15 March 2009 ~ 9 Comments

White Night at a Yokohama Love Hotel pt. 1

In Japan, Valentine’s day is for the boys.  The girls buy chocolate and what not and give it to the guys. The Japanese have a separate holiday for the return of these Valentines. Its called White Day. I don’t know why it’s called White Day…I’ve heard because chocolate companies were trying to market White Chocolate…I’ve also heard something about it being associated with powdered sugar, which is also white… Anyway, on White Day the guy is expected to return the favor to the girl or girls who hit him off on Valentines. I received a bunch of chocolates from my students, but most of them were 3rd year students and they’ve finished so I don’t have much favor returning to do.

White Night is a busy date night as you might imagine, and after the Sushi, the karaoke, and the purikura,it’s time to head to…yep, you guessed it: The Love Hotel!

Love Hotels are yet another thing on a long list of things I just Love about Japan. I mean, sure, doing it in the comfort of your own home has its moments, but…I don’t know about y’all, but my home in Japan ain’t got nothing on the Love Hotels.

Compared to Shibuya and Shinjuku, Yokohama doesn’t have much of a selection of Love Hotels, and some them are pretty dodgy. But there are a few good ones. I’d go cimg0371as far as to recommend Hotel Vigado and Hotel Riviera. They are both pretty good and reasonably priced on the weekdays. You can get a short stay (3 hours) for about  3500 yen ($35) or a little more than double that and stay all night.

On White Night it can get pretty busy (and pretty expensive).  Outside of the Love Hotels, like at Motels in the States, there are signs that inform you whether rooms are available or not…They’ll say OPEN or FULL or they might have it kanji. However, if cimg03681you know a little something about how these places work then you might be able to ignore the light.

Hotel Vigado’s FULL light was on…I ignored it.

If you’re going to spend the night you can’t check in until 11pm…unless you pay an extra charge. So if you plan to stay, and you anticipate a big crowd like on a major let’s go play at Love Hotel night like White Night, then arrive a little early. When I arrived the FULL light was still lit (see right) but that’s because couples who did not plan to spend the night were getting their 3 hours of fun in before last train. Somewhere between 11pm and 12 midnight they’ll come out and the FULL lamp will turn to OPEN.

So, what do you do? You cop a squat in the ultra clean, ultra gaudy lobby, done up like a Las Vegas hotel or something, and you wait in special waiting areas where couples sit and try not to die of shame. In one sitting area the chairs actually face the wall so that couples can wait in relative anonymity. front11

The cashier’s window is on the right…she can see you but not well- for your privacy. The three tables and six chairs in the back is one waiting area. Looks glitzy doesn’t it? Very Sparkly. (-;

machi1This is another waiting area. These three alcoves contained couples waiting patiently for other couples to vacate the rooms and the cleaning staff to go in and do their best to remove all the remnants the departing couples leave behind. We do not want to think about the job of these clean up people. Whatever they’re paid it’s not enough.  However, they usually do a pretty good job but I probably wouldn’t want to go through the place with one of those gadgets they had in Ocean’s 13. I might never go to any hotel ever again, let alone a Love Hotel. (-;

paneThe usual process is to enter the Love Hotel, go to wall full of glass panels that looks like something from “Jeopardy” and select a room. There are various levels with various amenities and sizes, and of course various prices. I tried to get a close up photo of the panel but because it’s glass and lit up it’s very difficult to shoot… and besides nothing makes Japanese  patrons waiting in the very conspicuous position of everyone knowing you are there to fuck  more comfortable than a foreigner with a camera, right? So, out of courtesy, I only shot this one very quickly. Gomen ne.

cimg0372What you  can see are two prices for room number 608. One price is for a short 3 hour stay, and the other price is for overnight, as I mentioned before, about twice the 3 hour rate. The prices are lower during the week…If the panel is lit that means the room is available.  There’s also a picture of the room and a brief description of its amenities. Can you see the bed in my reflection? Maybe not.

Once you’ve paid the cashier, you pop in elevator and up you go! The elevators are very nice and the hallways are all marble and glass and lights as well with lots of plants and flowers. It’s not luxurious but you get the feeling that they spared no expense which is a good feeling for a place you’re about to sleep in (at some point) to have…deshou?cimg0373

Want to see what inside the room looks like? I bet you do…

To be continued (-;

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9 Responses to “White Night at a Yokohama Love Hotel pt. 1”

  1. cooledskin 16 March 2009 at 12:21 pm Permalink

    So, did you get to bring a date, or did you decide to spend the night there just for us?

  2. Locohama 16 March 2009 at 4:34 pm Permalink

    I rented a artificial date just for you guys (-:
    just joking (not about their availability…you can rent a fake girl, but I didn't)

  3. danielle 4 April 2009 at 7:06 pm Permalink

    where exactly is this place located? is it pretty close to the train station? is it near the main yokohama station or would i need a specific stop. the map on the site is a lil hard to decipher at the moment. if you could give me some landmarks or something that would be great ^__^

  4. jaredinnakano 17 March 2009 at 2:58 am Permalink

    What? You can stroll through the glossy marble lobby and marble halls with a blow-up doll? That's a romantic White Day, ne!

    Thanks so much for the photos and "inside exploration" of the famed love hotels on their most romantic night. I especially enjoyed your observation, "In one sitting area the chairs actually face the wall so that couples can wait in relative anonymity." That must be seen in person no?

    I was somehow expecting something more exotic, and less like a cheesie bank slash mortuary. I thought there might be fun themes, like tropical beach, wild west, kyoto style, hello kitty, blue velvet, or maids' lair.

    From what I heard, these establishments are not open to same-sex couples, so I don't know the full range of what's inside. Of course, even my Tokyo residential neighborhood has a few love hotels, but I've only seen the outsides.

    There are just a few gay love hotels in Ni-chome. I wonder where female couples go?

  5. ItAintEazy 17 March 2009 at 6:45 am Permalink

    I was raised poor, so that looks ritzy enough for me :^). Thanks for the picture tour, Loco-sensei!

  6. cooledskin 17 March 2009 at 7:48 am Permalink

    Maybe one of them shows up first to claim the room, and the other comes a little later, after being texted the room number or something?

    Do the Japanese eroticise the lesbian experience like we do, or is it more underground? I work in a porn shop, and I have never found a proper Japanese porn with two girls sans dude, and it's a staple in North American porn.

  7. Locohama 17 March 2009 at 8:37 am Permalink

    Well, they got them theme love hotels in Shibuya…I've only been to one though. It was like fucking in a Planetarium one moment and the next like being tortured for information in one of those Red Rooms the KGB used to use to break spies. LOL
    You're welcome! My pleasure (-;
    Don't know much about the same sex discrimination issues in Japan…this is a first time to hear about this. )-: Ganbatte ne
    thanks for the shout!

    Loco

  8. Locohama 17 March 2009 at 8:42 am Permalink

    Good Question, Cooledskin, but you are absolutely asking the wrong guy. Even back in the states the lesbian thing didn't do for me, though I don't mind watching two girls kiss in a club or bar just for fun. (-;

    That's a good idea…Jared did you get that?
    But it maybe difficult to creep up in there. Usually the elevator is right in front of the cashier window )=;

    Loco

  9. supreme nothing 17 March 2009 at 6:10 pm Permalink

    Some of the love hotels I've read about seem to be so fully automated at check-in that a same-sex couple could get in quite discreetly, or so I would think.

    I really love the concept of the love hotel, I wish they were here in the US. (we sort of have them, but they're really just super-sketchy run-down joints with hourly rates in bad neighborhoods.)

    Thanks for the detective work on this subject! Looking forward to part 2!


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