Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Trysts. Young lovers. Parents who want to get away. "Love Hotels" offer short stays and some truly off-the-wall rooms.

Love Hotels, or "rabuho" (ラブホ) for short, began in Osaka during the late 1960s. Japan's version of the "no-tell motel", they became big business, and even Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi opened one.

At that time, the local Japanese press noted, "The only benefit Yamauchi might have derived from this is that he and his partners don't need to pay for the rooms, and that might in the end constitute a substantial saving."

But as more and more hotels popped up during the 1970s and 1980s, the need to stand out became increasingly important. Many love hotels have rooms that somewhat resemble normal hotel rooms—they might even be larger than your typical Japanese hotel's.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

If you are ever in Japan, love hotels are worth checking out, if only because you can sometimes find a larger room at a cheaper price. While generally safe, just don't forget that all sorts of things go on in love hotels: some legal, some not.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Outside, love hotels are gaudy and showy. There's usually nothing subtle about these establishments. Often, they're themed and have foreign-sounding names. But not always.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

They're supposed to transport you to another world, even if that world is utterly silly.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Some of them even look like castles.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Or Christmas.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Or New York City.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Or even a U.F.O.

However, there are some truly unusual love hotels offering amenities that even surprise people in Japan.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

How about a room with a Japanese bridge in it?

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Or a carousel? (Photo: Misty Keasler)

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

You might love this car. Just don't love this car. And if you get bored, there's a slot machine to pass the time.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Or maybe this kind of car bed is more your speed.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Or perhaps, you don't even like cars. You could be into riding on trains. (Photo: Misty Keasler)

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

You're on a boat. Sorta.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Groovy, baby! But rotating beds have been around for donkey's yonks.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

But a dome? I wonder what it's for...

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

A room with a view.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Ever since the Famicom days, video game consoles have been available in love hotels. They're fairly common. But, as Kotaku previously posted, DDR machines? That's highly unusual.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Ditto for this classroom. (Photo: Misty Keasler)

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Just hope "Under the Sea" isn't piped in through the stereo.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Everything tacky about the 1980s distilled into a single room.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Kinda wish space stations looked like this.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Here's a cosmos-themed room for bashful types.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

There are lots of S&M themed rooms, if that's your thing. (Photo: Misty Keasler)

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Staying in shape is important, even for Victorians. I guess?

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

There's nothing sexier than your local pub.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

All rooms are equipped with baths—some of them quite large. Here, Disney characters can watch and judge you silently.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

For when things get Roman.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Having a BBQ is probably prohibited. Other things are probably okay.

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

Inside Japan's Pleasure Hotels

This love hotel has a water slide. And who the hell doesn't love water slides?!

You can learn more about love hotels in this Nippon.com article written by Ikkyon Kim of Kobe Gakuin University. The lead image in this story comes courtesy of Nippon.com.

Photos: SumaCole, Misty Keasler , Hotel Ray Field, Couples, Hotel Mirage, Love Connection,シャンティ, 運動器具, 海底ルーム, KJ, Burger, Wiki, 地球を離れて, Love Connection, LiveDoor, 神々の風景, キラキラ, Cosmos, 東京ベイ船橋ビビットMyNavi, Hotel Hyper, Sumacole

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

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