Akasaka Love Hotel

MJG Haikyo, Sex Industry, Tokyo-to 26 Comments

The Akasaka Love Hotel Haikyo reminds us of the importance of that old adage: ‘location location location’. Situated at the far end of a strip of Love Hotels on the lake’s ring road, it’s clear this place suffered for lack of passing traffic. Now its forecourt and parking lot are bouldered with rotten 80’s styled furniture, burnt-out cars, and avalanches of mounded pillows. Inside, its gaudy rooms still sing of forbidden pleasures, the walls plastered with bright helios, lurking cheetahs, and naked Bathsheba’s, though I doubt any lusty couples have joined in their bawdy chorus for some time.

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Cheetahs slinking on the walls, video-game parlor styled TV facing an air-hockey bed, great clashing wavy zebra lines on the ceiling.

I should start off with a quick explanation of what Love Hotels are, and how they generally function. In a country with little space, high rents, and low starting salaries, many young people continue to live in the family home well into their 30’s. Combine this with staid traditional values and the parents desire to only meet their offspring’s romantic partner at the wedding ceremony, and you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for sexual frustration.

Love Hotels function as an affordable escape valve for that rising pressure, offering short ‘rests’ of four hours as well as all-night stays. Love Hotels could be equated with cheap roadside motels in American movies where the married man goes to conduct his affair. They’re like that, but can be found anywhere, from the bustle of city centre red light districts to the rustic romanticism of forested lake-sides. And wherever they go, they take their jingly jangly glamor with them, coming in a wide variety of fantasy fulfillment bizarely decked out love pens.

I went to this one a few weeks ago on my bike, barely scraping by under the deadline for my ride back and to work- the ride there being 30km when I thought it was only 20km. I had about an hour to check it out, but that was plenty as the place only had about 6 rooms, only 3 of them worth taking shots of.

The fence had been cut open and I easily hopped through, waded over the garbage in the forecourt, and went straight on into the first room:

The Cheetah Room.

Cheetahs (Tigers?) and headboard.

After snapping a few photos in here, I moved across the hall to:

The Helios Room.

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Vibrant blood-orange wall-paper, nuclear-proton-pulse orange ceiling paper, and chiffon yellow bed, complete with headboard mirrors.

Helios and headboard and golden spike.

Zooming protons fly overhead.

And one more, because I like the colors so much.

After that I ducked out, went down the hall a few steps, and was immediately struck by the interior door of:

The Bathsheba Room.

A room of extreme sin.

Dark naked seraphim dance on the walls around a Bacchanalic golden chariot bed.

One of them is wearing a pheasant.

A beautiful contrast with the candy-stripe ceiling.

Beyond the rooms was some of the usual wreckage, including a room filled with trash but for a curiously-placed copy of the the Star Wars A New Hope soundtrack on vinyl.

This wall-smashing is fairly recent, compare to almost the same shot on Tokyo Times but for the vandalism (a tip of the hat to Lee at Tokyo Times for putting me onto the location of this haikyo- cheers Lee).

Grimy sink.

After that I hopped on my bike and raced home, just in time to shower, change, and get off to work.

FACTFILE

Entry – Very easy, through the cut-open fence.

Highlights – First time to lay eyes on the Bathsheba Room wall-paper, I was smitten!

RUINS / HAIKYO

You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here:

[album id=4 template=compact]

Comments 26

  1. Nice to see some different pictures of the place Mike, just a pity there’s the added vandalism. That little room with the sofa in it was my favourite spot. It was so peaceful before.

    That’s the way it goes though I guess, especially as the place is so accessible.

    Talking of sad, did you see the discarded wedding albums outside?

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    Lee- Wedding albums, were they amongst the other trash stuff? I skipped past all that really in my hurry to get into the place and take photos quickly. Vandalism- I totally agree, seeing the Izu Sports World more vandalized really disappointed me.

    Tornadoes- Star Wars, ha, odd right? Guess one of the hoteliers there was a fan.

    Alice- Sexy retro is the ONLY retro, my friend 😉

    Honor- Thanks, glad you liked it- shooting haikyo love hotels is actually a bit of a popular sub-culture in Japan, at least within the haikyo community.

  3. Hi, from one fellow Mike to another!

    I am in awe of your adventures entering haikyo around Japan! Also extremely impressed you had the nerve to go to some of these places alone and stay the night! I’ve done a little bit of adventuring in Japan myself over the last few years, although my tales are far less risky I guess.

    I’ve been on a pilgrimage around Shodoshima (an island in the South of Japan), walking for a week and visiting shrines and temples. Due to my frugality, one of the nights I stayed in a shrine that was unlocked. It set my heart racing the next morning when I was woken up at 5am by an old lady paying her respects in the main room just next door! I’ve also been hiking on Yakushima (an island much further South) with thousands of year-old trees and also hitch-hiked for one week from Akita in the North to Kumamoto in the South, climbing Mount Fuji along the way. But what is this? It sounds like a resume! I just wanted to say, from one adventurer to another, I share your passion!

    I’m still currently a student in the UK, but with any luck I’ll be getting back out to Japan once I graduate. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit some of these awesome places you’ve documented so well!

    Would you mind me linking to your site from my own?

    And finally, a shameless plug, but if you happen to have a lot of free time on your hands, you may be interested to browse my article on Yakushima. The writing isn’t great, but it has lots of pictures ^^.

    Oh! And one final point. Have you heard of the suicide woods near Mount Fuji know as Jukai? Not quite Haikyo, but one for the yurei hunters. My friend went with a circle she was in and said she found all sorts of weird stuff! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aokigahara

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    Hey Mike- great comment, thanks for taking the time. Linking to my site- please, feel free :).

    Sounds like your adventures around Japan are pretty interesting, I’ve never hitch-hiked myself, nor really been to any of the smaller islands, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to get round to.

    Suicide woods- now this is a good idea. I’d never heard of it, but now am very keen to go check it out. I heard since from my students there are telephone boxes way out in the woods to try and turn suicidees away from their suicidal intent and coax them back to life. Also yeah, I heard tell of people finding wallets, cash, ID cards, etc…

    As for the haikyo on my site- when/if you get back to Japan, I’ll be happy to help you out with some maps for their locations.

  5. Done and done. I’ll definitely take you up on that offer for maps when I get back out there! Not sure where I’ll be stationed yet though..

  6. hey i tried to post a comment but it didn’t work or so it seems…
    i said: found your website yesterday and went to that place immediately.
    pics are here :http://kaidankamera.blogspot.com/
    (but i have troubles with that blogger site, th pics are limited in size or smething… weird. forgot to mention your site also.. i’ll fix that later.)
    so eh, thanks, and please, could you help me with the location of that mining village place ? would be very nice. send me an email !
    congrats for your site. (It’s maybe a bit too explicative, those places will be filled with gaijin like me soon ! 😉 )

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    Hey oli- thanks for the comment and link, I’ll get in touch about Nichitsu. Generally I prefer to exchange haikyo locations, like swapping baseball cards. As for explaining locations too much on my site- well, I used to have maps up, but took them down after returning to a haikyo a second time and finding it in worse condition than when I’d left. I felt like I might have been partly responsible for that, so decided to only share locations with serious and respectful haikyoists.

  8. When I went to Japan two times; I stayed for one month each time, I remember when I asked my friend Takashi about a hotel that caught my eye in the city, he said it was a love hotel. I later found out what that was. I guess you can pick any fantasy you want and pay by the hour instead of the night. I laughed, being a virgin and also being naive, I assumed about the Asians and their culture. After leaving Japan for my month stay, I left the country with a whole new perspective. All I can say, I did return and stayed for another month, I will leave the dissecting up to you. Even though I never officially had sex in Asia, boy, nor girl…. I know that the sexuality of the country is far underestimated in some areas… Good or bad that is up for debate, but acknowledging the existence of the sexuality is no longer an issue. I smirk every time I give my email address for it brings me back to my first visit to the distant land, which I will never lose my admiration.

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    Rebecca- A debate about the sexuality of Japan, phew, could be a long and heated one. I tend to disapprove of the kind of sexuality they have going on here. The whole kawaii sexy thing, the total demure ‘oh my god I have breasts!?’ type thing really puts me off. I can see why it might appeal, but it’s an appeal to something that I think should not be encouraged, to an archetype of women as helpless and without any kind of power. There’s a lot of rape fantasy about, you might even say it’s main-stream. My experience of Japanese porn is similar- often involving S&M type situations, with the woman crying but continuing, etc.. Dudes reading rape-fantasy on the train, that kind of manga on sale in every conveni at the height any kid can reach it. Ugh.

    Amy- You could go by train but it would be quite a walk from there to the location. Perhaps you could get a taxi. The nearest station would probably be Seibukyujomae. Good luck finding it.

  10. Hey, thanks for all the great pictures. I’ve been devoting my mondays to haikyo-hunting in west Tokyo and managed to find this love hotel (along with a few others newly abandoned in the area) about 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend returning as the above site has been almost completely destroyed by age and, more obviously, bored and/or drunk people. The floor has fallen through in a number of places and many walls have had large holes knocked through them. Also, much of that spectacular ‘bathsheba’ wall paper has been torn down. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but i thought you might like an update. On the upside there are a few other sites in the area that have opened up so it might be worth a look-see…

  11. I went by here yesterday, too, and will second that it is quite a mess. Rotten through and through. The neighboring ruins are definitely worth a visit, though, despite many signs warning of mumashi. As mentioned above, there is also now a very fresh (abandoned August 2008) and well-preserved love hotel a little before this one…..

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    Laura and tt- I swung by a few months back, agreed it is in worse shape than I found it originally. It`s interesting to see how it degrades/gets degraded. Laura you mention other locations, care to share?

    Alma- Thanks, that`s appreciated 🙂

  15. That Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi “record” is actually a LaserDisc – note the logo in the bottom left corner of the sleeve (the actual discs would have made it more obvious)

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  17. Hey Mike,
    I am currently in Tokyo visiting my girlfriend who is studying here. I have been staying for a few weeks now and am getting more and more eager to visit some Haikyos in and around Tokyo. Thus I’ve been checking the web (incl. your website) and it has turned out that a lot of interesting places mentioned on various sites are no longer accessible. So it has become quite frustrating to search for spots and whether they can be visited anymore!

    So before getting a Railpass or some bus tickets (yes, unfortunately we don’t have a car) and heading for some Haikyos I wanted to get in touch with you as an apparent expert on this field. Do you have any recommendations on spots such as love hotels, mines and abandoned houses/theme parks in this area that are somewhat accessible with public transport? It would be extremely helpful for me as a non-japanese speaker if you could give me some hints.

    Thank you very much and take care!
    All the best,
    Chris

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    Hi Christopher, I’d love to help you out but there’s kind of unwritten rules about not just giving locations away. I can however direct you to this book, which with a bit of careful map-reading can be used to decipher locations, some of which you can see on my site.

    http://rcm-jp.amazon.co.jp/e/cm?t=micaheljohngr-22&o=9&p=8&l=as1&asins=4990371208&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

    To see if those places are still standing, I recommend you look at this page where the demolished/abandoned spots get catalogued-

    http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/2010/01/all-the-demolished-haikyo/

    Sorry I’m not more helpful than that, but with a little work you’ll be able to start finding spots for yourself. Best of luck with it!

  19. I got seriously into haikyo exploration and photography while doing a road trip through the northern part of Honshu last year. At first I didn’t look specifically for abandoned places, I just came across a huge number of them by chance. Towards the end of my trip I started researching interesting places online (Queen Chateau Soapland and some love hotels) and working out where they are.

    I’ll be going on another trip this year, so this time I’m doing some research ahead of time. Although sites like this don’t give out locations (for good reasons) there’s often just enough information to work out where the places are with a little online detective work.

    I’ve tracked down the Akasaka, but sadly it appears to have been demolished. Google street view leaves me in no doubt that I’ve found the right place, but the aerial view shows a patch of bare ground.

  20. Hey Michael,

    I’ll be in Tokyo in a few days and would love to check out this place (if its still there… just saw the date on this post!) and/ or anything similar you’ve come across in your wanderings. Think you could help me out with some addresses or directions or anything? I sure would appreciate it.

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