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Japan’s love hotels: Cleaning up a dirty image

Josei Seven Jan. 29
Josei Seven Jan. 29
Often associated with prostitution and adultery, love hotels in Japan have historically garnered a seedy reputation.

However, a shift is in the works toward a cleaner image, reports Josei Seven (Jan. 29).

“When one spoke of a love hotel there was somehow a sense of guilt, a feeling of that (negative) imagery from the past,” says love hotel critic Kotoko Hyuga. “In recent years, a variety of love hotels have appeared in the market.”

Of the nation’s more than 3,000 inns, whose length of stay can vary from a few hours to over night, more are breaking with targeting only couples and focusing on the sentiments of women.

These establishments accept reservations, allow guests to leave the premises, include substantial dining options, provide extensive bathing facilities and offer enhanced television and video capabilities.

“The rooms are large and the beds nice and fluffy,” says Hyuga. “And yet there are many of them are at an affordable price. Further, if you are up for it, there is the possibility of trying a pool or stone bath, or even slipping into a costume.”

The magazine profiles five establishments from across the country.

At Design Hotel Iroha in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, the bathrooms are stocked with plenty of amenities for female guests and the entertainment center has more than 800 video-on-demand titles. Orders from a nearby yakiniku grilled beef restaurant are possible, and a stay of a few hours is a mere 6,500 yen.

Rose Lips
Rose Lips
For the aforementioned garment change (termed cosplay), wedding gowns can be rented (in seven sizes) for 1,000 yen at Ampio in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture. Taking a dip in the pool or a soak in a spa is advisable at Mirage in Nagoya.

At Rose Lips in Shinsaibashi, Osaka, women are encouraged to gather for a party (joshi-kai) in one of the hotel’s 25 rooms, many of which are outfitted in a flower pattern of pink, purple or powder blue. Available for loan are the latest cosmetics products, including mascara and lipstick.

For Hyuga, it can be like an adventure.

“I recommend seeking out the playful aspects of each hotel,” she says. (A.T.)

Source: “Rabu hoteru no jijo,” Josei Seven (Jan. 29, page 164-165)