Rabu Hoteru (ラブホテル) Love Hotel

Posted on October 7, 2010


In Japan, there are places people can go to specifically to have intercourse. Hotels that charge a fee per hour or per night after a certain time. When I imagine the rooms in these love hotels, I think of Austin Power’s shag pad. (笑 Laugh) Rotating beds with vibrant colors… Maybe some even have anime posters all over the wall for otaku. There’s minimum staff when you walk in, and the feeling is very conspicuous. To order a room, you select your room and enter money. (Kind of like a vending machine but for hotel rooms.) I am reminded of the movie The Grudge 2, where Miyuki and her boyfriend went to a love hotel together. Just like the karaoke box, Japanese love hotels are cheaper during the daytime. Also, they are everywhere! I pass one at work everyday.

What made me think of posting about them today, actually, was something my driver said as we passed Hotel Parko. (Pronounced Hoteru Pa-ru-ko in Japanese.) He informed me of a certain rule of love hotels. I was only a  bit surprised by this rule: Only a couple, male and female, are allowed in. One person cannot go in to “rest” for an hour or two. Two guys also cannot go in together, same applies to two women. Only one male and one female. Is this to prevent people from just going in to nap? Or is it really a sign of prejudice against homosexuals? Maybe it’s another uptight rule (such as the ones against tattoos). Japan certainly isn’t the only culture that still has reservations about certain things.

Where I come from, something like a love hotel, a hotel specifically designed for intercourse, does not exist. There are motels and hotels that people use, but are charged one overnight fee. So learning about love hotels was strange to me. Japan just accepts sex. It happens. Here’s a way we can make money off of it. I don’t know if this would go over so well in America, especially a small town in Mississippi.

New York Hotel in Tokyo

It’s a fun to pick out the love hotels while on a trip or just walking around town. Some are very discrete and hard to pick out. A lot of them have themes. There’s one in Yokosuka, the city of the Navy base my husband is stationed at, with the statue of liberty on top. It’s called Hotel Goddess, and there’s a bar right underneath. Maybe it’s convenient? I haven’t heard good things about that one, though. Mostly that it’s very dirty. I’m sure other love hotels take pride in their work (providing people a place to have intercourse on the spare of the moment) and keep the rooms clean and supplied with S&M tools.

Can you spot the love hotel?

I haven’t tried a love hotel, and I’m not sure I ever will. It would be an interesting experience, though…

History: Love hotels were first formed by rooms used by prostitutes and their clients, called chaya or tea rooms. The idea of the hotel was brought over during WW2 by Occupation forces. In 1958, prostitution was declared illegal and became more underground. This caused the love hotel business to expand and be very profitable.

Hotel Rainbow

Please refer to the following links for more information and pictures:




Posted in: Japanese Culture