The Mermaid’s Stroll Love Hotel


I came across this odd little love hotel will driving along the coast of Wakayama Prefecture. It’s called Ningyou no Osanpo.

There’s more information about   love hotels in my 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.

There are more love hotel-related posts here.

The Breast Shrine

Japan has both a shrine and temple devoted to breasts, the Karube Shrine in Okayama Prefecture, and Mama Chichi Kannon Temple in Aichi (I’ll post about it next week).

The Karube Shrine in Soja City, Okayama Prefecture is dedicated to the Chichigamisama (Goddess of Breasts), a deity believed to help with everything from safe births to the production of breast milk to breast cancer cures. It was built in 1678, and was once famous for a cherry tree known as the “tarachine cherry tree.” Tarachine means mother, but has the chinese character for “breast” in it, and it seems that the shrine became associated with breasts because of its weeping cherry tree.
Today, you can find many wishes from women suffering from breast cancer, or who are asking the goddess to help them with breastfeeding. And, of course, a few just want a bigger bust.
breast shrine

Photo courtesy of: http://ya7454nora.blog87.fc2.com/blog-entry-83.htmlbreast shrine2

These breast-motif votive plaques cost 2000 yen. There’s ordering information at: http://www.okasci.or.jp/kibiji/kibijinohana/seinenbu.html

Getting there:
From Okayama Station, take the Hakubi Line bound for Niimi to Seion Station. It takes 23 minutes and costs 400 yen. The shrine is three minutes by taxi from Seion Station.
Seion Karube, Soja-shi, Okayama Prefecture.
Tel. 0866-94-0118
Google Maps: http://maps.google.co.jp/maps?t=h&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=34.637092,133.729706&spn=0.047244,0.102139&z=14

Shinjuku Love Hotel

shinjuku love hotel

love-hotel-coverThere’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.

There are more love hotel-related posts
here.

Courtesan Procession in Shinagawa

Embarrassing confession: until a few years ago, I thought a “courtesan” was a female courtier. Just on the off-chance that you’re confused like I was, a courtesan is a prostitute. The oiran were, like geisha, more than just prostitutes, though, and were renowned for their music, dancing, poetry, and calligraphy. They were farther toward the coital end of the sex-worker spectrum than geisha, and were the aristocracy of the pleasure quarters. There’s an interesting Wikipedia article about them at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oiran

oiran 9

oiran 01

Oiran were fashion trend-setters. The high-ranking ones wore these huge shoes and had a style of walking where they dragged their feet out sideways in a semi-circle. You can see it in this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNncpdEFOB0&feature=related. The shoes weigh 2.5 kgs.

oiran shoes 2

oiran kid

oiran2

oiran8

oiran 4

oiran 5


The procession is held in Shinagawa and takes place every year on the first Saturday in June, and is part of a larger mikoshi festival. The procession starts at 6:30, not from the Shinagawa Bridge (as the Japan Times Festival Listings said, causing me to wait in the wrong place) but up the road farther toward Shinagawa Station. If you come to the bridge, keep going, cross the big road and turn left. I believe it’s here.

<http://www.google.co.jp/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=ja&geocode=&q=%E5%93%81%E5%B7%9D&sll=36.949892,136.40625&sspn=48.185068,71.806641&ie=UTF8&ll=35.618169,139.743416&spn=0.000366,0.000548&t=h&z=21&layer=c&cbll=35.618177,139.743523&panoid=O7bd7U4gXmwqG_AgjYBrRQ&cbp=12,4.65,,0,12.93>

Love Hotel Car Wash

free car wash

The love hotel business is a very competitive one, and they’re always trying to come up with new ways to attract customers. This love hotel in Osaka offers free carwashes to its patrons.Instead of the car moving through the car wash, the car wash moves back and forth over the car.

love-hotel-coverThere’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.

There are more love hotel-related posts
here.

Cosplay Hooker

cosplay hooker

A costume play hooker coming out of an Ikebukuro love hotel. I was more than a little curious about what was in the suitcase.

Hotel Broccoli

hotel-broccoli

The Hotel Broccoli in Osaka’s Tanimachi-9chome love hotel district.

love-hotel-coverThere’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.

There are more love hotel-related posts
here.

Kanamara Penis Festival Reminder

This is just a reminder that Japan’s  most bizarre, hilarious festival is coming up soon. This year it will be held on Sunday April 5.

kanamara-overview-2

kanamara-mikoshi

kanamara-ema

kanamara-candy

kanamara-souvenirs

Video of the festival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SggvPrkoJUI
Shrine homepage: http://tomuraya.co.jp/wakamiya.htm (Japanese only)

2-3-16 Daishi Eki-mae, Misaki-ku, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Inside the grounds of Wakamiya Hachimangu.

To get there, take the Keikyu line from Shinagawa Station. Transfer to the Keikyu-Daishi Line at Keikyu Kawasaki Station and get out at Keikyu-Daishi. It takes about 45 minutes and costs 580 yen. The festival starts at 10:00 AM.web analytics The main event, the penis procession starts at 1:00 PM.

There are other posts about the festival here:
http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/?s=kanamara

Love Hotel Restaurant

hyakuban

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.

hyakuban5
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.hyakuban2

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.

love-hotel-coverThere’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.

There are more love hotel-related posts
here.

The Meguro Emperor Love Hotel

emperor

This is the Meguro Emperor, Japan’s all-time most famous love hotel. When it opened in 1973, it was the Cadillac of love hotels. Designed by the famous architect Yasuhisa Kurosaka, it was a monument to 1970s kitsch, and its fairy tale castle exterior became something of a touists attraction. The hotel’s 30 rooms featured a gondola, playground slides, and all manner of vibrating, rotating, and gyrating beds.

The boom quickly ended, though, and it was bought out by another company, and renamed the Meguro Club Sekitei. I was surprised to see that it has changed its name back to the Meguro Emperor. Unfortunately, they haven’t brought back the gondola beds.

love-hotel-coverThere’s more information about the Meguro Emperor and other 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.

There are more love hotel-related posts here.