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Japan’s erotic onsen offerings losing steam but still rise to occasion

Shukan Jitsuwa Jan. 20
Shukan Jitsuwa Jan. 20
Winter’s chill may be in full swing up and down Japan, but a visit to one of the nation’s many onsen (hot spring) resorts is often a simple way to lessen its bite. Naturally, weekly sleaze rag Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 20) felt it necessary to offer its readership a six-page guide to getting a little below-the-belt action in the vicinity of a selection of popular destinations.

Such underground services have declined in number in recent years but are still readily available. A map, delineated by prefecture, is included and shows 30 hot spots.

We start in Hokkaido. Nationwide, the emergence of companions has rendered the use of simple barmaids (shakufu) for prostitution to be very rare, says a journalist who covers the onsen biz. The Jozakei Onsen (定山渓温泉) area, located just west of Sapporo, is probably the only one remaining where you can find gals who will pour sake and later pull your pipe.

“The fee is around 30,000 yen for two hours,” the writer explains. “If you know that you want to receive full service beforehand, it’ll be cheaper than visiting a pink companion. The only downside is that you cannot rotate girls.”

The Takimotokan Onsen (登別温泉) area requires a bit of a market survey before any real commitment can be made. “I recommend buying one drink,” explains a fuzoku writer, that is, one who covers topics related to sex businesses. “This advice is for any fuzoku service where you take a girl outside the shop. The ballpark price is 20,000 yen, and with that beer, which will cost you 1,000 yen, you’ll have time to study the girls. To avoid a case where a girl is attractive but has sub-par characteristics and services, this investment is a must.”

Moving down to Kanto, the Kashiwasaki Onsen (柏崎温泉) area in Niigata has pink salons offering full service. A regular from Tokyo explains that the difference between these places and a conventional honban salon is that in this area you are charged additional fees by the girls. “You’ll pay 10,000 yen to the shop and 3,000 yen to the girl,” he says. “What’s fun is you can negotiate the girls down to around 2,000 yen.”

Tsukioka Onsen (月岡温泉), a 30-minute drive from Niigata, offers what are referred to as “Tsukioka geishas.” If you pay 50,000 yen to 60,000 yen, you’ll be entitled to full service. “She’s basically a pillow geisha,” according an individual who knows the local area.

Should one be interested in young Korean girls, there are the clubs around Nagano Prefecture’s Kamiyamada Onsen (上山田温泉) district. “This town is by far the best area for taking a girl with you,” says a fuzoku writer who covers the nationwide beat. “It’ll run you 25,000 for a few hours or 35,000 yen for a stay over. Japanese girls are actually hard to take home which says something about this place.”

On the other hand, Ishiwa Onsen (石和温泉), located in Yamanashi Prefecture, is known for quickies, with services usually dispensed by middle-aged women who will chaperon clients to hotels. For exhibitionist types, the environs of Gunma Prefecture’s Ikaho Onsen (伊香保温泉) offer strip joints with a chance for customers to perform on stage.

The “snacks” in the Izunagaoka Onsen (伊豆長岡温泉) area offer plenty more than karaoke. “They’ve got rooms in the back where you can get down to serious business,” says an unreferenced source. “10,000 yen for one hour is the basic rate. You can choose from between three or four Asians gals.”

At the love hotels near Aichi Prefecture’s Katahara Onsen (形原温泉) area, the front desk will call a girl for you after you’ve checked in. The fee will generally be 31,000 yen for 90 minutes. A fuzoku writer claims that the resorts in the Shirahama Onsen (白浜 温泉) region in Wakayama Prefecture actually offer adult services on their premises. “The hostesses are older than late 30s and tend to ask for it,” says the scribe. “It’s hard to believe that these services are offered by snacks inside the hotels but it is also rare to find fuzoku businesses in the area. Perhaps they had to find a way to accommodate needs.”

There has been a major decline in adult operations in Kaga in Ishikawa Prefecture, according to the article. The Kaga Onsen (加賀温泉) area was once known as a paradise for men. An individual who is familiar with the local market says that the prefecture’s Katayamazu Onsen (片山津温泉) area is one of the few remaining districts with a pleasure quarter. “There are many touts standing around who will pull me towards the soapland area,” the source says. “Prices will run between 10,000 yen and 15,000 yen for 30 minutes. Once a deal has been brokered, they will take you to a rental room or a house. There’s also Yamanaka Onsen (山中温泉), whose district has been subject to a police crackdown. It still has two businesses operating. You can ask cab drivers or ryokan staff for referrals.”

For Shikoku, Ehime Prefecture’s Dogo Onsen (道後温泉) area is famous. A person familiar with the local market suggests venturing down the road that connects the center of the Dogo Onsen district with the main train station. “There are snacks and quickie joints, including one ramen shop that offers girls,” says the source. “Prices range from 12,000 yen to 13,000 yen for a selection of young ladies.”

Further south in Kyushu’s Beppu Onsen (別府温泉) area, middle-aged women will tout in the street, asking for 10,000 yen for 30 mins. A fuzoku writer explains, “The location could be a ryokan or a house where a lady in her 30s is waiting.” (A.T.)

Source: “Saishinban zenkoku onsen-gai ura fuzoku kanzen koryaku,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 20, pages 214-219)