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.
There’s more information about the Meguro Emperor and other love hotels in the book, “Love Hotels – An Inside Look at Japan’s Sexual Playgrounds”. The author spent years visiting love hotels around Japan, interviewing love hotel designers, owners and staff, and wading through Japanese books on sex and love hotels.
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.
There are more love hotel-related posts here.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2009 and has been updated.