Staying at a Japanese Love Hotel is quite the romantic experience…or is it? Find out all about our experience here.
Recently we went on an adventure to “old Japan.” We spent time in Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. Being prepared, we decided to make our hotel reservations prior to the trip. In Osaka we reserved two “rooms” in a capsule hotel (but we’ll talk about that another time) and in Kyoto we used a well-known hotel reservation site to find and book a hotel that was affordable.
The hotel we decided on was called “Hotel Cinderella” it looked beautiful and was actually in our price range (turns out Kyoto is expensive!). We also liked that the hotel was a “no children” hotel, this isn’t uncommon in Japan, but it is still a plus on occasion.
We arrived in Kyoto around 5pm; we had taken the train from Kobe that day. We decided it would be a good idea to try to check in before we did any exploring so we wouldn’t have to lug our luggage around. We found the hotel and it was so Japanese! There were etchings of Cinderella in the glass of the doors and little soldiers guarding the grounds. We walked through the door and the first thing that greeted us was a table full of beautiful bath salts. I look to the left and see the elevator and the shrouded reception desk and the room “menu”. To the right were three private lobbies….then it hit me.
I tugged on my husband and whispered, “I think we are in a love-hotel,” and we both starting giggling incessantly. But, this was where our reservation was, so we were in it to win it! We tried to talk to the front reception, but they were busy on the phone, so they sent us to lobby room 1. The waiting room consisted of a TV, a bench, and a phone. Soon our private phone rang and we were summoned to the desk again. They politely explained that we couldn’t check in until 8pm (yup, love-hotel), but at least we were allowed to leave our bags.
We went out to explore Kyoto and have sushi for dinner. The cherry blossoms were beautiful. Then around 8, we returned to Hotel Cinderella. That’s when the fun really began! They gave us the “key” to our room and sent us on our way. The key was not a key, and actually had nothing to do with getting in and out of the room. It was just a plastic block that had the room number on it; our door was propped open for us to enter when we got there and locked when the door closed. Guess we are staying in for the rest of the night.
It turns out that we had booked one of the more high class rooms the hotel offered and so it was chock full of amenities. The room was decorated like it was from Cinderella’s castle. There were chandeliers and beautiful mirrors. The Jacuzzi bath was also a nice touch. And then there were the love-hotel specials: vending machines (instead of a mini-fridge) one full of drinks and snacks, the other full of…love supplies. A PlayStation 2, a karaoke machine, and a pachinko machine were all present. Next to the bed were a fancy lamp and a personal massager. The coffee table presented a few different menus, including one for costumes and one for sexy mood lighting. The mood lighting included dim, dimmer, and disco!
Honestly, it was one of the best surprises we’ve ever had. True, we should have been able to guess it was a love-hotel from the ad on the website, but it was a very commonly used hotel site, and I didn’t know you could reserve love-hotels on the internet! We stayed up for a bit taking pictures and giggling about the whole situation (you’ll have to excuse some of the pictures; I was laughing so hard I couldn’t keep the camera from shaking). Then I took a bath with some of the bath salts from the lobby and we passed out. I’ll admit the king-sized bed was not too comfortable, but I suppose it’s number one use isn’t normally sleeping.
The fun didn’t stop there though! Come eight o’clock the next morning there was a buzz at our door. Next to the room’s entrance there was a privacy cubby that opened out to the hallway on side and perpendicular to the door on the inside, so that you can’t see in or out if both doors are open. They had delivered our breakfast. Breakfast was a healthy egg sandwich, some fried chicken, and sausages. We ate breakfast with our chopsticks and were out of the room before nine. All-in-all, a wonderful surprise!
Have you ever had a travel surprise? Are you ready to hit a Japanese love hotel for Valentine’s Day?
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.