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No room for romance? Japan's love hotels court new clientele

Less sex and more tourists mean less kinky toys, more gourmet meals

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A Japanese couple walk through a love hotels district in Tokyo.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- As midnight approaches, the sloping streets of Shibuya's Dogenzaka district start to crowd up. There are the usual salarymen stumbling home after a few drinks. Groups of university students head for the train station after a karaoke session.

But a closer look reveals hushed voices and silhouettes disappearing into the back streets -- and into a softly lit pink building with a hidden entrance and few windows. It is one of over 7,000 love hotels in Japan named after the original, Hotel Love, which opened in Osaka in 1968.

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