Lonely Planet Writer

This Airbnb guest left behind an incredible mural on the host’s walls

One of the greatest fears for Airbnb hosts is that a guest will leave behind a terrible mess – but one got the ultimate surprise when an artistic guest left behind an incredible mural on his walls.

An artist left a huge mural in an Airbnb rental in Tokyo. Image by Airbnb

Artist Ali Sabet has travelled for the past two years to Tokyo to display his work at the Tokyo International Art Fair. This year, he decided to book an Airbnb for the trip and found a little apartment in the buzzing neighbourhood of Shibuya, Tokyo. While he was there, he got a message from Eric, the owner of the apartment who was living in Canada.

Ali told Lonely Planet Travel News that Eric had researched him without him knowing. Eric explained to Ali that while he lived and worked in Canada, he had fallen in love with Tokyo and planned on calling it home someday. Over five years, Eric began visiting often, making friends, learning the language and even got an apartment in the city.

Eric wrote to Ali: “I hope I’m not overstepping, but I was wondering if you’d be willing to leave me with a small piece of your inspiration? There’s a small white plaster wall and a slate-grey front door inside the apartment.  I would absolutely love to have you paint anything from what inspires you from your time in Japan.” Eric offered to refund Ali’s stay – and offered him the apartment whenever he wants to visit Tokyo – in exchange for his work.

An artist left a huge mural in an Airbnb rental in Tokyo. Image by Airbnb

Ali paints with Japanese brushes and Sumi ink, so adding a bit of art to a home in Tokyo was a pretty natural fit. He was quick to respond to the offer: “I’d be honored to create in your home and accept your wonderful offer. I’ll also create and leave and original piece for you to frame and hang anywhere you like.” When he got to Japan, Ali picked up the supplies he needed for the project and even filmed his process and sent it over to Eric to watch.

Ali said Eric has since been able to visit the apartment and was really happy with the results. “It was truly an experience of new friendships and the passion for doing what I love,” he said. It’s even sparked a friendship between the two, who will soon be meeting in person.  If you want check out more of Ali’s art, visit his website. If you’re interested in booking the apartment to see the mural for yourself, check out Eric’s Airbnb listing.