Strange bedfellows: Unusual hotels in Japan
IF you think Hello Kitty-themed suites or bookstore hotels are weird, it’s nothing on Japan’s levels of strange.
Recently, monsters, robots and fantasy characters have taken over major city hotels. Here are five bizarre stays with fascinating concepts; enter with an open mind.
Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, Tokyo
Known as the “Godzilla Hotel”, Hotel Gracery offers Godzilla fans a chance to spend the night with the celebrity monster. Outside, there’s a 12-meter Godzilla head which “emerges” from the top of the Shinjuku Toho Building where the hotel is located.
Inside, the hotel offers six Godzilla View Rooms that open out to the views of the monster’s head outside. If that’s not enough, rooms have been fashioned in “Godzilla-inspired” layouts – here, you can find man-sized Godzilla statues and the beast’s four-fingered claws right above your beds.
Henn-na Hotel, Nagasaki
How would you like to be served by robots? Opened mid last year, the Henn-na Hotel located at Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki Prefecture is the first hotel in the world to be staffed by humanoid robots.
These robots take on a variety of roles – they help guests to check in, carry luggage and even carry out housekeeping duties.
Designed to resemble the appearance and behavior of young Japanese women, these female humanoids “breathe”, blink, make eye contact, and adjust their body language to respond to guests’ mannerism.
In keeping with their state-of-the-art concept, room keys are also not required as doors are equipped with facial recognition technology.
Hotel Loire, Osaka
Japan is not short of love hotels, and at Hotel Loire, each room represents a different universe taken straight out of storybooks, films, or simply from the imaginations of its designers.
For example, there are rooms that look like the interiors of a spaceship, a cave, a subway, and a doctor’s office. For guests who want to play out their Middle Earth fantasies, there’s even a Rivendell-inspired suite from Lord of the Rings.
If you are not into thematic rooms, this hotel also offers a collection of beautiful Japanese-style rooms that are similar to what you get at luxurious ryokans.
9 Hours, Kyoto
The philosophy of the 9 Hours capsule hotel is simple: it’s a place for people to get a good 9-hour sleep.
Featuring traditional ryokan elements in a modern aesthetic, this hotel offers sleeping pods that come complete with futons, tatami mats, en suite shower stalls, and disposable sleepwear.
You can also control the ambient environment inside your pod to to make the space less claustrophobic to help you sleep better.
Memu Earth Hotel, Hokkaido
If the great outdoors is all you need to recharge and refresh yourself, Memu Earth Hotel could be the one for you.
Touted as one of the most unique hotels in Japan, this hotel has no walls or ceilings – the idea is for guests to sleep under the stars, accompanied only by the scenic landscapes of Hiroo District in the Hokkaido Prefecture.
Three plans are offered to cater to different needs. For instance, if you take on the basic plan, you will be provided with a tent and sleeping bag while the more premium plans offer a glamping-style space with upgraded amenities.