Often the “weird Japan” trope seems like just another tired travel cliché – but then someone opens a robot hotel. In this case, hotel owner Hideo Sawada beat international journalists to the punch by straightforwardly calling it , meaning “Strange Hotel”.
The idea behind it isn’t actually that weird, though. Sawada’s aims are eminently reasonable: to offer affordable accommodation in a famously expensive country (rooms start from approximately ¥9000); to do this by making the hotel as efficient as possible; and to encourage technological innovation in the tourism industry.
Just bear that in mind as you stare into the eyes of the American-accented, bow tie-wearing dinosaur robot behind the check-in desk.