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    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on January 13th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  I’ve reported on nationwide bargain business hotel chain Toyoko Inn before, regarding their lousy treatment of me at check-in back in 2007 (when they decided to gaijinize me, and quite nastily too; my letter of complaint to HQ went unanswered), and for refusing reservations for other NJ if they don’t produce Gaijin Cards (something they are not entitled to do under laws governing Immigration or hotels).  Not to mention their lousy treatment of handicapped guests (embezzling GOJ subsidies earmarked for barrier-free facilities).  It’s a place I’ll never stay at again.

    Now for an update.  Over the past couple of days, a Debito.org Reader who calls himself The Shark has been sending us good reports on Toyoko Inn as comments that deserve a blog entry of their own.  We aim to please.  Other people with experiences (Doug also commented, and I’ll repost that too) at Toyoko, feel free.

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo, whose life is probably officially half over as of today (age 45).

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////

    SHARK’S REPORT BEGINS (collated), received January 11 and 12, 2010:

    Summary about Toyoko-Inn hotels:
    (1) They will refuse foreigners if the foreigner does not show some kind of ID.

    I had exactly the same experience with this hotel chain. In my case my wife went first and explained the situation to me by phone. I had her convey that I refuse to stay at the hotel on the grounds of discrimination. The hotel then said to my wife that it’s not compulsory and seeing as I would be with my wife they would let it pass. Needless to say I wont be going to that chain again. The experience puts me off traveling in Japan.

    The TOYOKO INN hotel chain (東横イン) state the following in their “Terms & Conditions for Accomodation Contract” which can be found in any of their rooms:

    “Registration

    The Guest shall register the following particulars at the front desk of the Hotel …
    … (2) Except Japanese, nationnality, passport number, port and date of entry in Japan; (The copy of the passport is necessary) …”
    or in Japanese:
    “…(2) 外国人にあっては、国籍、旅券番号、入国地及び入国年月日。(確認の為、パスポートのコピーをとらせていただきます)。”

    • My (Japanese) wife checked in so we had no problems. But by chance I noticed these conditions inside the room and talked to the front staff about them (in Japanese!). Here are parts of our conversation:
    • Me: According to Japanese law you don’t need this information from foreigners living in Japan. Do you know that?
    • Staff: We know it’s not required by law. It’s just our policy.
    • Me: If I came alone (without my wife) and I didn’t show you my passport would you refuse me?
    • Staff: Yes, we would.
    • Me: But according to the Hotel Management Law coming without a passport is not a reason for refual.
    • Staff: We know that. It’s not the law. It’s just our rule.
    • Me: So your rule is above the law, right?
    • Staff: Right.
    • Me: How about foreigners living in Japan and travelling domoestically without a passport?
    • Staff: Oh, they can show their driver’s licence or some other ID.
    • Me: Why?
    • Staff: We need to confirm that their address is correct.
    • Me: Does that mean, you belive that Japanese guests dont need to show an ID because they would never lie about their address? But non-Japanese guests need to show an ID because they are more likely to lie about their address?
    • Staff: That’s the rule at our hotels. But please don’t think it’s discrimination.
    • ==> NB: She started using the word discrimination (差別) during our conversation. Because I delibarately decided not to use it!
    • Me: If I told you I were Japanese would you believe me?
    • Staff: Yes, we would.
    • Me: So how you know someone is Japanese?
    • Staff: If someone can speak Japanese , then he or she could be Japanese.
    • Me: So your decision about someone’s nationality depends on that person’s language ability?
    • Staff: Yes, that’s how we do it.

    At that time I decided to discontinue the conversation before it became even weirder than it already was.

    Summary about Toyoko-Inn hotels:
    (1) They will refuse foreigners if the foreigner does not show some kind of ID.
    (2) They use creative methods to confirm someone’s nationality.

    The Shark and the Ant seem to have had a similar “Toyoko-Inn” experience.
    It’s a pity they have such a policy. Because that hotel chain is quite cheap and they are all over Japan.
    Their webpage and all their information is multilingual (Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese).
    However, I believe equal treatment matters more to foreigners than any non-Japanese language information.
    I personally will not be staying at Toyoko-Inn hotels again (as long as they have such a policy in place).

    One more thing:
    Sometimes they don’t listen when foreigners complain.
    So in my case my (Japanese) wife was kind enough to tell the front staff in front of other people that she too would not be staying there again if they didn’t treat her husband like all other people.
    Suddenly they paid more attention and promised my wife that we would get a reply from the hotel management regarding that matter.
    Haven’t received anything yet. But if we do get anything in writing that might be of interest to others I will post it here.

    One final thing about Toyoko-Inn:
    If you want to make reservation online, you need to tell them your date of birth and your citizenship. Even Japanese guests need to provide this information! Under citizenship (国籍) you can have a selection of 15 countries (including Japan). Otherwise you need to select “other countries”
    So they didn’t even bother to compile a list of all countries in the world. And the logic behind their selection is incomprehensible. Slovenia is included for instance, but Russia isn’t.

    You can check it out yourself. That’s their webpage:
    http://www.toyoko-inn.com/eng/index.html
    (of course: just for looking, not for booking!)

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    DOUG REPLIES:

    First I am not saying this never happens, because obviously it does (not one of the dudes that says if it does not happen to me it does not happen). It really sucks.

    I have used Toyoko Inns for over 5 years now for business and have never had this happen to me. I am usually travelling alone and on business. The locations I have used are numerous (Kofu, Kumamoto, Fujisawa, Sendai, etc.)

    The reason I bring this up could there be some other type of profiling going on? I am not married to a Japanese woman and usually show up alone. I complete the check in process in Japanese and write my name in katakana and address in my feeble nihongo.

    The places are cheap, clean, and have good internet connectivity and even a little breakfast in the morning. I think the best deal in Tokyo is the Toyoko at Shinagawa if you can get in.

    It sucks this is happening….especially to guys that are with their wives!!!! I hope the wives are furious!

    I am wondering if these events are taking place in the same locations?

    Shark do you mind saying where this happened? And if you get a reply I would love to see it. I use this chain all the time.

    MORE COMMENTS?  FIRE AWAY

    29 Responses to “Shark updates on Toyoko Inn’s discriminatory treatment of NJ clients”

    1. debito Says:

      Iago adds:

      Of course, Toyoko Inn are not strangers to unethical behaviour and bending/breaking the laws…

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/weekly/news/nn2006/nn20060204a2.htm

      No room at Toyoko Inn for disabled

      Norimasa Nishida、president of Toyoko Inn Co., speaks Jan. 27 about allegations over his hotels of removing mandatory facilities for the disabled people after the hotels had passed inspection.
      The government has decided to launch a full-scale investigation into about 120 hotels operated by Toyoko Inn Co. following revelations that two of its hotels in Yokohama removed mandatory parking facilities for the disabled after they had passed inspection, officials said Jan. 28.

      Toyoko Inn President Norimasa Nishida (pictured) admitted to the illegal modification at a hastily convened news conference Jan. 27 after a newspaper reported the transgression.

      Toshiko Kato, in charge of opening new properties for the Tokyo-based chain of business hotels, said at a separate news conference that the company has long engaged in the practice of converting facilities originally set up for the disabled into those for general customers after passing inspection.

      Such changes are in violation of the Building Standard Law and the special law for the elderly and disabled, which aims to make building facilities free of barriers for these people. (continues at above link)

    2. Frodis Says:

      I, too, have used Toyoko Inns for both business and pleasure and have always had fantastic service and accommodation. In fact, while lost trying to find the correct Inn in Kumamoto City, one of the staff members from one location rode with me to show me the way to the one I was staying at and then proceeded to walk back to his own location. They also provided services to me outside of their normal operating hours in order to accommodate my needs. I made reservations online (through Rakuten) and don’t recall having to make any statement regarding nationality. I used my DL when checking in and was automatically checked in and out without ever having to sign any further papers (complete registration was done online). At least until I meet with poor service, I highly recommend staying at Toyoko Inns.

      – May you never do. But I think you’re gonna get hit like we were sooner or later, alas, as it seems to be Toyoko Inn’s official policy to target all NJ (and NJ-looking) clients for ID checks.

    3. Simon Says:

      I’ve stayed at Toyoko Inn a number of times on business and on holiday. Sometimes my company made the reservation for me, sometimes I made it myself. I always use my kanji name in Japan but my company will use romaji or katakana depending on who’s making the booking. I never speak English outside the office, it’s all Japanese (unless I’m talking with a friend, of course.)

      Out of seven times staying at Toyoko Inn over the last two years, from Gunma to Hokkaido, I’ve been asked for ID just once. The clerk at first asked for my passport, and I said that I don’t carry it with me. She then asked for my gaijin card 「じゃ、外国人登録証明書をお見せいただきます」and I replied “Do I need to show you?” 「必要ですか?」 She quite promptly replied 「はい」 to which I further asked 「そういう規則が書いてあるものを見せていただきますか」. She did a double-take and asked me to wait a second while she went into the back office for about one minute. When she came back she had no paper and told me no, it’s OK, don’t worry about it. Not that “the rule says it’s OK”, her attitude was quite clearly “I’m not going to bother with this issue further.” Fair enough, she probably didn’t have time to waste on this.

      The other six times though I was never asked for ID. (And if it happens that I am asked in the future, I will be refusing.) I guess my point if it exists is that this seems to be a selectively-enforced policy. Of course it sucks when one is selected, though.

    4. Ariel Says:

      I’ve stayed at Toyoko Inns a number of times over the past year, and I was not asked for ID or information on my nationality at any point that I can recall. I would usually call ahead or simply walk in and ask if there were vacancies, so I’m not sure how the website works. At check-in they would give me the usual form, and I would ignore all the lines about passport #, country, etc and just put my address in Japan. Nobody ever called me out on it, but that of course doesn’t mean other people haven’t had problems.

      As far as I can recall, I stayed at Toyoko Inns in: Akita, Yamagata, Sendai, Fukushima, Hiroshima, and Nagoya.

    5. Gilesdesign Says:

      What gets me is that they always automatically ask for a passport without asking if you are a resident or a tourist. I think it is just plain rude, it is not like NJ residents are so rare or anything.
      This sends a clear message that NJ cannot be trusted but also that NJ can never graduate beyond tourist status in the minds of policy makers and hotel staff.
      Not that there is anything wrong with being a tourist, It would just be nice if in the place you call home other people would acknowledge it as such.

    6. Drew Says:

      I have stayed at Toyoko Inns all over Japan. Occasionally I have been asked for ID, and it hasn’t been a problem when I refused to show it. I speak Japanese well, and write my details in horrific Japanese on the forms. The last few times they haven’t asked for ID. I find their service quite good for the price. I am saddened that their staff are misinformed as to the truth of the law.

    7. Odeena Says:

      Me: But according to the Hotel Management Law coming without a passport is not a reason for refual.
      Staff: We know that. It’s not the law. It’s just our rule.
      Me: So your rule is above the law, right?
      Staff: Right.

      I’m curious how this conversation went in Japanese. I’m probably just arguing semantics here, but nothing and nobody is supposed to be above the law… right?

      About two years ago, I stayed at a Toyoko Inn in Otsuka, Tokyo, with a Japanese friend. Even though I was the one who made the reservation and did most of the talking, I don’t remember being asked for any form of ID. Maybe it was because “if someone can speak Japanese , then he or she could be Japanese” and Japanese don’t need to show ID?

      – I speak Japanese just fine, and am expressly a Japanese. And sometimes my reservation is made by native speakers. And at times that still isn’t enough. So I don’t think that theory holds water.

    8. Ryan Says:

      I’ve been purposely staying at Toyoko Inns for the past year or so specifically because they have never asked me for ID. Two of my three stays (all at different locations) they’ve asked me if I live in Japan. Both times, when I said yes, that was the end of it. The third time I think they saw that I live in Japan by looking at the address entry on the registration card.

      One of the two times they asked if I live in Japan I was with my sister, who was visiting from Chicago. When I stated that I live in Japan but she doesn’t, they said they would need to see her passport, but asked for no ID from me.

      Since the treatment I received was so uniform, I assumed a directive had come down from corporate that only those with addresses outside of Japan are required to show ID. When was the last time someone had an experience of being asked to show their ID even though they have a Japanese address? I’m curious.

      In my case, I guess you could argue that they shouldn’t have asked me if I live in Japan simply based on my appearance, but after experiences at other hotels I’m simply glad they had the courtesy to ask and leave it at that. Until I hear of a verified, recent occurrence, I’ll stick with my personal experiences and go out of my way to stay at Toyoko Inns whenever possible.

    9. Joe Says:

      I’ve stayed in Kumamoto (twice, different hotels) and In Miyazaki. Never asked in Kumamoto. In Miyazaki I was asked “Do you have your passport?” to which I replied, with a smile “No.” That was it. I was handed my key and disappeared upstairs. Can’t say I particularly like the place, especially after Debito’s revelations about their “policies” towards disabled people, but I’ve personally never been hassled.

    10. James Says:

      I stayed at the Toyoko Inn in Kawasaki (Kawasaki Eki-mae) at the end of December 2009 and had a good long 4-5 minute verbal fight with the front-desk agent about how I wasn’t going to show my passport unless he showed me a badge (don’t carry it as I have a gaijin card), as it was illegal unless he was a cop (thanks to Debito for the color-coded cards). Even though we had the entire fight in Japanese, he insisted on bringing over their desk sign which has their rule printed in English. It said (get this) “Foreigners without an address in Japan are required to show their passport… etc”. I prompted pointed at it and said (in Japanese), “that says only if you don’t have an address in Japan, I live here, seeing as I just wrote my Nara address, so I’m not showing you anything”. At that point he backed down and let me check in.

      That was my first time having such a long protracted fight with a hotel, and also my first time at Toyoko. I had a much shorter one in August with the Vista Hotel in Kamata, where I simply had to ask if the agent was a cop, as it was illegal to ask for it unless he was, at which point he relented.

    11. Norik Says:

      I stayed in Sendai, I did my reservation on the phone, and they never asked me about any ID. Just filled in the form and took the key.The place was nice and relatively cheap, the administrator was kind, the breakfast was good. They even gave me some souvenirs, like keyholder, cosmetics pack.Maybe it is good to make something like a list of NJ friendly and unfriendly Toyoko inns. I see Sendai and Kumamoto will be in the “green” list.

    12. Ant Says:

      I see my experience has been included in the main blog entry. Just to note, the location of the hotel that tried to card me was Shizuoka, Numazu. That city was a bit strange too. I might be paranoid but when I got on the train at Numazu station to go home after checking out of the hotel a policeman in uniform got on the same train as me and walked the length of the train, passing me, before getting off at the next stop. He didn’t approach me but as there were several trains I wondered why he got on mine. I was the only foreign looking person in the station at the time.

    13. Odeena Says:

      “– I speak Japanese just fine, and am expressly a Japanese. And sometimes my reservation is made by native speakers. And at times that still isn’t enough. So I don’t think that theory holds water.”

      I was being sarcastic, of course. Just trying to point out that appearances count for much more than they should sometimes.

      – I see. Sorry. As you know, sarcasm is pretty tough to use in text, so perhaps including a quick wink of (this is sarcasm) at the very end, or something to let dense people like me in on the joke. (Not meant sarcastically.)

    14. Kevin Says:

      My company put me up at a relatively high class hotel in Osaka when I got transfered from Tokyo to Kansai. Anyways, at check in they asked me and the two other foreigners with me for our passports. At the time we didn’t think anything of it, but I wish now that I had challenged them on it.

      I will do so next time, but I think that many people give up or don’t care when they have been traveling all day and get to the hotel only to find they want ID.

      I think this double standard of treatment is ridiculous. You can complain to the desk staff when it occurs but since it is not their decision but a corporate policy of Toyoko and probably the I stayed at only makes it more annoying. :(

      Sorry but I don’t remember the name of my hotel but it was at least 4 stars.

    15. Tom R. Says:

      Did anyone ever get the impression after reading these comments and looking at Toyoko’s website that the fact they have their website in multiple languages, and a picture of a giant globe rotating around that somehow that justifies their hotel carding foreign looking people, as if the hotel chain is so large its similar to an international airport and required security like an international airport, including checking passports.

      – I didn’t.

    16. The Shark Says:

      First of all, thanks to Arudou Debito for creating this blog entry.

      Doug, I’m more than happy to let people know where I stayed: it was Takamatsu Nakajin-Cho (高松中新町).

      Just to clarify a few things:
      1) I didn’t have to show my passport when I was there because my wife did the formalities.
      2) After discovering the booklet “Terms and Conditions” inside the hotel room I questioned the front staff as to what would happen if I came alone (without my Japanese wife).
      3) The bottom line was: foreign nationality (even if living in Japan) –> no ID –> no check-in possible
      4) The problem is not ID checks in general, the problem is: if you have an address in Japan they would INSIST on some kind of ID if you are a foreigner (but not if you are Japanese)

      Now, I have actually received a written reply from that hotel, but that reply is meaningless. Is just says:
      “日本国内に住所を有しない外国人の方のご宿泊の登録におきましては厚生労働省の指示の元、実地させていただいておりますので、何卒、ご理解いただけますよう宜しくお願い申し上げます。   東横イン 高松中新町 支配人”
      It was not on company letterhead and the person who wrote it just called himself ‘支配人’ without even providing his or her name.
      Why is this letter meaningless? Because that 支配人 deliberately talked about something completely different. He talked about foreigners NOT having an address in Japan (but that I knew already). My question was regarding foreigners who DO have an address in Japan.
      He probably knew that he missed my point. Otherwise he would have written down his real name. The letter also had no date, address, phone number etc. … as if being written by someone who is afraid of acknowledging their own policies.

      I tried to give this matter one final push and called the front staff at that hotel again explaining that the 支配人 missed my point.
      Result: the front staff showed sympathy but I would still need an ID (to proof my address) even if I lived in Japan and even if I showed them the 支配人’s letter talking only about foreigners without an address in Japan.

      However, at this time the front staff made some concession: she said (in Japanese): “If you have an address in Japan you just need to show us some ID but we will not make a copy.”

      This whole thing is getting too funny because:
      1) They told me if I claimed to be Japanese they would just believe that.
      2) But if I claimed to be a foreigner with an address in Japan they would need to see some proof.

      Other comments on this blog entry so far have shown that check-in procedures obviously differ from hotel to hotel (maybe depending on how each hotel’s front staff has been instructed or how each hotel’s manager has decided to apply company policy).

    17. Matt Says:

      “he insisted on bringing over their desk sign which has their rule printed in English. It said (get this) “Foreigners without an address in Japan are required to show their passport… etc”.

      This sign that Toyoko Inn has at all their locations has the Japanese wording written directly on the back (国内住所が持っていない方…). Next time you are asked for ID at Toyoko Inn, you can reference this sign and the Japanese that Is written on the back. Often the movable sign is within reach so I suggest flipping it around and sarcastically asking the clerk if they are able to read it.

      My gripe is not with these insufficiently trained front desk staff as I often stay at Toyoko Inn and have not had a problem there in the past 3 years. My problem is with the smaller chain hotels who don’t get as many foreigners and still operate under the maxim that if it is ‘foreign’ it must be a tourist.

      It really is depressing when I think I may have a fight ahead of me any time I check into a hotel or onsen in this country. And God forbid my daughter, when she grows up, is asked for her passport everytime she checks into a hotel.

      To me, this whole situation and the way the hotels are clumsily executing this policy is ripe for some kind of lawsuit.

    18. Doug Says:

      Hi Shark

      Thanks for providing further information. I never tried Takamatsu. Yeah it sounds like they are terribly inconsistent which is more of a management issue than an issue of the folks working at the desk. Makes me feel sorry for the people working at the hotel (lack of or inconsistent guidance from above). I will be at Toyoko in Kofu next week (where I seem to be staying frequently these days) and will ask them about this (the people at the desk know me now) since they never asked me for my ID. I am now very curious.

      Thanks for bringing this up

    19. Dave Says:

      I’ve actually been meaning to write to Debito about this topic, as I spent two weeks in October taking my mom and sister around Japan and staying in various Toyoko Inns and other cheap business hotels. Because my mother and sister were tourists, and the law clearly states that tourists must show their passports, I instructed them to do so. But in my own case, there were a few inevitable fights with recalcitrant desk clerks who insisted on seeing my passport.

      The conversation would usually go like this:

      Clerk: Show me your passport.
      Me: Of course I don’t carry my passport with me. I live in Japan, why would I need it?
      Clerk: Ok, then show me your foreigner registration card.
      Me: No. You have no right to see it.
      Clerk: We require all Japanese residents to show ID for proof of address. You must show us proof of address.
      Me: Fine, you can see my health insurance card, but you have no right to see my foreign registration card.

      For the record, I think being asked for proof of address when staying at a hotel is completely understandable. I will not fill out things like “occupation” (except, of course, I can get some amusement out of it: “AV haiyu”, “duck farmer”, etc). And I will not show complete strangers, especially those with no right to see it, my foreign registration card. I don’t have a driver’s licence, so I use the health insurance card, which is considered acceptable for Japanese and therefore sould be good enough for me.

      All of that being said, I’m plenty puzzled after reading previous posts. Is it true that these hotels DO NOT require proof of address for Japanese guests? Are we sure of that?

      – Yes, we are sure of that.

    20. betty boop Says:

      was asked this weekend for my passport at a major tokyo hotel. i said i live here so i don`t carry one. the front desk person said OK and that was that.

    21. Doug Says:

      Just checked in to the Toyoko Inn in Kofu and was lucky enough that the young lady that usually checks me in here was on duty.

      I told her some people I know had some issues checking into the Toyoko Inn and indicated that different hotels seem to interpret the rules differently. She indicated that she was told by the local manager here that showing ID is not required for foreigners living in Japan as long as they write their address on the registration form.

      I asked her how they can verify this and she indicated that she was told if a person can speak and write in Japanese it is assumed that they are living in Japan.

      I did not continue the dialog further as there were a couple of people behind me and I could tell she was starting to get a bit uncomfortable.

      Anyway that is what I found out in Kofu

      Cheers

    22. Matt Says:

      “Clerk: We require all Japanese residents to show ID for proof of address. You must show us proof of address.”

      Japanese people are never asked to show any ID. Ever. She was obviously lying to you to get you to show ID.
      I can also see the point in getting everyone to confirm their address- but it simply isn’t done to everyone.

      I don’t know why this issue bothers me the way it does. Perhaps because it is the most blatant example of discrimination that I come across here. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the foreigners living here (short term contracts) don’t see it as such and happily comply with the whims of the hotel reception clerks. “I just show ‘em my card” is a common response that I hear and my plea that you don’t have to show them anything is usually met with a “whatever…”.

      Again, if Japan were a little more with the times concerning discrimination this issue would not exist (it’s 2010!!). Unfortunately, it still exists and is a telling example of Japan’s prevailing unfavorable attitude towards foreigners.

    23. KK Says:

      Toyoko Inn is such a strange company. It seems even within individual hotels they can’t make up their minds on the rules. I was never asked for ID at the Toyoko Inns I stayed in but I’ve stopped going due to this nonsense. Turns out there’s better business hotels for the same price or cheaper around the country anyway.

    24. James Annan Says:

      I happened to be looking at the Prince Hotels website:

      http://www.princehotels.com/en/stipulation/

      quote

      Registration of Stay

      Article 8 The Guest shall register the following information at the front desk of the Hotel on the first day of his stay.

      * (1) The Guest’s name, age, sex, address and occupation
      * (2) If the Guest is not a Japanese citizen, his nationality, passport number, point of entry to Japan and date of entry. The Hotel will also make and keep a copy of the Guest’s passport.

      I wonder if they actually demand this in practice? I can’t recall ever staying at a Prince Hotel.

      – Write them and advise them of the actual laws.

    25. Neko Says:

      Just wanted to let you guys know that it doesn’t seem to be all hotels asking for ID.
      I booked into the Yoyoko Inn – Sakuragicho yesterday. They never asked me for any other ID. I did see them take a note of the fact that I live in Japan, and I did notice a few passport photocopies slotted into other guest’s pigeon holes, but I presume those are tourists. For me, no problems. Didn’t even need to show my driver’s license.

    26. DC Says:

      I live in Kansai and travel around Japan for business almost weekly. My experience is that only hotels in Kanto will ask for an ID (mainly chain hotels like Toyoko Inn, Keio Presso Inn and Super Hotel). Outside Kanto some hotels ask if I live in Japan or not. But I have never been asked for an ID outside Kanto.

      Here is how it goes at for example Toyoko/Keio Presso/Super around Kanto:
      1. I reserve through the online (Japanese language) Jalan website.
      2. Because I look foreign the front desk staff asks me “Do you live in Japan?”
      3. Me: “Yes”, and I write down my address in Japanese.
      4. Hotel: “Can you show me an ID?”
      5. Me: “Does everyone have to show an ID?”
      6. Hotel: “Yes”
      7. Me: “Why”
      8. Hotel: “Our rules (kimatte iru)”
      9. Me: “Here is my drivers license”
      10. The hotel staff will react extremely relieved after seeing my ID.
      11. My Japanese colleagues (who obviously look Japanese) never have to show an ID.

      I wonder how the Super Hotel in Yokohama will react next week when I check in for the 3rd time this month and reply that I have a Japanese passport…

    27. Matt Says:

      @DC

      You have Japanese citizenship and still offer up your ID when asked?
      Sorry, but that doesn’t make much sense to me.

      At the hotel reception counter, the division is clear: residents and non-residents. Non-residents must present passport information. Residents (Japanese and NJ) fill in the check-in form with their Japanese address. The need for additional ID confirmation is not Japanese law. If the hotel tries to say it is hotel policy, then you can say that this is racist. Why? Because they are treating people of a different race differently (suspiciously) by requiring them to prove they have residence.

      Don’t do this. Simply show them your completed check-in form with J-address and say ‘Nihon no jumin desu yo’.
      If more people did this then perhaps we wouldn’t have places thinking it acceptable to treat NJ residents suspiciously AND sometimes broach their privacy by asking to see additional information (and copying this info!!).

      Amazing that there hasn’t been some kind of initiative to standardize hotel check-in forms: one side for residents to fill in their address and another, smaller area for visitors to complete the necessary passport info. If someone has completed the resident side, then they don’t need to produce any additional documentation. Simple.

      God, this issue really bugs me.

    28. Jair Says:

      Found the address where the law is posted at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare!!
      Very useful when sending e-mails
      http://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/kenkou/seikatsu-eisei26/01.html

      @DC:
      I travel mostly outside of Kanto and I can assure you I´ve been asked to present an ID too, more or less persistently.

      Last uncomfortable time was last month at the Kerama Guesthouse in Naha. The clerk didn´t believe me when I told them the real law, but gave up because I was so stubborn (for me this is a serious matter, you can´t go asking people to present an ID that only police can ask for, just because they look foreign).

      To add an interesting twist, the employee was a foreigner too, and he told me he always presents his ID when he travels. He was very japanised too, when I insisted I didn´t have to produce an ID he was saying “それはそうですけど…” (“Yes, but…”).

      What really gets at me is I sent them an e-mail the following week, and have received no reply whatsoever.

      It´s far from perfect, but you can copy the e-mail if it helps you. Let´s make enough pinprick protests so they follow the real letter of the law!

      —————
      Hotel name here
      御中

      お世話になっております。先日利用させて頂いた者です。(Date you stayed: x月xx日)

      宿泊に関してとても満足できました。
      これからもHotel name hereを応援して行きたいと思います。

      チェックインの際に気になる点がありましたので連絡させて頂きます。

      受付の方にパスポートか外国人登録書の提示を求められたのですが、これは飽くまでも「日本国内に住所を持たない外国人」に限定されるもので、全ての外国人が提示するものではありません。
      その旨を説明しても中々信じて頂けませんでした。

      当然これはその方だからではなくて、間違った指導を受けたからでしょう。

      直接厚生労働省のホームページから実際の法律をご参照願います。
      http://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/kenkou/seikatsu-eisei26/01.html

      ご覧の通り、「日本国内に住所を持たない外国人の方の宿泊に際してはパスポートの呈示及びコピーを義務付けました」とあります。全ての外国人ではありません。

      実際の法律と合わせる様にHotel name hereのポリシーを考え直して頂けますか。

      よろしくお願い致します。

      Your name

    29. Matt Says:

      Jair,

      excellent letter. I encourage everyone and anyone who receives similar treatment to always follow up with a similar email or letter. Nothing will ever change unless we do this.

      In my experience, most of these hotel employees have simply been misinformed. It is a shame though that it is us and not the management who has to do the enlightening. So be it.

      Thanks for the website info too.

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