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A love hotel is a type of short-stay hotel found around the world operated primarily for the purpose of allowing couples privacy for sexual activities.

Love hotels are everywhere in Japan.  A lot of people continue to live with family well into their thirties and people need a place to get their freak on.  Love Hotels provide such a place and this is not a new story.  However, in my travels on foot around Ikebukuro I have made some interesting discoveries and there are mysteries I am trying to figure out in order to write about them.  Some include the Yakuza, some the Triads, some the Cops, legions of homo-erotic loving female teenagers, some bizarre “ghost” properties and the connections these have with the aforementioned groups.  One thing I have found without a doubt, Ikebukuro is a strange and unique place.  The tour is starting here:

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This is about half way down “Heiwai dori” or “Peace Street” just north of the north exit at Ikebukuro station. It’s peaceful in that the street is laid in red brick and I have never seen any of the prostitutes, who lurk in every corner, beating each other up. Peaceful. This might have something to do with the police presence in the Koban at the southern and northern ends of the street.   Aside from a tolerable little bakery, a curry shop and a couple of bars there isn’t much more on this  street except for  “working hotels” and by that I mean hotels the pros take johns to.

Let me explain, being snarky, I had planned to title this “7 great spots to take hookers to in Ikebukuro”.  But due to my uh, journalistic integrity, I could not in all good conscience do this.  Why?  Most pros don’t meet clients in the Love Hotels I will show you on here. You can see them going into and leaving the very bland and often shabby establishments that don’t even offer a “Stay” rate.  It’s always a uniquely Japanese sight to see some hooker bowing to the gentleman she has just finished with and them both exchanging the same language Salary men and Office workers use when finishing a meeting or the work day.

I am not here writing a step by step on finding hookers in Ikebukuro.  You can find info on that here or here.  But I take this route a couple of times a week to and from the gym located on the East side and it’s never a boring walk.  It also ties in well with some other things I will post about in the near future.  Consider this a warm up.

So if you are coming south up Heiwa Dori from Ikebukuro’s north exit take a right onto a smaller black asphalt street where the map indicates.  Walk to the second right and turn again.  This is what you will see.

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We can start by taking a look at “Hotel Room.”

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Reasonable rates for the young couple.  I doubt much “resting” transpires, however. Nice VIP room.

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Little tacky Las Vegas creeping in here but one will not miss “Hotel Casablanca”. Of this I am sure.  Rates? Amenities?

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But of course.  Not sure what that blender like object is there for.

Next we have “Xavier’s School for gifted Youngsters…”

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“…and people who just want to have sex a lot.”

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There are many smaller hotels on the strip but these are the exclamation points visually.  At the end of the strip there is a run down no frills type joint used by the professionals and to the left, the tunnel under the road, which looks like a secondary location for a scene out of IRREVERSIBLE.

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I have tipped my hat and bid a good evening to several ladies of the night waiting for someone on my way home from the gym passing along this little street of dreams.

Now, why would someone purposefully take this filthy walk several times a week?  Other than this being the fastest way from door to door, home to gym, once we pass through this alley and turn left going up the steps, the view regularly has me standing and staring again, even after ten years, inspired.

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Check back for the tour will continue. And it just gets weirder.

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