Merryn's Blog

Want the ‘love hotel’ experience? Tokyo’s shortage of lovers means you must head to Japan now

Japan’s demographic shift means Japan’s love hotels – which have long been a feature of tourists’ must-do lists – might not be around for much longer, says Merryn Somserset Webb.

151123--love-hotel

Japan is cheap, Japan is fun, Japan is beautiful, Japan has the best food in the world. So why not go on holiday there? After all, everyone else seems to be. I wrote about this here, but a small news story by Robin Harding in today's FT makes the trends in the country pretty clear.

Back in 2010 there were 6,259 love hotels' in Japan (these are themed hotels in which you can rent rooms by the hour). Today there are only 5,940. That's a fall that partly reflects the dropin the number of young lovers in Japan: the number of people in their twenties fell from 18 million in 2000 to 13 million in 2013. So five million fewer people need to escape crowded family homes for the odd intimate hour here and there.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

However, it also reflects the need to create accommodation for the surge in young foreign visitors (who like to stay in hotels for more than an hour a day). Entrepreneur Hiroshi Kozawa has created the Khaosan brand, which he is using to buy up love hotels in Tokyo and convert them into cheap hotels for backpackers bunks cost a mere 2,000 (£10) a night.

So there you have it.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

That's one more reason to visit Japan sooner rather than later: the love hotel experience which has long been on gaijin must-do lists might not be around for much longer. The lower the yen goes (and we reckon there'll be a ramping up of Japanese QE again soon) the more tourists will arrive and the more love hotels will turn into cheap hostels for Chinese shoppers.

It also gives us a nice new economic indicator: as one of my Twitter followers suggested this morning, if we want to judge the success of Abe's drive to open up Japan to tourism, all we need to do is count the love hotels.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519858/how-long-can-the-good-times-roll
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Visit/519499/yet-more-fiscal-stimulus-announced-in-japan
Economy

Yet more fiscal stimulus announced in Japan

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe has announced a ¥13.2trn fiscal package to repair damage caused by October’s Typhoon, put new digital technology int…
12 Dec 2019
Visit/518545/monks-investment-trust-insuring-asia
Sponsored

Monks Investment Trust: Insuring Asia

SPONSORED CONTENT - The extraordinary expansion of Asia's middle class is turbocharging demand for products that provide a sense of security. Charles …
29 Nov 2019
Visit/518809/taiwan-bucks-asias-regional-trend
Economy

Taiwan bucks east Asia's regional trend

Taiwan's economy is bucking the regional slowdown, growing the fastest pace since early 2018 and in stark contrast to weakness elsewhere in east Asia.
28 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/520525/currency-corner-how-high-can-the-pound-go-against-the-euro-in-2020
Currencies

Currency Corner: how high can the pound go against the euro in 2020?

In the month in which we should finally leave the European Union, Dominic Frisby takes a look at the pound vs the euro and asks just how high sterling…
13 Jan 2020
Visit/520575/20-predictions-for-the-2020s
Investments

Where will markets be in 2030? Here are 20 forecasts for the 2020s

A lot has changed in the last ten years – stockmarkets soared, technology transformed our lives and politics has changed beyond measure. Here, Dominic…
14 Jan 2020
Visit/520338/how-much-the-state-pension-will-rise-by-this-year
Personal finance

How much the state pension will rise by this year

While Boris Johnson promised to hold a full budget within 100 days of his election victory, many of the details of next year’s state pension increases…
10 Jan 2020
Visit/520553/money-minute-wednesday-15-january
Economy

Money Minute Wednesday 15 January: UK inflation and house prices

In today’s Money Minute, we look ahead to the latest UK inflation and house price figures, plus we have Germany’s GDP data for 2019.
15 Jan 2020