in our mission to check out all the interesting stuff that japan has to offer, we’ve been trying out all the different kinds of interesting hotels that they have here. we had already stayed in ryokans (traditional japanese inns), capsule hotels, business hotels, and now the only thing left to check out was one of japan’s crazy infamous love hotels. if you’re a sensitive reader, you might not want to read on.
so, a love hotel is basically a hotel where people go to… well, errr, “be in love” if you catch my drift. the hotels are basically totally geared for people who need a place to hook up. you can rent room either for a “stay” which means you stay all night, or just for a “rest” which means you get the room just for a couple of hours (although i somehow doubt that much resting actually takes place). these places are meant to be totally discreet and they usually have out of the way entrances where people can sneak in w/out being seen. in fact, when you enter, they are set up so you never have to interact w/ anyone who might see you. the rooms are depicted in a menu on the wall. you just type in the room you like, grab the key, and go inside. to pay, you either put cash in a machine or pay someone who is standing behind frosted glass or a curtain… you never see them and they never see you. the exit then often is in the back of the hotel. so basically, this is the perfect place for a secret tryst.
the hotel rooms in these places are also not like normal evryday hotel rooms. first off, they often have crazy themes like medieval castles, dungeons, aquariums, the arctic, etc. plus, the rooms can come equipped w/ all sorts of crazy stuff ranging from bumber cars, to vibrating sportscar beds, to umm hospital gurneys, school desks, etc. yes, these places aim to accomodate your every bizarre whim.
so before i go into what we saw, i gotta mention a story here. on my brother’s first day here in tokyo, he had many problems finding a hoetl. try as he did, he just couldnt find a place to stay. in desperation, he went to a place called “la passion”. heh. ok, so you would think that the name here would give it away, but my brother had not yet read about love hotels and had no idea what they were. so in he goes, and he gets himself a room. he wonders why choosing a room is through a menu, but whatever. this ends up being a kind of tame place, so his room is fairly normal. he goes to sleep. he is supposed to meet us at 1pm the next day. he wakes up all of a sudden and looks at his watch. 3 oclock!!! oh shit!!! he jumps out of bed, packs, drops his key in the slot, and runs out the door. it’s dark. oops. it’s 3 *AM*. so he goes back inside. but, w/ love hotels, once you’re done and turn in your key, you’re done. there’s no way to go back to the room… without paying again. so my brother ended up having to pay yet another 80$ to stay for the rest of the night. doh!!
anyways, fastforward to osaka. we decide we have to see whats inside these crazy love hotels. the crazier the better. we just want to see the most bizarre stuff we can find. unfortunately, japan has been lately trying to clean up its image, so a lot of the love hotels have become rather tame and a lot of the really crazy rooms have disappeared. but, with a little searching online, we find a place. armed w/ an address, we haul our super heavy backpacks to go looking for it. well, due to japans absolutely whack crappy address system, we spend the next hour wandering atround aimlessly. see, the addresses here will be something like: 2-3-14 sennichimae dori. sennichimae is the street, but this doesnt mean that the address is on the street, it just means somewhere near it… like withing 4 blocks of the street. the “2” is the block number. but, the blocks are not in consecutive order. they are in the order that the blocks were built. so block 2 might be by block 7 and 4. plus, theres not really a way of knowing the number of any block anyways. so, you could be staring right at block 2 and not know it. it’s absolutely ridiculous. so you can even go up to someone who lives right on that street, and ask them were block 2 is, and they wont know. so having this address is like if you were back home and said that the hotel is “somewhere on elcamino real, or on one of the streets near it”. riiiiight.
after wandering around forever we finally give up. theres no way we’ll find the love hotel we want, so we just find the nearest one and go inside. the rooms on the menu all look rather tame, just like normal hotel rooms, but oh well. love hotels are usually fairly cheap, but this one costs 107$ for the night! ouch. oh well, though… we’re too tired to go anywhere else. we get a bit confused as to how to work the menu, so a guy comes out and shows us how to check in. hrm, so much for being descreet! in our room, we pay the cash machine and now we’re all set. so, the room is huge!! way bigger than all the hotels rooms we’ve had so far. it has an enormous tv that has a million channels, a lot of which are porn, and also you can choose from a huge list of different porn dvds, video games, etc. the room also comes equipped w/ karaoke and some microphones. also, there’s this huge slot machine in the room. like a real huge full sized one. there’s also one of those crazy massage chairs with a million different settings, a radio w/ a million stations, all sorts of different lights with various dimmers etc, and an awfully phalic looking back massager thingy. the room also had two minibars. one minibar had beer and different alcohols. the other one was stocked with vibrators, and all sorts of various sex toys. the room also came with condoms and a huge bottle of lube.
then, the bathroom was huge. gigantic bathtub w/ super powered jets. it’s cool cause the floor of the room has drains so you dont have to worry about the tub overflowing like crazy or anyhting. and in case you just couldnt wait till you got done w/ your bath for more porn, there was a tv in there as well. yes, these people think of everything.
btw, porn here in japan is , well, strange to say the least. first off, despite the fact that in some ways people here seem almost obsessed w/ sex as there are half naked women on the covers of most magazines, 8 story buildings selling nothing but porn, vending machines selling used panties (we didnt actually see these, but they exist), huge redlight districts, etc etc.. despite all this, when they show porn movies they have to have certain areas pixelated. what’s up w/ that? i mean, if you are an adult, and choose to actually see pornography or whatnot, should the government really not allow you to view certain bits? that seems ridiculous. but anyways, pixels aside, lots of the porn here is a bit disturbing. for one thing, it seems like pretty much almost all of it has the guy pretty much forcing the woman into having sex. this ranges from sexual harassment porn (man unzips fly. man pulls out his pixels. man runs and touches his pixels to very upset secretary who then is basically forced to have sex) to a particularly disturbing movie where two guys basically force a young schoolgirl to have sex w/ them on a train. basically, in pretty much almost every single clip the woman would be anything ranging from passively sad to absolutely miserable and fighting to break free. plus, there’s quite a bit of focus in this country on youth, and they just love the young schoolgirl thing. we even saw something where it looked like a little kids show, with the cartoon background and a woman dressed up in some animal costume… until the costume comes off etc etc. weird.
i guess i’m kind of straying from the subject here. so anyways, the room we stayed in was pretty cool and stuff, but it wasnt really anyithing all that crazy like we had read about… so the next day we set out on a mission to find another place. there was a hotel called the pamplona that we had walked by several times, so we checked that place out. the menu board here was definitely way more crazy. there were like hello kitty bondage rooms. there were rooms w/ crazy shackles and stuff. there was a room that a round bed that was inside a prison cage. this place was so hardcore! so, we wanted to get the crazy room w/ the cage but that one was hella expensive. so we got this other room that had this crazy jungle gym type thing around the bed. it sucks, one of the maiï½Ž things we wanted to do was take pictures of the crazy room, but all of the photos we took of the room came out lame. the room was pretty hardcore though. everything in the room was red and black. the lighting inside was all red so the room seemed to be almost glowing red. there were chains w/ straps at all the corners of the bed and then more chains attached to these poles along the wall. there were more of these poles hanging above the bed w/ a spring in the middle so i guess you could hang someone from there if you had something to hang them on. the whole scene was so surreal!! this room didnt have as many fancy amenities like the massage chair, tv in the bathroom, or slot machine, but it was definitely much crazier than the other room!
if you want to see some of the crazy rooms some of these places have, here are a couple links: