You might hear about so-called bottakuri (rip-off) joints. These tend to look inexpensive at first glance, but then they slam you with so-called “service fees” and “admission charges.” You’ll get hit with a check that exceeds what you expected – sometimes so steep you would never have that much cash on hand. Be careful.
You can avoid these establishments by keeping the following things in mind. Here are four things to consider. If you are new to Japanese sex clubs, you should definitely take these to heart.
1. Frequent shops listed in sex club magazines and portal sites
The first key point is to only patronize shops listed in Japanese sex club magazines and portal sites.
Only reliable shops appear in these listings. Why is that, you ask? Simple: these magazines and portal sites would lose their readership if they listed unreliable establishments.
If a reader of one of these magazines or sites visited a shop they found there and got ripped off, they could send a complaint to the editorial department or the company running the site, which would do them a heavy blow. That’s why these outlets carefully select their content.
If you want to patronize a quality joint, keep that in mind. There is almost no chance you will run into an unreputable shop if you follow this advice.
2. Don’t just wander the red-light district and choose a shop at random
One of the most common pitfalls is roaming around a touristic pleasure quarters and then popping into a shop out of curiosity. Many people visit these areas at night and after they’ve had a bit to drink.
If you wander in under the influence, you might let your emotions get the better of you and cause you to pick any old shop willy-nilly. The men who prowl the streets to fish for patrons are skilled talkers. If you’re drunk, you won’t be able to sort the fact from fiction in what they say, and you’ll quickly fall hook, line, and sinker for their tall tales.
There’s a very high likelihood of getting ripped off if you go about it that way. In fact, red light districts popular as tourist destinations will tend to prey on travelers in this fashion. Because male tourists don’t know the local customs, they can easily be tricked and forced to split with their hard-earned cash.
If this happens to you, what you thought was going to be a bit of fun for ¥10,000-20,000 could wind up being a bill for ¥50,000-100,000! You’ll quickly lose your buzz and be shocked into reality.
3. Take the beaten path away from popular red-light districts
In famous red-light districts, newbies tend to be targeted as easy marks, so they’re not a good place to go if you want the real deal. Instead, I recommend shops a bit off the beaten path from a major red-light district.
When you browse Japanese sex club magazines and portal sites, you’ll find places pitching specific tourist destinations in Japan – “When you come to Tokyo, you have to see our shop in Kabuki-cho,” “Shops to visit in Susukino, Hokkaido,” “Nakasu, Fukuoka,” etc. – but there are other regions with quite a lot of Japanese sex clubs of their own. These places don’t have the stiff competition of major tourist sites, so they don’t resort to ripping customers off.
Let’s take Tokyo: if you’re a newbie, instead of going to Kabuki-cho, try Kōen-ji. The shops there are reliable, and you can go without worry.
4. Don’t listen to the smooth talk of salespeople working the streets beyond their shop
An easy way to distinguish rip-offs from the real deal is to check whether the sales staff are soliciting patrons beyond the confines of the shop. By law, soliciting patrons is forbidden except within the shop area. Salesmen standing out front of a shop are following the law. By contrast, if you bump into guys prowling the streets and approaching you with a “sweet deal,” they are breaking the law. Reputable establishments do not break the law, so you can safely ignore these guys. However, if you protest too sharply, they might come back at you with their own comeback, so your best bet is to lightly discourage them with a simple, “No thanks, I’m fine.” I, personally, just ignore them altogether.
You will also run into situations where salesmen in one shop recommend a different shop. This, too, is against the law. Just as with those guys that roam the streets, you should ignore these solicitations, too.
Avoiding rip-offs comes down to being prepared and having your own counter-measures ready. Don’t let poor judgment sour you on the Japanese sex club experience.