Japan is famous for its gaudy and over-the-top love hotels. There are lots of stories about hotels that look like palaces with so many amenities packed in each room that you could stay a full weekend and never tire. But, the truth is that most love hotels pack the essentials: a bed, a bathroom and a TV. This is all fine if you're providing the entertainment, but if you're looking for a love hotel experience that may include a pool inside your room, outdoor jacuzzis, cinema screens or cosplay, check some of these places out.
The ultimate love hotel area in Tokyo is Dogenzaka hill in Shibuya. Some of the most ostentatious and over-the-top hotels in the city are located there, and you'll find all kinds of rooms.
For a luxurious experience with thematic rooms, head to P&A Plaza, which is located slightly off the main buzz. Room 901 includes a 17 square meter pool, while room 902 has a cave bath similar to the famous playboy grotto. Other rooms are designed in Moroccan, neo-japanesque and Bali themes, and each room has some quirky feature like bathtubs that light up, massage chairs or a karaoke machine. One of the advantages is that they take reservations, and you can book parties for 4-10 people in the top suites (you need to contact the hotel for prices, as it depends on the number of people).
By the same group, Art P&A Plaza offers rooms decorated with contemporary art and an emphasis on the bathtub. The top-seller is room 404, which features a retractable ceiling that turns the bathtub into an outdoor jacuzzi. The bathtub in room 403 lights up in seven different tones, while room 106 has an old Victorian-style tub that stands on golden legs.
The Club Chapel group runs three hotels in Shibuya, and the buildings are probably the loudest and funniest you will see. The rooms are a bit on the small side, but are comfortable, cheap and full of amenities. Sign up to become a member at the entrance (it's free), and you get access to discounts, and free services like cosplay costumes, playstations, massage machines and more. Casa Di Due is located right on Dogenzaka Hill while Casa Nova and NeoCosmo are a bit farther away.
Ikebukuro is another location with a concentration of love hotels. For a luxurious experience, head for Hotel Aroma, where the rooms come in contemporary Japanese, Oriental, stylish and Bali designs. Room 101 is a party room, where up to four guests can stay, while room 501 is the top suite.
Shinjuku is best known for its no-frills love hotels, but head to the Bali An resort, where you can play pool and darts on the ground floor, and they take reservations. Alternatively, head to room 703 at the Atlas hotel, where the screen for the projector dubs as a window between the bathroom and the bed, and you can watch movies from either place.
For movie buffs, head to Cinema Inn Cast at Otsuka station, where room 802 can hold parties of up to ten people in its two floors, and has a screen over 50 inches big.
Finally, there's the big daddy of love hotels, but you'll need a car to get there. The Rock Nine Dragon Castle is a love hotel theme park. The building and the lobby are designed after Alcatraz, while each room has its own surprises. Room 103 has an aquarium embedded in the wall that is visible both from the room and the bathroom. Room 107 has a greenhouse with a tropical rainforest, complete with thunderstorms! Room 309 is the Dragon chamber, with illumination effects to whisk you away to fantasy land (and a 100-inch TV), while room 206 has a special projector that turns the walls of the bathroom into an ocean scene, giving you the feeling that you're underwater.
If you're unsure about the mechanics of checking in and out of a love hotel, have a look at our love hotel article for details.
Who knew a romantic night out could be this fun!