When someone mentions Japan, what do you initially think of? Think about what first comes to mind when you think about this country. Most people’s reactions seem to be divided into four categories when they hear this word. The first category is “interesting, rich culture”, where people think about things like samurai and ninja culture, temples and shrines, and museums depicting the country’s rich history. The second category would be “anime paradise”, where popular animated shows and comic books spring to mind at the mention of their country of origin. Then there is “crazy technology”, where people think of bullet trains, gadgets, and robots. The last one will surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly, be “sex” or “prostitution”. Why?
Very well-known among lovers of the adult genre are the (sometimes quite outrageous) porn movies made in Japan depicting unusual scenarios and stories, and prostitution is still very much present in larger metropolitan areas.
Tokyo is a city of some fantastic nightlife, and the metropolis is so huge that even the most adventurous of night owls could never see absolutely everything the city has to offer for night entertainment, even if they stay for years and go out every weekend. Shinjuku in central Tokyo is considered one of the most lively hotspots for nightlife in the country with the famous gay bar street on 2-Chome, countless clubs and bars, and, of course, the Shinjuku Kabukicho Red Light District.
The Land of the Rising Sun has one of the biggest and most successful red light districts in the world in Kabukicho, which is in Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s most popular districts for its many shopping centers, parks, restaurants, bars, and unique buildings. Sex is an important theme in Japanese art history, which started with the emergence of erotic paintings or “shunga”, erotic art that dates back as far as the 8th century.
This may (or may not) surprise you, but Japan has a very large sex industry that still thrives after hundreds and hundreds of years
A classic example of Japanese erotic art would be the Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, a woodblock-print design by Katsushika Hokusai depicting a woman having sex with two octopus-like creatures. This is just one of the pieces of Japanese erotic art you can find. It is interesting and slightly bemusing that sex is so celebrated in artwork and modern pop cultures such as animation, as well as the fact that you can find many sex shops in Tokyo such as Shibuya and even Akihabara, yet the Japanese as a society remain, on the surface, quite shy and reluctant to talk about it.
This is different from most other religions, and it may have had an effect on Japan’s overall attitude towards prostitution in general. It’s unclear if this is actually true, however, especially as the other main religion of Japan is Buddhism, which does have rules on premarital sexual relations.
On top of all that, prostitution has a long history in Japan like many other countries, with “oiran” and “geisha” being famous examples of Japanese entertainment and prostitution. Nightly pleasures for rich men (and sometimes women) are by no means a brand new concept. Are you planning to look for some nightly pleasure in Tokyo’s red light district of Kabukicho? Are you curious about what this curious street has to offer? Here are some things to be very careful of when going there.
Shinto, one of the main religions in Japan, also doesn’t consider premarital sex as a taboo
Like in every red light district, prices can greatly vary depending on the type of service, the size of the club, and of course, the “quality” of the lady or gentleman you choose to spend time with. Different types of services are available in the red light district; you can either pay a prostitute for chatting only with no body contact whatsoever or go for the special treatment. Needless to say, the more you want to “enjoy” the person, the more you have to pay. So, just how expensive is it?