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‘Love hotels’, where Japanese people go for sex, turn away gay couples

‘Love hotels’, where Japanese people go for sex, turn away gay couples

  • Japan’s ‘love hotels’ cater for guests wanting sex and typically rent rooms by the hour.
A fantasy room in a Japanese love hotel.

Officials have reprimanded two Japanese ‘love hotels’ after they turned away same-sex couples.

The incidents happened in Amagasaki in the southwest of the country on 5 May.

Two days later, one of the rejected customers reported it to the city.

In response, officials visited the hotels and told the operators that they can not reject same-sex partners.

In 2018, Japan’s health ministry banned hotels and inns under hotel business law from refusing guests on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The operator of one of the hotels accepted the official’s instruction not to discriminate again.

However, the other hotel claimed they turned away the couple for another reason, not because they are gay.

The city official promised: ‘We will continue to enlighten the hotel business in the city not to make those of sexual minorities feel discomfort.’

Amagasaki is one of 51 municipalities in Japan which issue same-sex couples with partnership certificates. However, these don’t have legal authority and LGBT+ campaigners in Japan are still fighting for same-sex marriage.

This month, campaigners made a fresh request for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to deliver national discrimination laws to protect LGBT+ people.

The surprising, sexy world of Japan’s love hotels

The love hotels take their name from the Love Hotel in Osaka, near Amagasaki, built in 1968.

They are very common in Japan. Indeed, they are thought to turn over an incredible $40billion each year.

You can often spot them from their heart logos. In fact, they are so popular they even have an emoji symbol (yes, that’s what that one stands for).

The love hotel emoji.
Mystery solved! The love hotel emoji. Emoji

Entrances are discrete and some hotels have multiple small entrances to help people come and go quietly. This dates back from the 17th century when Japan had tea houses or inns with discrete entrances and even escape tunnels.

Even inside, the discretion continues. Guests often pay using automated machines or hand money to staff hidden behind a screen. Rooms are available for hire by the hour or overnight.

Cheap love hotels are basic. But the more pricey ones boast facilities to spice up your love life.

They may feature sexy anime illustrations, rotating beds, ceiling mirrors, karaoke machines, and unusual lighting. Some include dungeons with S&M gear or other fantasy scenes.

A few hotels extend the fantastical decoration to the outside too. Some of them are shaped like castles, boats or UFOs and lit with neon lighting.

However, the hotel buildings sometimes stand out just because they have small windows or no windows.

Love hotels have also spread to South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and even Canada.