|| akihabara city guide
love hotels - shibuya
WHILE IT HAS BEEN ARGUED THAT OSAKA IS THE HOME OF THE LOVE HOTEL AND BOASTS THE BEST OF THEM, TOKYO HAS ITS FAIR SHARE, OFTEN IN CLUSTERS, CLOSE TO RAILWAY STATIONS -- SOME OF THE BIGGEST CONGLOMERATIONS CAN BE FOUND AT UGUISUDANI, IKEBUKURO, AND OF COURSE THE WEST SIDE OF SHINJUKU.
But some people just want to be in the heart of the action, and they want to stay in Akihabara.
In English-speaking countries, couples checking into a hotel for a clandestine purpose once gave false names at the front desk — Mr. and Mrs. Smith, for example. In Japan, however, it is the hotels themselves that apparently use aliases. We can no longer call them elove hotels.f Hotel owners nowadays prefer to avoid the decades-old accumulation of sleazy association that such a term evokes. Instead the smart businessman with his money invested in the pay-as-you-bang hospitality business would prefer us to use such gleaming new terms as eleisure hotel,f eboutique hotel,f ecouplesf hotel,f efashion hotel,f etheme hotel,f etc.
But, to avoid any confusion in these articles, we will constantly resort to the old established term and hope no one gets offended.
On the other hand, I would rather spend the night in a Japanese love hotel, even if I was alone, because the love hotels are more fun. In a love hotel you can sing karaoke and enjoy light shows in your bathtub. In a capsule hotel you are basically crammed in like sardines. And from what I have heard (since I have never stayed in a capsule hotel before) you pass an uneasy night listening to a cachophany of neighboring wheezes and snores, before getting woken by the chorus of alarms which kick in about 6am, and continue until checkout time at 10am.
As Quirky Japan says: "Sure, Zen gardens, sushi and the Sony Walkman are great, but the greatest Japanese invention of all time has to be the love hotel. In the concrete wasteland of the modern Japanese city, the love hotel stands out as a refreshingly off-the-wall escape from conformity, a monument to hedonism, and a libertine's paradise. It's also a godsend when you're tired of taking your girlfriend back to your gaijin apartment with its half-inch plywood walls and nosy neighbours. Nearly every foreigner in Japan has a love hotel story to tell and number of Japanese people who were conceived in one must be enormous.
"The love hotel is changing though, and the news isn't all good. They've gone upscale, lost some of their sleazy associations and the decors have become more tasteful but the bad news is that in an effort to clean up their image, they got rid of a lot of the exciting theme rooms. Although they still exist, its getting harder and harder to find places with bumper cars and disco lights..."
Like love hotels, there are two options -- the short stay (euphemistically called a "rest", although we all know that short Japanese love hotel stays are anything but restful), and the overnighter (at this establishment they call it the "night course".)
It's cool to take photos of yourself with the dolls, and you can also dress them up in whatever turns you on -- school uniforms and maid costumes seem to be particularly popular.
Hotel Beat Wave: saJζ~R¬Q|X.
(2-9 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya Ward.)
Phone: (03)3464-2535. Homepage: Click here.
This place was named Love Hotel of the Month by Seek Japan, who wrote: "Beat Wave, one of the most popular love hotels on the Dogenzaka slope in Shibuya, is a quirky, cozy love nest designed to appeal to twenty-somethings. The theme here is music - from folk to pop to rock - and you could find yourself in a room decorated with anything from images of soul singers to Kiss.
"The rooms in Dogenzaka love hotels are almost always small, and Beat Wave's are no exception. That said, they're comfy and well decorated in a fun, kitschy kind of way. One room dedicated to pop divas has a wall plastered with photos of well known singers, and a huge heart over the bed. When you turn out the lights, an image of stuffed animals floating through the Milky Way appears on the wall. Nicely understated, that.
"The most popular suite is modeled after the rooms that folk singers Takuro Yoshida and Yosui Inoue lived in when they were struggling to get their big breaks in the 1960s. Another is equipped with an outdoor bath, and many have funny black light pictures in the bathrooms..."
Hotel LaLa: saJζΉΊβQ|PR|P.
(2-13-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya Ward.)
The Taipei Times reported back in 2003: "Kato Pleasure Group, which runs a chain of so-called love hotels across Japan, plans to spend \24 billion (US$204 million) doubling its number of properties to 100 and may sell shares to the public, its founder said.
"Japan's love hotels -- which sell rooms by the hour and often allow guests to book and pay at a machine in their lobbies -- are popular in cities where rents average \2,500 (US$21) per square meter, forcing many young people and married couples to live with their parents.
"If Kato Pleasure sells shares, it would be the first love hotel company to list in Japan, though the industry's image may make it difficult to lure investors.
"'The image of a love hotel is dim and sleazy,' said Tomoyasu Kato, who owns more than a 50 percent stake in the company. 'For young people, a `love hotel' constitutes a necessity.' Kato says he has approached investment banks to help fund his plan.
"The three-year expansion would make it one of the top three love hotel chains, according to investment bank Westwood Capital (Asia) Ltd.
"Kato also owns a business hotel in Fukuoka with the world's fourth-largest securities company Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc and is managing hot-spring resorts with Japan's local governments.
"He hasn't attracted any high profile names to his love hotel business. Lehman spokeswoman Jackie Kestenbaum declined to comment.< br>
'It's a shame business,' said Tatsuo Koyama, chairman of Aine, a closely held company that owns 100 love hotels. 'People think it's a vice business.' It's not that the business isn't profitable.
"Kato Pleasure -- which said its customers are usually aged between 20 and 27 -- expects profit before tax to rise two-thirds to \1.5 billion in the year ending March 31 as sales rise a fifth to \12 billion, Kato said.
'The love hotel business is a good one because of the high occupancy rates and minimal maintenance costs,' said Gabriel Scion, managing director at Westwood Capital.
"'They serve a market where housing is limited, and there is not much privacy in existing properties.' Kato Pleasure is taking advantage of record low interest rates and a property slump that has driven commercial values in the world's second-largest economy down about 62 percent in 11 years.
"At the Hotel Lala in Tokyo's Shibuya district, 31 of 38 rooms were occupied at 5pm on a recent Thursday..."
The dolls are specifically made for love and weigh in at around 26 to 28 kilograms, and are 140cm to 150cm tall when standing. A night of passion with one of them will set you back 22,000 Yen (around US$250). If you want a quick rumble then a 45 minute session will cost you only 10,000 Yen.
Want to experience modern sex Japanese style -- Doll@Cafe is the place for you!
But if real women are more to your taste, then perhaps you ought to head to Thailand!
1 P&A Plaza Hotel
Sun tanning and fitness equipment. Cave-like bathroom for 5-8 people in room 902. 2 hours \4,700-\13,000, overnight \9,100-\25,000.
In the Shibuya love hotel area, near Bunkamura.
2 Dixy Inn
American antique-style hotel, with US oldies to choose from the music box. Jacuzzi in all rooms, room 101 is good for parties. 3 hours \5,600-\9,900, overnight \8,800-\14,900.
Behind On Air West, near Shinsen Station.
Tokyo Green Hotel Ochanomizu: _cWH¬Q|U.
(2-6 Kanda Awajichou.)
Phone: 03/3255 4161. Fax: 3/3255 4862. Map: click here for map.
My lesbian cousin Kel and her pet girl of the time stayed here during the silver winter of 2006/2007. I visited them once and watched a new remake of Monkey on TV. We went up to Nikko and hung out in the winter sun. According to notes I made at the time: "(The Green Hotel) is At Awajicho. Just a stones throw from Akihabara. My cousin Kellie stayed here." Kel told me all about Chem Trails. I smoked dope and tried to date a girl called Tomomi. It was just another winter in paradise -- but it was good having Kel around, even in her current lesbian form." .
From Subway Marunouchi Line Awajicho Station: 2 mins on foot. From Shuto Expressway Kandabashi Exit: (500 m)
Someone who stayed at the Washington commented: "The room was microscopic, and the bathroom was even smaller, but the Hotel was super clean and in the middle of Akibahara, the mecca of Japan's nerd culture..."
|Single room 9sqm
|Single room 9sqm
On the other hand, a New Zealand guest of the hotel remarked: "Liked - great location, easy access to the trains and subway. (1 minute walk) Only one change to get to the airport. Close to the Ueno area for eating, markets and color. Easy access to Ginza. Clean rooms, competent and helpful service. Rooms a reasonable size - for Tokyo.
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