Ha ha! I use to go to this district on weekends when in Tokyo. They are great places to go if you party till 4a.m. and your tiered as hell or you and your friends want to relax. A lot of good clubs are near them. Politicians crack down on Love Hotel Hill, but can't stop the love
Romping rooms are poised to disappear from Shibuya's renowned Love Hotel Hill as politicians move toward cleaning up one of the favorite spots for young Tokyoites, according to Weekly Playboy (6/5).
Love Hotel Hill, or the Maruyamacho district of Shibuya as it is more formally known, is one of the most prominent and best-known gatherings of love hotels across Japan.
Love hotels, which rent out rooms for sex on an hourly or overnight basis, have served a vital role in space-poor Japan, where many adults still live with their parents and lack a place where they can sow their wild oats.
But now the Shibuya Municipal Government is tightening ordinances to stop any new love hotels from being built in the area in the hope that getting rid of these institutions of horizontal activity research will make their part of town look more pristine.
"Prostitution is taking place in love hotels. The hotels are also a source of income for organized crime, which in turn threatens safety and has prompted many residents to complain," Hiroshi Matsui, a spokesman for the Shibuya Municipal Government, tells Weekly Playboy. "There are also places that pretend to be reputable business hotels, but are actually love hotels. Existing ordinances do not allow us to combat them. Shibuya Municipal Government does not intend to newly regulate existing business operators, but we are going to create legislation that strictly limits anybody trying to build anew."
Moves to crack down on Love Hotel Hill have apparently been afoot for some time.
"About half a year ago, the police sent out a letter to love hotel operators and escort services giving them strict instructions not to allow the love hotels to be used for sex services," the operator of a call girl service tells Weekly Playboy. "Now, whenever our service gets a call, we can't designate the love hotel where we meet up with the client anymore."
But those working the services aren't too concerned at the prospect of no more new love hotels in Maruyamacho.
"If they won't let people build any more new love hotels, then we'll just borrow an apartment, fix it up a bit and work out of there. It'll drive prices up, though," a call girl says.
Teens don't seem to be too worried either.
"I never even use love hotels. If I'm gonna give a girl one, I do it at a manga cafe [where customers rent a private booth by the hour]. Keeping girls quiet while we're making out in a store is an awesome thrill," a 17-year-old boy says.
Another teen, this one 18, also says he couldn't care less if no new love hotels appear.
"I haven't got the money to go to a love hotel, so it doesn't matter to me. If I've gotta do it outside of the home, then I just go to Yoyogi Park," the teen says. "Because it's dark there, it doesn't even matter what they look like."
Darkness seems to be looming over Shibuya's Love Hotel Hill as well. With the ordinance tightly restricting new construction of love hotels in the district a certainty to pass, the men's weekly says the popular entertainment district is poised to create a swathe of sex refugees, while the anti-love hotel legislation could spread nationwide.
Shibuya has already taken other steps to make sure it gets what it wants.
In Hyakkendana, a district near Maruyamacho's Love Hotel Hill, one of the many love hotels there was demolished in July last year and in its place the city built a tiny park. Under the law, love hotels can't be built in a 100-meter radius of any park, which means that any plans for a new love shack in Hyakkendana were immediately nullified when it appeared. Many say a similar fate awaits Maruyamacho as soon as land becomes available.
Others aren't so bearish when it comes to the future of love hotels in Maruyamacho.
"Shibuya's mayor is doing nothing more than putting on a pose to tell the world that he's trying to clean up the place," Vitamin Miura, operator of Vitamin Miura's Love Hotel General Laboratory, tells Weekly Playboy. "The mayor's just gone after the easiest love hotels to pick on."