Japan has a variety of accommodations ranging from ryokan, hotels, and capsule hotels. But have you heard of love hotels? They come in various interesting architectural designs like a Princess Castle or shocking pink, and the interior may be equally interesting with dramatic themes. Learn about Love Hotels right here.
Table of Contents
- Love Hotels in Japan
- Things to Know When Using Japanese Love Hotels
- Love Hotels to Visit in Japan
Love Hotels (ラブホテル) in Japan are short stay accomodations for customers to enjoy privacy for intimate physical activities. Though the term “love hotel” didn’t come into play until the late 1900s, the existence of such facilities can be traced back in history.
The earliest traces of facilities akin to love hotels can be traced to the early Showa Period. They were called Enshuku (円宿). In those days, people were more open about sexual activities and openly visited these places. Prostitutes were employed at these places to provide services.
In the 1600s, the Tokugawa Shogunate introduced a major development that brought a huge change to the industry. Enshuku were restricted to carrying out business in designated redlight districts only. Establishments like ryokans and tea houses slowly started to be used in lieu.
Around the mid 1900s, the establishments gained a new focus targeting couples looking for a private place for intimacy. These were called Tsurekomi Shuku (連れ込み宿), with Tsurekomi literally meaning “bring one’s lover along”. At the dawn of 1960, a sudden boom brought about the establishment of around 2,700 facilities in the capital itself. Rather than the traditional Japanese inn architecture, most of these facilities after the 1920s had Western influenced designs akin to motels.
※ Japan Today, "The story of love hotels"
History was made in 1968, when the term “Love Hotel” came to be. In that year, a Tsurekomi Shuku named “Hotel Love” was built in Osaka featuring modern rooms. It became an inspiration to other such facilities around Japan, and the term “Love Hotel” as we know it stuck.
※ Google Arts & Culture, "Love Hotel"
After the 1960s and the newly coined term “Love Hotel” for such facilities, Japan entered a boom of love hotels. These short stay accommodations were frequented by young couples to enjoy physical activities away from family and neighbours. Keep in mind that apartment walls and floors were thinner and less sound-proofed then (and may be still true of older apartments today).
In the present 21st century, there has been a huge decline of love hotels in Japan. Many young people live alone or with their significant other, rooms are also built to be more sound tolerant. Love hotels had become redundant with the passing of time. The only way for them to survive was to turn towards tourists that were countless in numbers. Now, the majority of love hotels have become open to travelers (to remove the stigma of an unsavoury place).
Interested in staying or visiting a love hotel? Here are some important things to know and other useful tips.
Usually limited to guests 18 years and older
Amenities include complimentary contraception, generally 2 condoms. Though some love hotels have stopped doing this to fit in better as a tourist accommodation.
TV channels have adult material
Peak seasons and time like weekends, holidays, and special days like Valentine’s or Christmas will be more expensive
Late visit discounts may be applicable but you will need to checkout before the cutoff time which will be counted as an overnight stay
Payment rate is subject to your duration of stay. Overnight stays are usually charged a fixed amount, whilst short stays (休憩 Break) are charged by a fixed time plus additional extensions.For example, your first entry is for 2-hours but you’d like to extend your stay. Generally, you will be charged for every additional 30-mins.
Without further ado, let’s look at the average cost to stay:
Overnight ranges between 8,000 to 10,000 yen
Short Stay (2-hours) ranges between 5,000 to 7,000 yen
Note that just like hotels, there are also budget and luxury love hotels. Luxury establishment prices may go up to 40,000 or higher, especially those with fancy gadgets and features.
※ Minute Magazine, “【保存版】ラブホテルの相場っていくらぐらい？料金体系についても徹底解説！”
The internet is the best resource in this day and age.
Not sure what love hotel to enjoy a stay? Try one of these:
These hotels have castle-like buildings to make you feel like royalty.
Hotel Meguro Emperor in Meguro, Tokyo
Conveniently located 5-mins away from the nearest train station, this is a popular love hotel that was established in the 1970s. Its popularity stems from its flashy architecture designed by Japanese architect, Yasuhisa Kurosaka. After the love hotel boom ended, the hotel was bought out by another company who renovated its interiors.
The Hotel Meguro Emperor has 36 rooms in a luxurious resplendent style. Some rooms come with sauna, jacuzzi, cosplay outfits, and an open air bath.
Overnight - 9,000 ~ 27,000 yen
Shortstay (2-hours) - 5,000 ~ 13,000 yen
Extension (30-mins) - 1,500 ~ 4,000 yen
Hotel Chantilly in Akasaka, Tokyo
Photo Credit: © 2007-2022 ALMEX inc.
The hotel’s tall white castle silhouette stands out amidst the other ordinary looking buildings in the area. Hotel Chantilly has 3 types of rooms with different facilities; soap mat, sauna, and rotating bed. It is located only 1-min walk from Akasaka Station 5th Exit. Compared to Hotel Meguro’s old style rooms with chandeliers, Hotel Chantilly rooms are more modern. Short stay visits are available 24/7.
Overnight - 12,000 ~ 40,000 yen
Shortstay (2-hours) - 8,800 ~ 19,800 yen
Photo Credit: © 2013 HOTEL SEKITEI.
Built to resemble a ship, Hotel Sekitei’s design and concept is watery fun. They are most famous for being the first hotel to have a waterslide in a room. From the price of 10,900 yen for short stay and 18,900 for overnight stay, you can have a waterslide all to yourself. Aside from the water slide room, there are another 9 types of rooms available. From economical basic rooms to luxurious ones with jacuzzis and more.
Overnight - 5,900 ~ 20,000 yen
Shortstay - 2,900 ~ 12,000 yen
Hotel Mju in Asakusa, Tokyo
Photo Credit: © 2013 Hotel mju
Hotel μ has Western rooms and traditional Japanese tatami rooms. The rooms are available in an assortment of colours to match your mood of the day; pink, purple, green, blue, yellow, the choices go on. The Hotel’s highlight is the cityscape view of Asakusa, and more importantly the Tokyo Sky Tree.
Available for rental amenities include curling hair iron, nano care hair dryer, cosplay outfits, and more. The hotel is within walking distance from Asakusa tourist spots like Senso-Ji.
Hotel Bali An Resorts
As its name implies, this love hotel is Bali themed. Feel like you’ve been transported to Bali, Indonesia with the hotel room’s design and fixtures. There are 2 branches of this hotel in Shinjuku itself:
Shinjuku Island, a 6-minutes walk from JR Shinjuku Station; and
Higashi Shinjuku, a 3-minutes walk from Exit A1 of Higashi Shinjuku Station
Nearby the hotel there are also Balinese spa services where you can get massages and rejuvenate those tired muscles.
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, it’s apparent there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Love Hotels. It started from what was then seen as a less than moral way of life, to a couple’s hideout, and now has become a tourist attraction and accommodation. The next time you go on holiday, consider experiencing a love hotel stay for yourself.