Warning, this post may not be appropriate for young’uns.
So I’d briefly mentioned about Love Hotels in my Kinky in Kinki post back in January, and definately wanted to see inside one at some point out of general curiosity. Being told various things like “the rooms have karaoke and game consoles in them” definately added to my curiosity. After finding a friend who was also curious about the goings on, we decided to check out one of them in Umeda.
For those that don’t know, in a nutshell a Love Hotel is a hotel designed for couples to enjoy some quiet alone time, and can be paid for by the hour or overnight.
I’d just like to take this moment to say that we did not do anything of an adult nature at the hotel. ಠ_ಠ
Before meeting up at Umeda Station, I had a nose around Umeda’s Love Hotel area looking at prices by the hour. Prices really varied depending on the grandeur of the hotel, and at times the rooms had different charges dependant on theme or popularity. The cheapest I’d found was 2,000 yen (£13.38) and most expensive over 8,000 yen (£53.51), with the common price being around the 3,000 yen mark (£20.06). Ironically the least expensive hotel appeared to be one of the less dodgy, but as I’ve seen many times in Japan appearances can be deceptive.
After having a bit of food we headed over to the cheapest establishment. We must have been there at a relatively busy time as we saw one couple leaving (satisfied smiles on faces), and another couple heading in (excited smiles on faces). Apparently the 2,000 yen room had been taken so we opted for the next cheapest room at 2,500 yen (£16.73). At this particular hotel (might be different in others), when you walk in there’s a large wall with pictures of the different rooms and buttons to make your selection (pretty much like a vending machine). It then prints you out a ticket and you head to your room; there’s a little flashing light above your door. When your time is up you pay at a window which is partially obscured to protect privacy, however the security cameras kind of make it directly inadequate. Perhaps it’s to give the customer peace of mind that they don’t have to look in the eye of the cashier.
We headed to our room, conveniently on the bottom floor, and after taking off our shoes we slid the door open to reveal a quaint Japanese style tatami room. Off to the left was the rather nice looking bathroom, complete with washlet and various accessories standard of normal hotels; shampoo etc. Through another door was a large bath and shower area (plenty of room for 2 ^_~), which had a window giving a view of the main bedroom and vice-versa. By flicking a certain light switch, the whole room went red. Romantic for some, this just seemed to remind me of many blood stricken horror films.
And then the main bedroom. A huge futon bed taking up the majority of the space that I could easily have just stayed in all day. Perhaps it’s because my dorm bed isn’t wanderful, but this bed felt great. The only thing that marred it for me was the knowledge of “I know what people have done in this bed” >_<. After flicking on the TV and getting a screen full of boobs and pixels (in Japan certain aspects of pornography are illegal, so those aspects are generally pixelated or blurred) using a series of complex remote controls we managed to flick through some of the other channels, trying to find the karaoke and games. Yes, we did have karaoke, and yes there was a game system; not a PS3 like I'd been led to believe, but perhaps that's in one of the more expensive rooms. Generally the room itself was really nice, and had it not been for the condoms at the head of the bed instead of the customary chocolate mints, I'd have been none the wiser. But it was time to get to action and do what we'd set out to do by coming to this Love Hotel. I opened my bag, and pulled out my copy of Kanji in Context and cracked on with some revision. What? Did you forget I have an important exam on Friday? My friend also had some work she needed to do so we both got on with it for a bit. Finishing the hour with a little karaoke we left the room; the room itself was probably very dissapointed with us.
Love Hotels are something I’ve only really seen or heard about in Japan. When I spoke to some people at home about them they instantly got the wrong idea, thinking of brothels or a hotel where people just did it any old where. To be honest I probably won’t visit another one during my remaining couple of weeks, and it’s doubtful I’ll ever go to another one. However, we were really curious about what the more upscale rooms or hotels would be like.
In other news, today is Children’s Day.