Inside Popular themed-love hotels in Japan. Why so many Love hotels in Japan.

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INSIDE POPULAR THEMED-LOVE HOTELS IN JAPAN. WHY SO MANY LOVE HOTELS IN JAPAN?

Typical "love hotel" in Japan. You may even see this kind of building right next to some historical site or in the beautiful nature.   Source: Wikipedia
Typical "love hotel" in Japan. You may even see this kind of building right next to some historical site or in the beautiful nature. Source: Wikipedia

Love hotel in Japan today

Love hotels in Japan tend to like the concept of tropical resort theme in the past 10 years. All rights reserved by onegai kaeru
Unlike unique love hotels we introduce here, many new love hotels in Japan tend to like the concept of tropical resort theme in the past 10 years. All rights reserved by onegai kaeru

 

There are many "love hotels" in Japan. It is an equivalent to motel in the US. People, young couple, old couple, go there for quickies or one night stand.

 

Due to the hotel shortage in Japan in big cities, love hotels are becoming more common places for foreign tourists in Japan too. 

 

In this article, we explain what the love hotel is, its history, range of price and why there are many love hotels in Japan. Then, we introduce the best love hotels based on readers' reviews and two unique love hotels in Asakusa, an old city in Tokyo and Niigata, northern Japan.

Love hotel culture in Japan

If you visit Japan once, you may already have noticed. There are thousands of love hotels in Japan. Some Japanese may consider them sleazy or even "bad" places. Yet, these love hotels are one big culture in Japan. Faced with the hotel shortage in Japan, love hotels play more important roles as residence for foreign tourists and in recent years they started cleaning up their names too.

 

Recently we notice this love hotel( to be exact, formerly a love hotel, now operating under the name of inn and hostel) called Khaosan World in Asakusa in Asakusa, Tokyo has been a popular destination for foreign tourists in Japan. Almost 90% of the visitors are from outside of Japan.

 

And you see how cool their rooms(the photos incl. dormitory room) are at Khaosan World Asakusa. The look is quite unique, something you may not see much at normal hotel/inn.

Feels like something from Kill Bill  Source: the inn's official website
Feels like something from Kill Bill Source: the inn's official website

Source: the inn's official website
Source: the inn's official website
Source: the inn's official website
Source: the inn's official website

Source: the inn's official website
Source: the inn's official website
Source: the inn's official website
Source: the inn's official website

If you love to stay in this kind of room, you can book khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan from this link!

Khaosan Group also has Capsule hotel Source: the hotel's official webiste
Khaosan Group also has Capsule hotel Source: the hotel's official webiste

What is "Love hotel"?

A basic question. What makes hotel "love hotel" in Japan? To be in a strict sense, there are law/regulation on the love hotel.

 

The law ( Businesses Affecting Public Morals Regulation Law ) says that "a facility specially for guests with different sex (this term is maybe not so updated ) to sleep or rest and the business operating such a facility (rough translation)" is a type of the business under the law.

 

It also exemplifies as a love hotel that a hotel has a locked door (!), bed which moves/turns, a mirror which reflects the guest on the bed, vending machines selling sexual goods etc. 

 

Usually in practice love hotels do not issue receipt so tax problems sometimes happen. You often find condoms in the room of love hotels.  (Even though the law requires to do so, ) guests often do not (need to) leave their check-in data (because these guests do not want their relationship known) thus often used for crimes. After several crimes, it is common to find surveillance cameras in love hotels (then, because of this, we also saw the issue of the camera footage leakage...).

 

Whether you know or not, if you find one of these things as above, you are most likely staying in the love hotel.

 

You usually can pay for a short stay to the over night stay. The short stay (e.g. for 2 hours) is usually around 20USD or so and the overnight is around 80USD.

 

Person under 18 years old can NOT stay at love hotel (Be careful if you booking a love hotel).

What defines love hotel?

Let us look into more details of love hotel. What differs love hotels from normal hotels? Each love hotel has different service. The level of service tends to go up as competition being quite high.

locked door

Locked door. You can not turn the key. You call up the receptionist to open it remotely.  All rights reserved by onegai kaeru love hotel in japan
Locked door. You can not turn the key. You call up the receptionist to open it remotely. All rights reserved by onegai kaeru

Probably this is most distinct difference from a normal hotel. The door shall be locked after you get into your room "automatically". This means you can NOT open the door as you want. You need to call up the front (usually no. 9 on the telephone by the bed) to ask to open the door. Emergency case? Do not worry. The lock is only covered by a breakable plastic case which you can break and open your room door.

 

Some hotels advertise that you "can" get out of room anytime you want.

Anonymity

Anonymity is the value proposition of love hotel in Japan. Sometimes you have only this machine to contact. You go to the room directly from the entrance and you pay when you go out. You meet no hotel staff. All rights reserved by onegai kaeru love hotel
Anonymity is the value proposition of love hotel in Japan. Sometimes you have only this machine to contact. You go to the room directly from the entrance and you pay when you go out. You meet no hotel staff. All rights reserved by onegai kaeru

Love hotel respects your privacy quite a lot. You may go to a lobby but the reception has a wall with a small hole where the hotel reception staff does not see your face.

 

In some hotel, you may not even communicate with the hotel staff. You go to the hotel and go directly enter a room. The check in is done automatically, when you enter and close the door of your room. When you check out, you pay at a machine in your room.

Short stay possible

Normal hotel check in and check out time in Japan are 15:00 check in and 10:00AM check out. At love hotel, you can stay only for 2 hours if you want some quick "rest". 

Of course you can stay over night at a love hotel but the you may better not check in at 15:00. You check their over night plan which is usually 12 hour after 18:00 or so, otherwise you may need to pay more.

Some hotels charge you the first 2 hours then the charge goes up by hour.

 

Love hotel cost is cheap for over night if you use it wisely but the hourly cost to stay can be more expensive than normal hotel. Do the math when you want to sleep over at a love hotel checking their menu.

No Fridge

In love hotels, you may not have a fridge. To be exact,  no fridge to put your own drink. There is usually a "vending machine type fridge" from the hotel in which the products are trapped in small containers.  The machine looks like a normal fridge but you will be disappointed when you open it. You can not put your own drink in this fridge.

No reservation

This depends on love hotel though, you can think it is usual that you can NOT book a room in advance.

Yet, some hotels allow you to book. In past several years, we see more love hotels take reservations, some of which we introduced here.

Yet, we recommend you to think it is usual that love hotels do not accept booking.

Jacuzzi

In love hotels, you may see fancy bath which shoots the bubbles. You will see more various amenity goods, many kinds of shampoo, bath powder etc.

bed which moves/turns

If you see a love hotel in a Japanese movie or TV program, you may see the bed which vibrates. It is becoming less common in Japan yet, you do not see it. 

Btw, the love hotel prefers calling the vibrating bed and vibrator as "massaging" machines.

a mirror which reflects the guest on the bed

It was common to have a big mirror(s) in your room. You can see you in action by yourself. It is less these days. Probably the love hotel industry tries to make customer less worried about hidden camera issue which people believe equipped in the mirror.

vending machines selling sexual goods

You take it out, you will be charged. It is the same as drinks in love hotel in Japan All rights reserved by onegai kaeru
You take it out, you will be charged. It is the same as drinks in love hotel in Japan All rights reserved by onegai kaeru

In your room, there is a vending machine which sells love hotel items and is usually next to the vending machine type fridge.

Rough service

You do not expect a super kind service from love hotel staff. Esp. you go to the one in rural area, you may expect less than the normal service level. The staff usually do not get proper training. It does not mean that all love hotel staff are bad or anything. You meet some nice and kind staff too. 

 

Accordingly you will not expect the staff to speak any English.

 

Note: you better not argue or make too much fuss at the love hotel as the love hotels are often operated by the "not-so-normal" companies or organization.

HIDDEN in big cities and obvious in country side

Where you find them is also one unique characteristic of love hotels in Japan.

 

Fr the big city, you find the "normal hotels" at good location such as in front of key train station. But you do not find love hotels like that. You find them in one particular area where sleazy business are around. Once you find one in such an area, you find them a lot often.

 

For country side, you go along the beautiful Japanese country side, suddenly you see a big bright concrete building (s). That is the love hotel. 

When you drive a national road, you see notice them a lot o your way. 

History of Love hotel in Japan

The history of love hotel in Japan started sometime in Edo period where there were "sleeping spaces" in some cafe such as dating cafes and in some ships on river. 

 

After the ban on prostitution in Japan in 1955 the number of love hotels increased. There said to be around 2700 love hotels in Tokyo in 1961. The love hotels that time were more or less the same as inns.

 

In the rapid economic growth period, the hotel which is considered to be the love hotel as we know today was built in Ishikawa, called "Motel Hokuriku (the hotel is already out of business and one of the popular spots for "haikyo" fans who likes the old and broken buildings)". The style of this hotel spread all over Japan as people thought the idea of "motel" is European and cool that time.

 

In 1970 "love hotel" became a common name for these motels.

 

By the way, the most common words used in the name of love hotels are from the top: "Eine", "Resort" and "Villa".

Why many love hotels in Japan?

When you are in Japan, you see them a lot of love hotels esp. in the middle of nowhere, for example, in the middle of rice field, in the mountains by some lake, by the high ways.

 

Why? It is because the local land owner does not see any other better way of utilizing the land if out of no where. 


In the country side, the land owner has not much option to make money out of the land. 


No kid(usually living and working in the big cities) will take care of their farm land. There are too many convenience stores, restaurants, gas stations and car dealer shops. And if enough Pachinko(pin ball gamble shop) shops around, the owner can either leave the land unused only paying the tax or building love hotels. 


If you own some land in the middle of mountain, you have only option to build love hotels. 


There are always people who need to fulfill "natural desire".

School themed room   Source: the hotel us's official website
School themed room Source: the hotel us's official website

To get the most attention, the hotels are usually very bright color or unique shape like a castle or so. We sometimes feel love hotels are not really beautiful buildings and harm the beautiful scenery. The reason why you see love hotel in the beautiful nature is not only from the economic reason as above, but also the regulation in Japan does not allow love hotels to be built in certain area of the city, esp. near the schools. This way, these Japanese motels tend to be in somewhere hidden.

 

Onegai Kaeru team sincerely hopes the government introduces some regulation on the appearance of the love hotels all over Japan. The regulation should be something like all love hotels need to be looking like traditional Japanese castles or  buildings at least, not like the pink concrete blocks.

Hospital themed room Source: hotel us's official website
Hospital themed room Source: hotel us's official website
Samurai time jail themed room  Source: hotel us's official website
Samurai time jail themed room Source: hotel us's official website
40-50s in Japan themed room Source: hotel us's official website
40-50s in Japan themed room Source: hotel us's official website

Some cool examples

Some talk about great room with strange equipment in love hotels in Japan. The fact is that not all love hotels are that interesting. Many of them are similar to any "business hotels" with simple design room.

 

Here we introduce the inside of one love hotels trying really hard to be unique. This hotel called US Hotel in Niigata, looking like ugly concrete blocks though from outside.., has built very cool themed rooms as you see. This hotel says they built the rooms so realistic that some guests do not want to sleep there because it is creepy like in the hospital room!

 

Many cosplay fans visiting Japan. These places are not only used as love hotel by a couple but also anime fans and cosplay fans use them to shoot photos in the rooms! It is not that Japan is full of "Japanese feeling" location. There are not Samurai or Geisha walking around unless you go to particular areas like Kyoto, Kanazawa or old Japan themed parks like Nikko Edo mura ,  Ise Azuchimomoyama Bunkamura and Kyoto Uzumasa. Most of the parts of Japan are like normal modern cities.  Do not you think some of these rooms are somewhat from Kill Bill or so? In these hotels, you can take great photo shooting and even stay over night.

 

Love hotel business is getting very competitive so the business model is also changing more than before. It is not just only for couple but for foreign travelers and also others. 

 

About the hotels:

 

KHAOSAN WORLD ASAKUSA RYOKAN & HOSTEL in Tokyo ( Note: this hotel chain has hotels in several locations such as in Kyoto in Japan. The rooms we introduced here are all in the Ryokan in Asakusa, Tokyo.)

If you are rather a hostel type or capsule hotel type, click here to find out more and book: Khaosan hostel and Khaosan Capsule hotel.

 

Address: 3-15-1 NishiAsakusa, 

Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan ( 東京都台東区西浅草3-15-1 )

TEL: +81 3-3843-0153

Checkin: 3PM - 10PM

Checkout:  11AM 

 

Hotel US in Niigata ( Note: this hotel chain has hotels also in Ebisu in Tokyo etc. The rooms we introduced here are all in the one in Niigata, NOT in Tokyo)

 

Address:

2592-1 Kizaki, Kita Ward, Niigata, Niigata Prefecture 950-3304

(Zip 950-3304 新潟県新潟市北区木崎2592-1, in Japanese) 

TEL: +81 25-388-5751

 

Official website in Japanese

 

Room fee per night for two guests

Fee depending on the number of star of the room

1star room 4900jpy

2star room 6100jpy

3star room 7100jpy

4star room 8100jpy

5star room 10300jpy

 

BEST LOVE hotels in Japan

It is not easy to find fair review about love hotels as not many booking platforms do not support them. We can introduce some love hotels with good reviews on many websites.

 

Even though, when featured by foreign media, some "unique" love hotels are not really comfortable to stay (esp. due to a poor hygiene, poor service etc.). These foreign media only write about these hotels rather than really staying and writing the articles. This results in the actual poor experience but a super nice article with nice photos.

 

The below is the list of love hotels where those really staying and leaving positive reviews.

Best Love hotels in Tokyo

BaliAn hotel and resort

Source: hotel's official website

 

Book BaliAn hotel and resort, Kinshicho, Tokyo

Bali concept love hotel

Location: Kinshicho, Sumida, Tokyo

Note: you need to be 18 year old or older to stay at this hotel. 

 

HOTEL & SPA J-MEX

Source: hotel's official website

 

Book HOTEL & SPA J-MEX Shinjuku Kabukicho 

Future concept love hotel from JHT group

Location: Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Note: you need to be 18 year old or older to stay at this hotel. 

Best Love hotel in Osaka

Hotel Alps

Source: hotel's official website

 

Book HOTEL ALPS, Namba, Osaka 

Spacious room hotel 

Location: Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Note: you need to be 18 year old or older to stay at this hotel. 

Hotel Roselips Tsuruhashi

Source: hotel's official website

 

Book Roselip, Tsuruhashi, Osaka 

Spacious and clean room hotel located close the Korean BBQ area

Location: Tsuruhashi, Osaka

Note: you need to be 18 year old or older to stay at this hotel. 

Has its sister hotel in Shinsaibashi, Osaka (near Namba) 

Enjoy your Japan trip!

Did you learn a lot or not? If you want us to feature something about Japan, please let us know.

 

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If you are looking for more traveler"s info and can not find one, please let us know. We will try to help you with Japan Traveler Help Service (we work on hourly charge to arrange, book, find info you need). Feel free to contact us!

 

Looking for great inns with private bath in Japan? Read more!

 

Have you heard of "Cat islands" and want to know how to get there, please check here!

 

Want to know another great island in Japan? Please check this out!

 

Have you heard of "Shark islands" and want to know how to get there, please click here!

 

Have you heard of "Rabbit islands" and want to know how to get there, please click here!

 

Looking for a beautiful Japanese inn with private bath during your trip to Japan? Here is the list!

 

Hungry in Japan? Find the unbelievably big and cheap food from our "where can we get full" list!

 

 

Onegai Kaeru, a group of passionate travelers, bring happiness to the world with its shopping support service and original super cute items!

 

Source: Wikipedia, Khaosan Group website, Hotel Us's official website

 

Disclaimer: Even though we try to make the info as updated and accurate but the accuracy of the information herein is not guaranteed by us. If you have any uncertainty, please contact the information source.

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