The best themed hotels to inspire your next Japan trip

By Dacia Thai,

Want to keep ahead of the crowds and treat yourself to the wackiest themed hotels in Japan? The country is an up-and-growing destination, with a variety of delightfully weird accommodation. 

It doesn’t matter whether you want to treat bae to a love hotel, or whether you’re single and ready to mingle. There are plenty of wacky hotels to get you sorted, with no reason why you should skimp out on kitsch décor, either.

Glossary

 

Love hotel (rabuhoteru): a type of short-stay hotel, bookable by the hour offering adults a private space for intimacy. Often themed, love hotels are widely accessible throughout Japan.

 

Ryokan: a type of traditional accommodation originating from the 17th century. The rooms feature tatami-mat flooring, futon-bedding as well as access to communal bathing facilities.

 

Capsule hotel: originating in Japan, this hotel features extremely small “rooms” (capsules).

1. The former love hotel: Khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan & Hostel, Tokyo

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This former love hotel has come a long way since its kinky past. Khaosan World Asakusa has all the comforts of a modern ryokan, while catering to solo and budget travellers with a range of funky dorms.

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The love-hotel experience is still available for curious couples though, with a number of rooms fitted out with cool quirks such as personal Jacuzzis, bedside light controls and mirrored walls.

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Our favourite gimmick left over from the hotel’s former days is a glass-bottomed Jacuzzi in its Party Maisonette Room, allowing those in the room below a cheeky peek of, uh, your feet.

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2. The Hello Kitty hotel: Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

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How would you like to join Hello Kitty on her city break in Tokyo? Well allow us to introduce the Kitty-themed rooms at Keio Plaza Hotel: the colourful and pop-arty Kitty Town and all-pink Princess Kitty rooms.

Both types of rooms are equally elaborate with Kitty –everything – Kitty dolls, Kitty cakes and Kitty kettles – bringing to life all of your childhood dreams in an intense, feline wonderland.

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Whereas Kitty Town is themed around the concept of Kitty on her city break in Tokyo, Princess Kitty is precisely where diehard fans can get their fill of high-heel sofas, drawers decorated with pink ribbon, and carpets emblazoned with Kitty’s favourite roses.

Best of all, you can sleep at ease under a Princess Kitty headboard.

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*The Hello Kitty rooms are only bookable through the hotel’s website. For all other rooms, see below.

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 3. The love hotel: Hotel Public Jam, Osaka (adults only)

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Those who’d like to try something a little different can get their jam on (so to speak) at Hotel Public Jam, a popular love hotel in central Osaka. It specialises in a number of themed rooms – great if you want to try out new moves 😉

Get intimate in a vintage VW Beetle or show off your pole moves on a street lamp. Or seek out the most popular room at the hotel, which resembles a cabin in a wooden ship.

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All rooms are soundproofed with free WiFi and access to 24-hour room service, ensuring the utmost privacy and convenience.

Top tip: Hotel Public Jam is especially attentive to detail – just let the staff know of your visit and you might just receive a sweet treat on arrival.

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4. The Lost in Translation Hotel: Park Hyatt, Tokyo

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If this jazz bar looks familiar, it might be because you’ve seen it before in Sofia Coppola’s Oscar award-winning Lost in Translation (2003) with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

At a towering 52 storeys high, the Park Hyatt encapsulates the feeling of being lost in a foreign metropolis. Fans of the movie will find its melancholic, yet romantic atmosphere perfect for re-enacting their first date with their S.O. all over again.

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Each of the rooms are appointed with an iPod dock, complimentary daily newspaper and top-of-the-line Aesop bathroom products. There’s also a spa, indoor pool and gym for guests to enjoy.

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5. The modern ryokan: Andon Ryokan, Tokyo

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Tokyo’s first designer ryokan, Andon Ryokan is great if you want to experience authentic Japanese accommodation, complete with tatami floors, futon bedding and communal baths. Yukata, a type of casual summer kimono, are provided on request.

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The ryokan is furnished with antique pieces, such as traditional heating devices (hibachi) from the Edo and Meiji periods. Guests are also free to help themselves to a range of complimentary teas, including traditional genmai-cha, or relax on the rooftop terrace with views towards the Tokyo Skytree. However, it’s the private Jacuzzi that takes the crown with Ariake tile wall-art designed by pop artist Mie Ishii.

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6. The Godzilla Hotel: Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, Tokyo

If Hello Kitty hotels nor kitsch love hotels float your boat, perhaps it’s time you tried Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. From the outside, it looks like a standard hotel – all except for the full-scale Godzilla head rearing out from the building’s eighth floor terrace.

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Photo credit: TM & ©TOHO CO., LTD.

Yes, it’s a Godzilla-themed hotel. The newly-opened themed rooms include Godzilla View rooms, which allows guests to wake up to the view of Tokyo’s skyline Godzilla’s head.

Alternatively, choose The Godzilla Room to sleep under the grasp of his very own claws. Large-scale figurines from the movie and Godzilla amenities are also exclusive to the specially-themed rooms.

*Only regular rooms are available on trivago. Just make sure you swing by the eighth floor terrace for an up-close encounter with Godzilla himself.

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Capsule Hotels

Riding solo? Well we’re not going to judge our single mates, because Japan is also well-suited to solo travellers. In fact, we’re envious! Here are a couple of “luxury” capsule hotels to get you inspired.

8. The “Spaceship” capsule hotel: Nine Hours, Kyoto

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Does it look like the interiors of a space ship? We think so… | Photo by Nacasa & Partners

The novelty factor of this capsule hotel lies in its futuristic, utilitarian and spotless design. And unlike many capsule hotels in Japan, it accommodates both men and women.

Amenities are well-catered for with towels, lounge wear and toothbrushes provided in each locker. Bathing toiletries include Japanese shampoos, conditioners and body soap.

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Sci-fi human incubators or comfy capsule hotel? You decide… | Photo by Nacasa & Partners

The capsules are comfortable and spacious, and are furnished with high-grade linens and a light-based alarm clock. Best of all are the welcoming staff who are happy to help you plan your stay in Kyoto!

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7. The male only capsule hotel: New Japan Cabana Capsule, Osaka

Do you even lift bro? This capsule hotel is ideal for self-confessed health nuts with a fully-equipped fitness centre with all gym gear, including swimming and workout gear, available for to rent at no extra cost.

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There’s also a 24-hour spa and dressing room complete with everything a man needs, ranging from nail clippers to hair gel and facial toners – so you can travel light and save on precious luggage space.

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Taller folk will appreciate the extra-long capsules fitted out with a 13-inch flat screen TV, WiFi and an alarm clock, and socialites can get to know like-minded travellers at the rooftop bar.

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