A Love Hotel (ラブホテル) is a type of hotel designed for short stays for sexual trysts. Love hotels can be found across Japan, but also in other areas of Asia such as South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. They are also called “Fashion Hotels” or “Boutique Hotels” in order to give them a less taboo name.
Though their primary purpose is for romantic encounters, love hotels are often very inexpensive, and budget travelers that need a place to stay use love hotels as a way to stay somewhere in Japan for cheap. They are not particularly well furnished for these stays, however, with anything other than sex-related furniture.
Love Hotels are often designed for discretion. In this way, you will find many love hotels with no windows, multiple entrances, and a variety of other features to ensure the privacy of their guests. There are individuals that work for the hotel that mask license plates in order to keep their guest’s privacy.
There are usually two prices displayed. One price is for a “rest” (staying in the hotel for a few hours) while the other is for spending the night. The prices differ per hotel, but one can generally find a love hotel that costs about 4500 Yen (41 dollars) for a rest and 7500 yen (72 dollars) for the night. Very few hotels allow reservations, usually requiring the couples arrive on a first come first serve basis.
Love hotels vary vastly in the furnishings of the room. Some rooms are no more than a bed, while others have decoration, rotating beds, and a variety of other materials. Many are equipped with mirrors around the room, S&M equipment and karaoke machines. There are also free adult movies on the television and condoms under the pillow to ensure the individuals are well equipped. Some love hotels offer Cosplay, Sex Toys and stranger equipment such as horses from a merry go round.
The buildings themselves are built in such a way as to attract customers with their blatant purpose. Finding bright neon lights and other obvious designs make finding a love hotel not a difficult task when one is in the neighborhood.
In fact, love hotels are a multi trillion yen industry, making an estimated 4 Trillion Yen per year. It is estimated that over 1% of Japan visits a love hotel every day (1.4 million visitors), meaning that in terms of overall volume of visitors, the equivalent of the entire country of Japan visits love hotels 3 times per year.
There is a lot of tax fraud and tax evasion due to the discreet nature of this business, but love hotels are an incredibly popular and profitable industry.
Despite their origination, love hotels are no longer meant for prostitution. Rather, they are designed for couples (and individuals having affairs) to have a private room for a short period of time for love making. Still, although these love hotels do not condone prostitution, it is not uncommon for individuals that have met up with prostitutes to take them back to love hotels for secrecy.
In addition, some love hotels are run by less reputable owners that install hidden cameras and sell the images as adult videos. This is not common but still a risk when entering a love hotel.