Safe, sexy and sensational: Tantra is Japan’s classiest gentlemen’s club

Tantra in Roppongi
Tantra in Roppongi provides a safe, sexy and sensational night out in Roppongi (photograph courtesy of Tantra)

TOKYO (TR) – For decades, Roppongi has been widely regarded as the go-to spot for adult entertainment in Tokyo. Aside from its overwhelming number of clubs, the nightlife quarter has something for everyone, from enormous, opulent discos to bargain-basement shot bars.

But in recent years the reputation of High Touch Town has been tarnished by reports of theft and fraud, particularly “spiked drink” incidents in dubious establishments. Police and embassy staff have warned carousers to be on their guard.

Yet not only is it possible to have a safe and secure night out in Roppongi, you can do so in the company of some of the sexiest women in Japan. To find out how, take a trip to the legendary gentlemen’s club Tantra Artistic Lounge, an exclusive performance and dining space tucked in the back streets off Roppongi-dori.

Opened in 2002, Tantra, which is sponsoring The Tokyo Reporter this month, is unlike any other entertainment complex in Tokyo. Even when you arrive, you’ll see that you’re in for something different. After a doorman ushers you down a set of stairs, you’ll see photos of global celebs that have partied here: Avril Lavigne, Jon Bon Jovi, Sting, Ronaldo, The Black Eyed Peas, and even European royalty.

A Tantra girl
Tantra girls perform a mixture of pole-dance and burlesque shows (photograph courtesy of Tantra)

That’s not something many clubs in Japan can boast about. Yes, this is the kind of place where you could be enjoying a drink and a show and then you suddenly notice Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is sitting a few feet away.

At the reception desk, you’ll check in and then be guided past the VIP dining lounge 395 Spice Tokyo, which serves caviar, champagne and Italian dishes. A few steps below it is Tantra’s main space, a large show area with private tables, sumptuous leather seating and a brilliantly lit stage.

The clientele is a mixture of Japanese and foreign office workers, couples, travelers and VIPs. A large LCD screen behind the stage shows cherry blossoms and other images of traditional Japan as dancers take the floor — it’s clear that the focus here is high-class entertainment and fantasy.

The gorgeous dancers of Tantra are from Japan and other countries. They perform a mixture of pole dancing, burlesque, fire shows and other forms of dance and entertainment. When they’re not flexing their muscles with gravity-defying pole tricks, the hostesses perform five shows a night. These are a heady blend of Western burlesque-inspired performance and traditional Japanese dance.

One show might be a thrilling ensemble dance of leggy hostesses dressed as angels and devils, all garter belts, fishnets and stiletto heels flashing, while another might feature the Tantra girls dressed in flamboyant flowing kimono robes and spinning parasols.

Tantra in Roppongi
Tantra offers a limousine service featuring stretch Hummers for bachelor parties

The performers tease and excite; they’re not here to take everything off. After all, leaving something to the imagination makes it all the more exciting. But nor are they shy as members of the audience can get up on stage or invite the performer of their choice to their table for a close encounter.

They can also be outrageous: the legendary Japanese practice of nyotaimori, or “body sushi,” often dismissed as an urban myth, can be fully enjoyed at the club.

The dancers are also entertaining off stage — just sit down for a chat with one of them and you’ll see they have a real dedication to their art; it’s all too easy to get on very friendly terms with them.

And when you go to Tantra do it in style with YOLO (You Only Live Once), the club’s limousine service. Want a stretch Hummer for a bachelor party at the club? Just ask.

Note: Packages for Tantra start at 5,500 yen including two drinks, which are otherwise priced from 1,500 yen; see the web site for details. Special shows inspired by traditional Japanese festivals will be held at the club on September 28 and 29.

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