One of my favorite Japanese neologisms is インスタ映え (insuta-bae), which is essentially the Japanese translation of "Instagrammable", and refers to any location or item that is "Instagram-ready". One of the places that has been trending higher on the insuta-bae list in the past year is the night pool, where adult men and women can go to hang out, cool down, and enjoy the thrill of cavorting in water and neon into the wee hours of the evening. The tag #ナイトプール on Instagram has over 140,000 pictures posted against it. Night pools have sprung up around Japan in the past few years, One of the most popular is a joint venture between the magazine CanCam and the Tokyo Prince Hotel, which sports a fairly stunning view of Tokyo Tower in the background.
Another spectacular example can be found at Summerland (サマーランド), an amusement park located in the western hinterlands of Tokyo (translation: it's about a 2 hour ride by bus/train), whose Aurora/Niagara Falls night pool attraction is like a giant work of art that you can swim in.
According to an article on LiveDoor by hotel critic Ryouzawa Nobuaki, night pools have gained in popularity for a number of reasons. First, they're simply damn pretty: the combination of the night skyline and poolside illuminations makes them almost ready-made locations for Instagram. Also, since the sun isn't out, women don't have to worry about losing their 美白 (bihaku), or beautiful white skin - which, as I discussed in my piece on sun umbrellas, has become a point of concern for Japanese women in recent years. Additionally, as night pools have gained in popularity, hotels have resorted to upping the ante, offering amenities such as specialty cocktails and gourmet food served poolside.
争点は「インスタ映え」だけではない ナイトプールの最新事情 - ライブドアニュース
Trendy locations like CanCam can be pricey, however. Targeted more toward the young, CanCam's prices range from around ￥4320 for women (around USD $42) to ￥6480 (USD ) for men. Other hotels charge as much as up to ￥8000 if you're not a guest. But there are less expensive, more family friendly places available - and, as Asahi Shinbun reports, the oppressive 2018 summer is making them more popular than ever. The Toshimaen pool in Neriba, Tokyo, which is open from 6pm to 9pm in the evenings, only runs around ￥1500 a person - and business is booming: the location tells Asahi Shinbun that its 2018 traffic is double what the park saw in 2017.
(JP) Link: Night Pools Popular; High Marks for "Instagrammability"
Whether you're going to Tokyo with family or with your adult friends, a night pool should be on your Party To Do list. Your best bet is to find and stay at a hotel that offers its own night pool, as you're more likely to gain benefits such as a lower admission rate and/or preferred entry. If you're looking for a more stylish, less party-oriented scene, Ryouzawa-san suggests the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. It's hard to throw shade at that recommendation: having stayed multiple times at the New Takanawa, I have nothing but good things to say about the service and accommodations. Rooms can be had for as little as USD $110/night, and the hotel is a short walk to Shinagawa Station, one of my absolutely favorite areas in Tokyo to eat and drink. (For long-time readers: Bar Plum, where I had the joy of knocking back a bottle of the rapidly disappearing Hibiki 17 year, is at this station.) Their Sky Pool, which becomes a night pool for adults in the evenings, is both elegant and exclusive - only hotel guests can visit.
I'm the publisher of Unseen Japan. I hold an N1 Certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and am married to a wonderful woman from Tokyo.
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