Takasago Hotel, Fukushima-ken, has “rooms all full” if lodger is NJ


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Hi Blog.  As a follow-up with the exclusionary hotels (and the prefectural tourist agency that promotes them) in Fukushima-ken, here we have one person’s experience the other day getting refused at one of them, by being told that there were no rooms available (meaning they get around the Hotel Management Law that forbids refusing people for reasons such as being a customer while NJ).  Discriminators are getting more sophisticated, so it looks like we have to have native Japanese make reservations at some Japanese hotels on our behalf.  Sheesh.

I’m going to be on the road for a few days (Tokyo and Nagoya) doing a couple of speeches, so brief entry for today.  Arudou Debito in transit.


May 11, 2010
Dear Debito,

Thank you for your effort to improve the lives of foreigners in Japan. I’ve read a lot on your blog about Japanese businesses refusing foreigners by explicitly stating so, and you give good advice on how to deal with this. Unfortunately there is also quite a lot of concealed discrimination.

During Golden Week for example, I walked into the lobby of the Hotel Takasago (http://spo-sato.jp/2006/03/03-133856.php) in Futaba (Fukushima-ken), the only hotel in town, and was told to go to the next bigger city because all rooms are full (the whole conversation in Japanese). I left the lobby and immediately my girlfriend, who is Japanese and had waited outside, called the hotel and asked for vacancies. She was offered a twin room, walked in and got the key, all this within 5 minutes.

It could be that the room had just been cancelled but I don’t think so as we called immediately after I had left the lobby. We stayed in that twin room (the owner didn’t notice me walking in again later) and that night as well as the next morning there where no signs whatsoever of any other hotel guest, the parking lot was empty etc.

I find this kind of discrimination particularly annoying because you can’t do much if the hotel owner just claims all rooms are full. MP


11 comments on “Takasago Hotel, Fukushima-ken, has “rooms all full” if lodger is NJ

  • `I find this kind of discrimination particularly annoying because you can’t do much if the hotel owner just claims all rooms are full.`

    The least you CAN do is ask bluntly why you were refused just five minutes ago. Then demand an apology as you deserve to keep your dignity just like anyone else. Do it in a calm and composed manner and you might just change their `policy` in the process.

  • @Alex

    How can you suggest that being blunt and demanding an apology is in any way dignified?

    The best thing to do would be to go down to the counter next morning, thank them for their hospitality and remark at how lucky you were that there was a late opening.

  • common sense says:

    If we get a Japanese person to book it for us, Im sure they will start asking before they reserve the room “Is this room for yourself or Someone else” and demand full names for the booking before so when they check they can say then they fully booked….They will try many ways/..

  • Demanding an explanation sounds perfectly dignified, and one of those things you really want to get the hotel manager or area manager if it’s a chain involved with directly. Given that it’s against the law, the desk clerk should be facing disciplinary action or even a firing, and they should be thankful they’re not being prosecuted. Personally I could do without an apology though, as they’re invariably used to placate disgruntled customers in place of an explanation or any kind of assurance that they don’t fully intend to continue behaving in exactly the same way.

  • One should try coming in with a hidden camera and record yourself being told the rooms “are full”. Then, attach the camera to a japanese friend (or spouse, etc) and secretly record them offering a room and then show them the proof. See what they say.

  • This is truly one of the worst forms of racism: being denied service because of the way you look. Furthermore, what this hotel has done is not only racist but illegal. I am pleading with the author to, at the very least, send this hotel a letter detailing the events as described above. The hotel is operating under the assumption that they can do something like this and get away with it, so at least a letter will expose them somewhat (perhaps adding that you are currently seeking legal counsel just to keep them on edge and perhaps get them to rethink their racist policies).

  • It’s surprising that the U.S. federal Overseas Security Advisory Council has never picked up on this potential “threat” to Americans overseas: that you may be denied a hotel room.

    As I blogged yesterday, http://hoofin.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/osac-a-useful-federal-service-that-has-to-be-tailored-to-the-japan-situation/ , the group is very good at warning about possible pickpocketing or drink spiking in Roppongi. But they miss dozens and dozens of actual threatening situations. Like ending up having to spend the night in a train station because, “we’re sorry the hotel is full.” (This happened to me in Hachinohe in 2005).

    If a hotel does not accommodate NJ guests, the U.S. government should be putting a bulletin out about that, ne?

  • Looks like Allen has the right idea. Go in and video it.Then repeat it with a Japanese national to confirm there is a vacancy or get a a Japanese national to confirm by telephone immediately. Remember to record.Then proceed to court.Directly to court and collect 200 dollars! 😉 Don’t forget to post on you tube 😉

  • @John

    As the laws in Japan stand now, you have to be a “Nationalized Japanese” to have a chance of winning in court, and even then your chances are slim.

    Anyway, here’s another place caught doing the same “Gaijin? Oh, we’re suddenly fully booked” technique:








  • Steve, thanks for that story. Sad, but true: some places in Japan still don’t want to accommodate non-Japanese people, even when accompanied by a Japanese national. This is racism in its purest form as the excuse of not having the means, i.e., English ability, to tend to the NJ is not applicable. Fear and/or hatred, pure and simple.

    Assuming the author was Japanese, it was good to see a Japanese national take a pro-active stance for once and register their complaint on the website for all to see.


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