A Japanese hotel is charging travellers just $1 (US) a night for a room – but there’s a modern, and highly unusual catch.
The Asahi Ryokan in Fukuoka will provide you with bed and board for a paltry 100 yen ($0.92, to be exact, and that includes tax), but in return, your entire stay will be broadcast across the world via a YouTube livestream.
The tabletop camera doesn’t reach into the bathroom, and you’re allowed to turn the lights out while you sleep, but everything else is fair game. The room does also contain a microphone, but this will only be turned on if the guests agree. To avoid abuses of the hotel’s generous price structure, the maximum guests can stay is five days.
To address the elephant in the room, so-called “lewd acts” are strictly forbidden, and there’s zero chance of you not getting caught. You are also warned not to display personal information like your passport details or you credit card, and to change in the shared bathroom.
Out of the hotel’s 10 rooms, only one is currently streaming, and when it isn’t occupied owner Tetsuya Inoue broadcasts a feed from his office. The hotel has been in his family for more than three decades, but when he took over the running from his grandmother last year, he realised that the old-fashioned business model was not playing well with modern customers.
“I wanted to improve its revenue in some way,” he says, “so I read some books, and these gave me the core idea for the One Dollar Hotel.”
His hope is to monetise the live stream using YouTube ads. “Even I don’t know whether it can be profitable,” he says, “but it doesn’t cost much money, so it’s kind of an experiment!” The channel already has nearly 8,000 subscribers.
Of course, there is more to Fukuoka than being watched by strangers on the internet. The Rugby World Cup host city was recently named one of CNN’s must-visit destinations for 2019, and is famous for its seafood, traditional gardens, and art museum.