Japan ends 'love hotels' affair in favour of hostels

posted on November 23, 2015

The discreet basement entrance of the Hotel Sunflower in Tokyo has a note on the door to spare the blushes of young Japanese lovers: rooms are no longer available by the hour.

The Sunflower - now the Khaosan World reservation-only facility for foreign travellers - is the latest "love hotel" to be converted into a backpackers' hostel following a surge in foreign tourism and a declining number of young people in Japan.

Japan is on course to meet its 2020 goal of 20m foreign visitors five years early thanks to the weakness of the yen and a surge in Chinese tourists. Tourism is a big part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth strategy.

The population of Japanese in their twenties - who traditionally used love hotels to escape from small and crowded family homes - fell from 18m in 2000 to 13m in 2013. According to the National Police Agency, the number of love hotels is declining by about 2 per cent a year, from 6,259 in 2010 to 5,940 in 2013.

The result is a change in tone for Asakusa, where the temples that attracted the tourists once sat in a gritty, working area of town, but are now surrounded by streets full of restaurants and tourist shops.

source by ft
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