Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Alpha-Inn, Tokyo: The World's only BDSM Hotel

In February 2015 I wrote an article called 'delicious dungeon furniture'. It is the all-time most popular post on this blog. Why remains a mystery. In its introduction I mentioned that one day I would set up my own chain of BDSM parlors, loosely based on the Alpha-Inn Fashion Hotel in Tokyo. Today it is time for a closer look.

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Many people consider San Francisco to be the zenith of all things BDSM, personally, I prefer Japan. Millenials are said to prefer 'life experiences' over consumer goods. If you are into kink - age is no concern - you should definitely go to Tokyo and visit the Alpha In Fashion Hotel.

The land of the rising sun has always been something of a restrictive society, and that prudishness extends all the way to its pornography. Although hardcore sex acts are allowed to be filmed, the genitalia of the performers are required to be blurred out, in order to uphold moral laws. This has steered Japanese porn-makers towards a trend called “bukkake”—the prominent display of “resultant fluids”—as proof that the actors are really engaging in sex. Some see in this the reason why kink is big in Japan. I personally don't buy it.

According to some media these days Japanese youths show little interest in sex. This seems to be especially true for many males, who are often referred to as soshoku danshi, or “herbivore men.”

Whether or not they've truly relinquished sex remains to be seen. Matter of fact is that Japan has a flourishing love hotel industry. It allows Japanese men and women to spice up their love life or perhaps, have discrete affairs. However that is not the only reason they are popular. Privacy is limited in Japan. Young people living at home with their parents hardly have any privacy at all. Love hotels are one way to enjoy a little intimacy with your loved one.

Love hotels come in all shapes and sizes. Many in the West are curious about them. So curious in fact that one academic has written a massive study about the phenomenon. It's called Japanese Love Hotels: a Cultural History and its author is Sarah Chaplin. On a more practical level the La Siora agency from Tokyo has written a short guide for foreigners on how Japanese love hotels work, just in case. You never know when you find yourself in Tokyo in need for a play space for mistress and slave.

Coming from the dark, kinky side your average love hotel is just that. It's all about making love, often in a somewhat different environment. Nothing wrong with that of course. Kink on the other hand, is somewhat different. Even though the Alpha-In is the only kink hotel in the world, BDSM-themed holiday destinations can be found all around the world. I remember a villa in Spain with the apt name BDSM holiday [the original name 'SM Urlaub Mallorca' is in German for some reason]. Unfortunately it no longer seems to exist. Of course these days there also is an AirBnb for dungeons, yawn yawn.

Japan is different. I recall one Japanese mistress telling me how kink is like really big in Japan. Because of that several love hotels offer BDSM themed rooms. What to think of the "Hello Kitty Dungeon" a love hotel in Osaka offers? Not my cup of tea, thank you. Yokohama is located across the bay from Tokyo and it's home to the Aiai-hinkan love hotel which offers several BDSM themed rooms. Judging from the website I couldn't decide whether it is BDSM only but its URL seems to suggest just that: hard love me

Across the bay the world's only S&M parlor is located in the capital's most popular nightlife district: Roppingi. It's not just kinksters who are fascinated by it: Canadian photographer Nathalie Daoust was at the hotel almost every day for four months, gaining the trust of both the owner and many pro dommes working there, shooting some incredible images. No doubt the Alpha-In's name raises a few eyebrows, especially when it comes to the 'fashion' part. Sorry femdom police but until proven otherwise I assume that by 'fashion' the Alpha-In means latex and leather.

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A photographer's view of the Alpha-In S&M hotel (Image: Natalie Daoust/Vice)


Let's take a tour of the Alpha-In. If you look at its website the first thing that  impresses you is how it is spread out over six floors. I just love that. Over that half dozen floors there are a total of 27 BDSM rooms, the stuff dreams are made of. Let's begin our tour at the ground level. It has three rooms: one standard, one swapping style and one medical room. Not sure what the swapping style stands for but wouldn't it be lovely to spend a month in Tokyo and check out every single room there?

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Room 201: Japanese Style (Image: Alpha-In)
The second floor features four more rooms: Japanese, all purpose, beginner and Chinese. The all purpose room is outfitted with some kind of leather bondage horse, looks kind of dull. Then there is the Japanese room, no doubt the most interesting room for foreign visitors. After all when in Rome...

Of the five rooms on the third floor the only one that adds a little variety is room 302 called the shame style. Not quite sure what that stands for but I'm definitely willing to find out.

The fourth level includes amongst others a space styled room and a cave styled room. I must admit the latter is not something I fancy. On the second to last floor there are more Japanese, shame and cave-styled rooms. What's new here is a mirror style room. I believe that a room full of mirrors works better to shame a slave than the designated shame room. Just think of a slave being tied up and nowhere to go while seeing his reflection in the mirror, pondering his predicament.

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Room 301: Shame Style (Image: Alpha-In)
Finally on the sixth floor there are four more rooms. Unfortunately the images on the site are rather tiny, but if you click on the gallery for room 603 - a cave style room - you'll be pleasantly surprised. The cave room is much more exciting than it's name implies.

Before you rush and book your tickets for Tokyo right away, just remember to bring your own toys, whips and floggers, the Alpha-In fashion hotel doesn't provide them. But who cares, it offers so much else.

From the moment I found out the Alpha-In existed I fell in love with it. When you were little, what did you want to become when you grew up: doctor, astronaut or movie star perhaps? And now that you've grown up? For me I would love to start a chain of BDSM hotels across the globe. In one of them there definitely would have to be a Tardungeon. Unless you are a Whovian you probably don't know what I am talking about. A Tardungeon is a combination of Tardis - the Timelord's Doctor Who vehicle of choice - and a dungeon. That would be so cool, just don't count on it being greater on the inside than the outside.

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Room 305: Medical Room (Image: Alpha-In)
As for the other dungeon rooms, in order to be successful they definitely need a woman's touch, so I would invite a few friendly dommes to advice me on the design. Even better perhaps a few special rooms should be designed from scratch by them - and of course named after them. Once my global chain of BDSM hotels is up an running I would turn my attention to the OWK and reboot it. The first order of business is to move it to Rimini, Italy. That way, even if your stay is not what you expected it to be, the food will still be great. More on that later.

The Alpha-In Fashion Hotel can be found here.

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