a reform-minded national government keen to loosen regulatory curbs and develop the market ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

And despite some obstacles from local governments, home rental website Airbnb has listed thousands of properties in the hope of drawing tourist money, and others hope to follow.