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Love Motel for Valentine's Day

Date Posted: 1998-02-14

This Valentine's Day, surprise your sweetheart with a trip to one of Okinawa's many love motels. "What are those," you ask? Love motels are pay-by-the-hour hotels frequented by couples looking to get away from the kids, from relatives, from home, or just to spend some intimate time together in a private, fantasy-like setting. Occasionally, young adults use the rooms to throw small parties, but that is frowned upon by the owners of the motels.

Many people hear the term 'love motel' and think of scummy, dirty trucker motels along the highways of the U.S. Japanese and Okinawan love motels, however, are respected businesses which provide a valuable service to couples in need of privacy who live in cramped apartments or homes filled with relatives.

Love motels are usually fantasy-based and couples have a number of choices not only in the number of motels on island, but also in the types of rooms available. Choices include Roman temples, rooms with ice sculptures and fountains, Jacuzzi, sauna, swimming pool, disco or golf themes, or jungle fantasy suites. Whichever motel or type of room you choose, there are a few things you should know. When you drive by the motels, usually distinguished by plaster animals or signs with prices outside, pictures are provided to help you make your choice. When you find the room you'd like, make sure it is available (if the picture is lit, it's open) then pull into the parking slot for the room. Some hotels have parking lots, others have garages or stalls. Remember to get everything you need out of your vehicle before you enter the motel, as you can't leave the room or motel until your fee is paid.

The different motels vary in their features, but in most cases, you and your sweetheart will enter the motel and choose your room or enter the room if you have chosen it from outside. You will have total privacy and will not encounter any staff during your stay. Your room will have a small refrigerator where snack food and beverages are available for a fee or you can bring your own munchies if you decide not to use the motel's or the take-out menus available.

A stay at a love motel ranges in price from 1500 up to 5000 per hour, depending on which room and which motel you choose. Some motels offer discount prices for a day's stay, check the pictures to find out for sure. Yen is the preferred method of payment at most of the motels, so remember to bring plenty in case you stay longer than anticipated.

When you are ready to leave your room, simply pick up the phone and say "check out." An air tube, similar to those used at bank drive-thrus, will be sent and put your yen in the tube, send it back, and the door will open, allowing you to leave. Some rooms have guestbooks you might want to sign before you leave. Don't forget to take your coupon, often 500, for your next visit!

To find the largest area of love motels, go towards the Awase Golf Course, turning left at the course off Route 330 if you are coming from Kadena, or right from Foster. If you drive past Awase, you'll soon come upon Love Motel Valley, a concentrated area of more than 50 motels. Another popular love motel is in Noborikawa, near Kadena's Gate 3. Some popular hotels in the area are the Silk Rose, Mint House, VIP, Carnival, and Royal III.

If you enjoyed your stay at the love motels, check out a local Book Box, which sell guidebooks of motels throughout Okinawa and mainland Japan.

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