A True Tourist Trap: This Hotel in Japan Doesn’t Exist

A true tourist trap? Japanese customers who used Booking.com had their vacations ruined recently thanks to a hotel that someone made up.

Unseen Japan
3 min readSep 16, 2023

By Jay Allen

Scam hotel on Booking.com story

People perhaps overuse the phrase “tourist trap.” But for some domestic tourists in Japan, a hotel listing on a popular booking Web site was indeed a trap — one that cost them money and, in some cases, ruined their vacations.

The hotel that wasn’t there

Ichinomiya, Chiba Prefecture
The waves of Ichinomiya, Chiba Prefecture. (Picture: sorakara / PIXTA(ピクスタ))

FNN Prime Online in Japan relates the story of a 19-year-old man who found a promising-looking hotel via the Website Booking.com for his trip to Chiba Prefecture. The listing said the hotel had just opened this summer. It contained convincing-looking photos of a terrace with BBQs, as well as interior pictures of the rooms.

So the young man headed out for what he assumed would be a pleasant outing in the town of Ichinomiya. Ichinomiya bills itself as a seaside town, with much of its tourist advertising oriented towards surfers or people who want to learn surfing.