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Chinese tour groups give love hotels a boost

23 Comments

China's weeklong lunar new year holiday began Feb 8, with predictions, based on the number of landing permits issued by Japanese consulates in mainland China, that a record-setting number of big-spending visitors were headed this way.

NHK was quick to juggle its news coverage between outrage over North Korea's test of a missile and reports of hordes of beaming Chinese visitors bent on shopping until they drop.

Friday (Feb 12) got wind of another activity designed to amuse its readers. It seems that Chinese tour groups are renting out entire love hotels. A photo accompanying the article shows a large bus parked adjacent to a hotel, where a sign has been posted to warn customers that the hotel is "kashi-kiri" (reserved or chartered).

This particular establishment -- the name was not divulged -- is located about 15 minutes by car from central Nagoya, in an area containing a cluster of some 20 such businesses. Apparently from November of last year, bus caravans of as many as 100 Chinese tourists, including families with children, began converging on the area.

"Around evening, a lot of Chinese walk into the shop in groups," says the cashier at a nearby convenience store. "If they're accompanied by the tour guide, he or she will interpret for them, but otherwise I have no idea what they're saying. They'll use their smartphones to tap out words like 'shokuji' (meal) or 'sempatsu-ryo' (shampoo), and I'll recommend what I think it is they are asking for. The most popular items are instant noodles and cosmetics. I've seen families literally clean off entire shelves of merchandise."

The buses typically arrive at the hotel in the early evening, following a day of sightseeing. Families, including parents holding their children's hands, can be seen descending from the buses and walking across the parking lot to the hotel entrance.

"We were first approached last summer by a Chinese tour operator, who asked if we were willing to accommodate their groups," the operator of a love hotel tells Friday. "Recently the business climate hasn't been very good, and thinking it might turn out to be a real godsend, we agreed, and they began booking space for groups of 40 people a night. By November, we were letting them reserve the whole hotel. Because there were small children in the groups, we removed the sex toys from view, and installed twin beds in the rooms. We also found a Chinese speaker to work at the front desk, so there have been no major problems at all."

One of the main reasons why Chinese have been turning to love hotel accommodations is simply a shortage of vacancies in conventional hotels, brought on by the exponential growth -- up last year by about 50% from 2014. With rooms at a premium, average prices at tourist hotels in Tokyo in the first half of last year increased to 17,500 yen -- up by 32% over room rates in 2011.

The love hotels have offered competitive rates to the foreign visitors starting from as low as 3,500 yen per night, with no additional charges for accompanying preschool age children.

"Many hotels in China are rather drab, and beholding the sight of Japan's glitzy love hotels makes visitors happy 'merely to be there' -- so they've got a good reputation," says journalist Satoshi Tomisaka. "In many cases, the love hotels are recommended by Chinese living in Japan.”

But according to Tomisaka, some newcomers, awash in cash, don't have a clear idea of what the going rates are for some services.

"They'll hire a taxi to take them from Haneda to the city center, and as opposed to around a normal fare of 10,000 yen maximum, they'll wind up paying three times that amount. Then as a gesture of good will, the driver will help them find accommodations at a cheap love hotel. They might think they're getting a good deal, but actually they're paying a premium," he said.

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They’ll hire a taxi to take them from Haneda to the city center, and as opposed to around a normal fare of 10,000 yen maximum, they’ll wind up paying three times that amount. Then as a gesture of good will, the driver will help them find accommodations at a cheap love hotel. They might think they’re getting a good deal, but actually they’re paying a premium,” he said.

The famous "omoteinashi" at work here? Just like giving them a kiss after raping them in the arse!

A rather delightful article that leaves a bad taste in my mouth after the reading the last paragraph. These tourists are big business for Japan and ripping them off is not a great way to leave a good impression or expect that they will come back.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Chinese tour groups give love hotels a boost

I thought Chinese tourists were boosting the sales of Viagra and/or Condoms ! Simply love hotels transformed to business hotels? Am i missing something here?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The other appeal of love hotels is that they are charged by the room than by the person.

But it sounds like in the case of these busloads of Chinese they've switched to the business hotel model of charging per person.

If I ran a love hotel I'd keep charging by the room to get a step up on my competitors.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Every time I go to Tokyo on business, I'll stay in Love Hotel. Its more spacious and cheaper than a business hotel. This is old news.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I don't know what I would do if a family of 4 or 5 wants to book one room, most likely charge per person too.

Tourists are ripped all over the globe, common to charge different prices for locals and tourists. Seen it in way too many countries.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Because guests never register, love hotels have long been known to be notorious tax cheaters (sushi shops and pachinko parlours being the other two in the top three). Not sure this place would expect to cook the books with a busload of foreigners paid for by one source. No doubt he'll find a way tho...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@yubaru

A rather delightful article that leaves a bad taste in my mouth after the reading the last paragraph. These tourists are big business for Japan and ripping them off is not a great way to leave a good impression or expect that they will come back

It's standard practise in China (for drivers to rip people off), so while I agree it's out of order and drivers in Japan shouldn't be doing the same, it's unlikely to particularly put Chinese tourists off.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It's standard practise in China (for drivers to rip people off)

Not standard practice at all in my experience. Taxis are metered, and the meters seem to be pretty consistent to me - I usually make back and forth trips from my hotels to whichever client's offices, and there is little variance between the costs of the taxis.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Hi Strangerland,

Yes the key is whether they turn the meter on; I lived in Beijing for a while, and while they do usually use the meter when you flag them down, there are times when they will refuse and attempt to charge you three times what the rate would be. This usually happens outside Beijing South or Beijing West station (especially after 11pm when the subway stops) and they're targeting tourists and out-of-towners; likewise, drivers in Tokyo will always put the meter in, yet the article tells us that they're ripping off visitors from the airport. So to clarify what I meant, ripping people off from airports or long-distance train stations is standard practise in China and so unlikely to be particularly off-putting to Chinese visitors who encounter the same in Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I heard that quite a lot of love hotels here in Tokyo at least are actually Chinese owned, so it might be a case of the Chinese looking after the Chinese.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Spanki: I heard that quite a lot of love hotels here in Tokyo at least are actually Chinese owned, so it might be a case of the Chinese looking after the Chinese.

Make sure to put a sheet over the (two-way) mirror.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have found drivers in Japan to always use meters except at night when they might negotiate a long distance fare but 3 times over the metered fare-that is hard to believe!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yoshitsune Im surprised that they do that in Japan though. I thought it was all about omotenashi

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They might think they’re getting a good deal, but actually they’re paying a premium,” he said.

You mean "but actually being ripped off".

@Yoshitsune

So to clarify what I meant, ripping people off from airports or long-distance train stations is standard practise in China

Apparently also standard in Japan then.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Simply love hotels transformed to business hotels? Am i missing something here?

Well if they leave the condoms on the nightstand, I'm sure those tiny things would fit the average chinese male tourists just as it would a japanese guy.

Are these hotels' TVs featuring Pokemon re-runs for the kids? Instead of that garbage j-porn?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The inbound tourism spike is fast approaching, if it hasn't already passed, its use-by-date. In the last few weeks Korea and China, which account for close to two thirds of the numbers, have seen their currencies trashed against the yen. Adding insult to injury, stock prices and asset valuations in both these countries are being pummelled, depriving even more these narikin arrivistes the wherewithal to afford expensive overseas holidays. If there is a bright spot, it's that many of these tour group marauders are here in search of a bolt hole to stash away some of their fast disintegrating wealth before it evaporates altogether. To that extent, Japan will continue to benefit from the money these people will need to finance their exploratory forays.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have found drivers in Japan to always use meters except at night when they might negotiate a long distance fare but 3 times over the metered fare-that is hard to believe!!!

Are they really charging 3 times the metered fare, or is the problem that they are using a normal taxi when they could have gotten a fixed fare with a different one? I'm not familiar with the the area, so just asking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Be careful what you sit on, you could be charged for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If a Chinese visit gets ripped off because they do not know the rates between Haneda and Tokyo destinations, it is because they have not bothered to look at the numerous sites in both PRC and Taiwan style Chinese that tell you what the rates are. Some of the companies operating taxis out of Haneda (Keikyu for example) also have Chinese speaking operators to take bookings.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Be careful what you sit on, you could be charged for it.

Be careful about everything. Doorknobs, toilet seats, showers, sinks, carpet etc . . . lots of freaky things have happened there. Love Hotels are usually used for "quickies" . . . don't these "tourist" know this?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The thing with the taxis is about the fact that if you book a taxi specifically for taking you to the airport, they charge a fixed rate (of about 10k). If you just hop in a taxi and say take me to Tokyo, they will use the meter which will come out to a lot more (i knew Narita was around 30k, i didnt realise Haneda was too)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hopped in a taxi from Haneda to out on the keio line a few months back, and they charged me a flat rate, but he also ran the meter. The meter went over the rate he quoted, but the amount he charged was the flat rate. The metered rate was nowhere near 30k, it was like 11k or 12k.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

After all the hype over Abenomics-the result is Chinese tourists renting out the love hotels. Brilliant

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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