In the 1920s, love hotels were called tsurekomi yado, which literally means “bring along inn.” They evolved from tea houses called deiai chaya that allowed men to bring prostitutes or lovers onto the premises and rent a room upstairs for a liason.
There are none of these operating as love hotels anymore, but there is one in Osaka that has been converted into a restaurant. It’s called Hyakuban and is in Tennoji.
This elegant old building has so much character that you’re intstantly taken back in time to a simpler, more graceful time. Pull aside the sliding doors to reveal the elgant wooden bridge in the front hall, and walk past traidtional woodcarvings and woodblock prints on your way to your own little room. They serve traditional Japanese foods like sukiyaki, shabu shabu, and chanko nabe. I wouldn’t go there just for the food because it was good but not spectacular, but it certainly is a unique, atmospheric dining experience.
Here’s the Hyakuban homepage (Japanese only): http://r.gnavi.co.jp/k069800/
Address: 3-5-25 Sanno, Nishinari-ku, Tel. (06) 6632-0050. Reservations required. Dinner costs an average of 5000 yen per person.
There’s more information about love hotels in my new book, Love Hotels: An Inside Look at Japan’s Sexual Playgrounds. I spent years visiting love hotels around Japan, interviewing love hotel designers, owners and staff, and wading through Japanese books on sex and love hotels to bring you this book.
It’s 182 pages of information about their history, the people who design and operate them, their place in Japanese society, crime, and much, much more. There’s also a love hotel guide with information on how to get to the best hotels in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, Sapporo, and Fukuoka.
For more information about love hotels, please visit my newly updated love hotel page at: http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/lovehotels.html
To order or find out more about the book, please visit: http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/lovehotelbookintro.htm. There’s also a smaller guidebook, with just the hotel information for 500 yen: http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/lovehotelguide.html.
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