Welcome to the uncanny valley, where hotel rooms are cheap and receptionists are unsettling in appearance.
The Ginza district of Tokyo is famous around the world for being one of Japan’s most upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment areas. However, as of February 1, this swanky chunk of land will also be home to the latest location of Japan’s robot-staffed hotel chain: Henn na Hotel (literally: “Strange Hotel”).
Once the Ginza Henn na Hotel starts accepting customers on Thursday (Feb. 1), it will officially be the first Henn na Hotel location in central Tokyo. Its convenient location, along with its affordable room rates will undoubtedly make this a good option for not just travelers looking for an interesting place to rest after a long day of sightseeing, but also individuals on business trips and “salarymen” who missed the last train and need a reasonably priced place to sleep off a night of drinking.
The Ginza location is also the first Henn na Hotel in east Japan to feature human-type robots. Unfortunately though, these two robots which are modeled after human female hotel workers have a somewhat unsettling and lifeless appearance.
This is the face that greets you when you arrive at Henn na Hotel Tokyo Ginza. This robo-receptionist can speak English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. It also has the amazing ability to haunt your dreams.
A far less creepy receptionist.
Aside from at least 56 robots, the hotel will also employ seven old-fashioned and not-so-cost-effective living, breathing human beings. However, only two or three of these flesh-and-bone workers will be on duty each day. It is this tiny amount of human employees which in large part results in the hotel’s low room rates.
A stay at the Ginza Henn na Hotel will cost you at least 7,000 yen for a one-night stay in a deluxe single room, which given the hotel’s convenient location is a very good rate. Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to check this place out during your next trip to Japan, you may have a hard time getting a reservation. H.I.S. has said that currently the hotel is almost completely booked.
In addition to the novelty of being attended to by robots, the hotel will also offer guests a number of other perks and amenities, including a device which allows you “refresh” your clothes without dry cleaning or washing them (great for guests who missed the last train home and have to go to work the next day), a 4k TV, the ability to borrow at no additional charge a smartphone called “handy” which can also double as a room key after a special app is installed onto it, and after 5 p.m. a bar on the first floor which sells some 300 different kinds of alcohol.
Including the Ginza location, there are currently a total of five Henn na Hotels across Japan. The two most recent locations are Henn na Hotel Tokyo Nishikasai which opened in December of 2017 in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward, and Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay which opened in March of 2017 in Urayasu City, Chiba, not far from Tokyo Disney.
H.I.S. plans to open 100 Henn na Hotel locations in the next five years including several other locations in and around Tokyo such as one in Hamamatsu-cho in April 2018, one in Asakusabashi and Akasaka in July 2018, and one in Haneda in September 2018.
Henn na Hotel Tokyo Ginza Address
2-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku
The Henn na Hotel Ginza locations is a two-minute walk from Shintomicho Station on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line and a six-minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.