Sex tourism in Japan: industry today

Japan for many tourists seems to be a mysterious and beautiful country with seductive graceful women, which many men judge by what they see hentai anime. Sex tourism in Japan is largely based on the peculiar ideas about the women of this Asian country. Let's figure out which of these ideas is a fact, and which is just speculation.

When did the sex industry appear in Japan?

When asked if there are prostitutes in Japan, one can give an unequivocal answer - yes, of course. The market of sex services and prostitution in the country dates back to ancient times, and it is unlikely that any of the historians will accurately determine the period of the birth of sex services as a full-fledged organized sphere of public life.

However, it is known for certain that as early as the end of the 12th century, the shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo, as they say, arranged a "real brothel." The goal of the shogun was "noble". By creating such an institution for special purposes, he achieved a sharp decrease in the incidence of desertion among soldiers.

Restored 19th century photo

In the 16th century, a major feudal lord, military and political figure, who is considered the unifier of the lands of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi identified part of Kyoto as a red-light district.

Hideyoshi knew and understood that it would be easier for him to control the brothels if they were concentrated in one place. In addition, this move also made it easier to collect taxes from the owners of this business.

Later, in the early 17th century, the second shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, whose name was Tokugawa Hidetada, signed a law banning sex for money outside of areas specifically designated for this purpose. As a result, Shimabara became such a place in Kyoto, Yoshiwara in Edo, and Shimmachi in Osaka.

In the 20th century, in the post-war period, before the adoption of the 1957 law on prostitution, only laws adopted at local municipal levels were in force on the territory of the state.

Who are geisha, yujo and jero: the main differences

It is true that only in Japan you can see a real geisha, although in our time there are relatively few of them, just over one thousand in the whole country. One third of them focused on Kyoto city, Gion district, which is the historical place of residence of these sophisticated Japanese beauties, who have been exciting the imagination of all Europeans without exception for several years.

beautiful geisha
In Kyoto, the term geiko is used, which means "a woman who makes art."

It is no secret that many of the inhabitants of Europe and other continents go to Japan, wanting to participate in a real tea ceremony and get to know a geisha, preferably closer.

Why is it worth mentioning geishas? Many unknowingly compare geishas with prostitutes. Indeed, in the 16th century, among the geishas, there were so-called korobi-geisha (jap. 転び芸者), which clearly meant "tipping geisha". Korobi-geisha, as opposed to "white geisha", which sounds like shiro-geisha (Jap. 白芸者), provided services of a sexual nature.

However, those days are long gone. Modern geisha receive an excellent education, often own several musical instruments, have a good knowledge of literature, poetry and calligraphy. They are attractive, witty, clean and punctual, and also have a truly Japanese mysterious sophistication.

It is possible that a geisha can even rub the client's back while bathing in a wooden ofuro font, sing a beautiful song, demonstrate an authentic tea ceremony, and that's about it. But these services are really expensive, because there are few professional geishas.

Geisha is a term that originated during the Tokugawa era. It consists of the words gay (art) and sha (person)

It has become fashionable in Japan to hire geishas as escorts. In principle, we also have such beauties who can communicate in several languages and accompany a businessman on his business trips. Such girls even somewhat resemble Greek heterosexuals, widely known in literature.

Geishas are one of the few people who are usually left tips...Irito Muni

For Japanese partners, the presence of such a girl in the “retinue” of a businessman is a symbol of high status and success.

Travelgide.ru confirms that even now some of them continue the activities started by their ancestors, creating an exotic atmosphere in this place, permeated with sensuality and history. served geishas. They created fans, household items, tools, jewelry, shoes, kimonos.

What are prostitutes called in Japan?

The general term for prostitutes in Japan is yujo (遊女). The direct translation of this Japanese word corresponds to the essence of the services and means "pleasure woman".

japanese prostitutes photo
Friendly smiles and bright appearance yujo

It is worth remembering the geishas. Sometimes they are unknowingly confused with joro, previously living in the same neighborhoods of Yoshiwara in Tokyo and Shimbara in Kyoto. Joro were ordinary prostitutes, satisfying men simply, quickly and without fuss.

In general, jero prostitutes, in turn, were divided into koshi-joro (格子女郎), baya-joro (梅茶女郎), santya-joro (散茶女郎), kashi-joro (河岸女郎) and tsubone jorō (局女郎). In addition, in various parts of the country there were unique local names for jero, containing an explanation of where you can meet a "pleasure woman".

Some of these women, who were also called "selling spring", landed on an open veranda, separated from the street by a wooden lattice. Men walked around the block, choosing a beauty to their liking. And only in the most expensive establishments, the girls were not shown openly, hiding inside the houses, like pearls in shells.

Sexual entertainment and sex tourism in Japan

It should be said that in our time, the vast majority of geishas do not provide sexual services, as was practiced in the 18-19 and even in the 20 centuries.

Geisha services are really expensive. And tourists are often offered much more affordable entertainment, among which there are special "Pink Salons". These are bars where each drink is in the region of 40 - 60 dollars. Ordering at least one such drink, the client receives free sexual services for a snack. But at the same time, you should not expect a full-fledged contact.

In the pink salon
“Pink salons” or “pinsaro” are popular here, where you can buy a blowjob for money.

Clubs with glass floors are also popular and visited. A special highlight is that in these clubs, beautiful waitresses do not wear underwear.

Westerners perceive the Japanese woman in a stereotypical way: a quiet, modest creature following a man ...Joanna Ellmann

Another sexual entertainment in the Land of the Rising Sun is eating sushi from the naked bodies of young beauties.

Westerners perceive the Japanese woman according to the stereotype that has developed in their minds. For them, she is a quiet, modest creature who always follows a man step by step and carries out his orders. However, in fact, the mischief and cheerfulness of some Japanese women will give odds to any European girl.

It is believed that it is in Japan that sex is the most sophisticated, and often here you can find truly unusual and vibrant sexual entertainment. Perhaps that is why tourists from all over the world flock to this mysterious country full of hidden sensuality in order to experience all the delights of unusual sex with liberated Japanese women.

Prostitution, special services and sex tourism in Japan

As in many other countries, prostitution is illegal in japan, at least on paper. But the "brothels" they call soapland (literally - soapy land) and sexual massage parlors bypass these obstacles.

And erotic services in the so-called trendy health centers located in the Tokyo area Kabukicho and "soapy lands" at a hot springs resort Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, confirm that the "oldest profession" in the world lives on, just under a different name.

Japan Image Club
Image club - a kind of extended version of the pink salon

The context of the legal definition of prostitution in Japan is narrow enough to leave plenty of loopholes for the shady owners of Japan's red-light district.

According to official statistics NPA, in 2007 there were more than 1,200 "soaplands" and 17,000 sex-related establishments in the country, including massage parlors and strip clubs.

There are preliminary calculations and assumptions that the sex industry in Japan is an annual turnover of more than 2.3 trillion yen.

How much do prostitutes in Japan earn? For women, this kind of activity is still one of the fastest ways to earn money. A prostitute from "soapy land" disguised as a "masseuse" can receive more than 10 million yen per year, which in dollars is close to 70,000 per year. It is easy to calculate that monthly income for sex services can range from 7.5 thousand USD.

Sex tourism advertising
The usual thing is price advertising for intimate services

Do not forget that the sex industry (sex tourism to a small extent) also remains a significant source of replenishment of funds for the underworld. More than 20 percent of people arrested for violating the prostitution law in 2016 were linked to organized crime, according to the NPA.

Below are the facts about Japanese sex industry, commonly known as "fuzoku"and the attempts or lack thereof by the government to curb them. Knowing these nuances will help the tourist avoid getting into a potentially difficult situation.

Is prostitution legal in Japan?

Any Japanese will immediately answer that of course not! After all Prostitution Prevention Act, adopted in 1956, prohibits "sexual intercourse with an unidentified person for payment". It also defines penalties for other acts, including the organization of prostitution, such as running brothels.

So everything is in order. But what to do with ubiquitous love houses, pink salons and image centers?

Love hotel
Hotels for two are always popular

For illegal prostitution in the state there is a special term Baisyun (売春), which means "to sell the spring". If you remember, that's what they called jorō Yoshiwara in Tokyo and Shimbara in Kyoto.

However, legal experts say it's not easy for police to crack down on prostitution because it's difficult to check whether a couple had consensual or paid sex.

Meanwhile, the law does not prohibit paid sex with "a certain person" or someone who has become familiar. He also defines sex exclusively as vaginal intercourse. Thus, other acts of a sexual nature for money are legal.

Japanese prostitute
The services of the sex industry are natural and not surprising

Direct offers of sex anywhere on the street can be punished with up to six months in prison or a fine of 10,000 yen. Well, those who provide places for prostitution can be sentenced to imprisonment for up to seven years or a fine of 300,000 yen.

According to statistics from the National Police Department, 923 people were arrested in 2006 for violating the Prostitution Prevention Act.

Types of fuzoku business in Japan today

The 1948 Law Regulating Activities Affecting Public Morals breaks sex industry into several main categories:

  • Actual brothels: Soapland or "soaplands".
  • Massage salons Fashion Health "fashionable health".
  • Call girl services.
  • Open strip clubs.
  • love hotels love hotels.
  • Shops for adults.

soaplands, the pinnacle of the fuzoku business. This is a place where clients have sex, essentially a brothel. For example, a few specific facts about such an institution, called Divalocated in the Yoshiwara district of Tokyo.

soap land advertising
Screenshot from the Soap Land website Prima Donna

As this establishment (Prima Donna) says about itself, this is another “soapy land” in the area Yoshiwara in Tokyo. Primadonna is something like economy class establishments. Prices are relatively low, although the staff and level of service are of a high standard. Prima Donna accepts foreigners, and there are even people in the institution who speak English.

90 minutes in Prima Donna costs 27,000 yen or 250 USD… Rockitrisingsun

1.5 hours at Prima Donna costs 27,000 yen ($252). A two-hour session costs 40,000 yen ($374). While these prices are not exactly cheap, they are much lower than some of the other soap lands. An example is the "Satin Doll", which charges 77,000 yen in 120 minutes.

Services in Primadonna are positioned as standard. Typically, clients bathe and then receive touching, oral sex, and a full range of other services. Mat play is also included in most extended sessions, although some clients choose to spend all of their time in bed instead.

Massage parlors "Fashion Health" offer sexual services other than intercourse.

The law requires such businesses to register with the police and operate only within their registered category. It also prohibits people under 18 from working or visiting fuzoku establishments.

Well, "love hotels" provide absolute privacy and complete comfort for couples who are looking for a secluded place to spend time together.

Love hotel scene
Love hotel in Japan

All sex industry companies, except for "soaplands", comply with the law on prostitution because they do not provide direct sexual intercourse and are limited to other sexual services.

How can soaplands and sex tourism work legally?

To circumvent the law owners soaplands claim that their male clients and masseuses hired by them have sex like couples who have fallen in love with each other.

That is, the customer of services included in the institution soaplands, officially registered as a "special public bath", pays an entrance fee, which officially passes as a fee for using the bath.

Japan sex brothels - hot girl
Girl of easy virtue at work sex tourism

Then the client is usually asked to pay for the massage services directly to the masseuse, pretending that the woman works herself, and the owner of the "soap land" has nothing to do with her.

Such a process of payment and action allows us to consider these two adult capable people who met in Soaplands.

The law in this case is conveniently interpreted for the owners of brothels. A male client just has sex with his new acquaintance, and not with a woman unknown to him for money.

Another variant of the open work of brothels is similar in essence to the "massage variant". For example large Shimmachi Red Light District in Osaka will amaze you with its showcases of women "with reduced social responsibility." It is with shop windows, as in stores. And there are dozens of such windows.

Such women are sitting, smiling at the sight of customers, waving their hands affably. Such is the brothel in Japan. Next to each "girl" sits an elderly lady who sells dolls! You can buy a doll from this elderly lady and go up the stairs with the girl to “play” with her for a certain time, which depends on the “price of the doll”.

This example can be understood how much does a prostitute cost in japan. "Doll" from 100 USD - 15 minutes, from 150 USD - 20 minutes, from 200 USD - half an hour, from 400 USD - a whole hour.

"Legal" justification for the actual operation of brothels in Japan

Of course, everyone understands that this is complete nonsense. After all, it is simply stupid to think that a couple fell in love during a massage in a “soap country” or buying a doll for 400 US dollars. But the fact is that this is how things have worked within the legal framework of the Japanese sex industry for more than five decades.

Understandably, the legal framework for prostitution varies around the world. Sudan, for example, punishes prostitutes with death, but the same activity is legal and open in the Netherlands.

Many observers say the police are avoiding crackdowns on prostitution, mainly because it's considered a necessary evil, and they'd rather keep the sex market out in the open than let it go underground.

Is it possible to get a venereal disease in a brothel in Japan

Another interesting question. As the saying goes, everything is possible in this world. However, it should be borne in mind that the issue of sexually transmitted diseases is under the control of the state. Most fuzoku establishments conduct comprehensive medical examinations when hiring female workers. Soaplands undergo monthly hygiene checks at public health centers.

Beautiful Japanese girl
Asian beauty

It is worth considering that some establishments refuse to serve foreign customers. This is due to an old but enduring history. The worldwide AIDS outbreak in the late 1980s resulted in some institutions still prohibiting the provision of services to foreign nationals. This is due to the misconception that AIDS is spread by foreigners.

In a word, the Land of the Rising Sun provides real opportunities for sex tourism. It should be understood, however, that ultimately prostitution is illegal in the country. And in any case, there is a real possibility of getting into a rather unpleasant situation.

And watch a short video: "Japan love hotels video about LH". Just one of the rooms in a typical institution in the land of the rising sun.


  1. After all, geisha used to be prostitutes. Yes, they were well educated for their time, elegant and well mannered, BUT that doesn't change the fact that they had sex for money.
    The fact that pleasure had to be paid dearly makes them exclusive prostitutes, but still prostitutes.
    We call it prostitution, they might call it "crocheting" or "dumpling making", but the meaning is the same - geisha had sex with clients for money.

    1. In from that and the meaning that were before. Decent, in the sense of a real geisha with clients does not sleep. They are ladies in the best sense of the word. Geishas are not a cheap attraction, only wealthy people can afford them, so they are happy to show them to everyone to prove their wealth. In today's Japan, a geisha is a profession to which they devote their entire lives. A modern geisha has one or two days off when she can walk around in jeans and act like a normal person. Of course, there are geisha who sleep with clients, but no self-respecting geisha would do that!

  2. One of the biggest misconceptions is that many prostitutes working in Japan are Japanese by nationality. In the mid-2000s alone, there were over 150,000 non-Japanese women involved in prostitution in Japan.

    Many companies and massage parlors employ Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Thai women to work in these locations. But many foreigners contact an Asian woman, naively believing that she is Japanese.

  3. The fact is that the best way to find a special "escort" is to search the Internet for sites where these girls are represented and make an appointment with them. You can also use Google Maps and search for [風俗店] (fuuzokuten) to find the places you need.
    Tip - beware of strangers offering these services on the street, especially in areas like Kabukicho. I will not recommend any particular place because I hate this kind of practice, I am only writing to somehow help the slightly curious.

  4. Japan cannot be considered a place for "full-fledged" sex tourism. This is a country in the first positions in the global economy and a huge middle class. Communication with professional geishas will cost a pretty penny - they are very expensive in Japan, and prostitution is basically illegal.

  5. Something a little expensive

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