Soaplands have a long history in Japan that can be traced back to the “bath ladies” (yuna) who plied their trade during the Muromachi period (1336–1573).
Soaplands took their present form after World War II, after the abolishment of the so-called “red line districts”. These were districts where prostitution was officially permitted before the war. While soaplands have undergone a long series of changes between the immediate post-war years and today, their popularity has remained constant.
Today, soaplands can be roughly divided into three classes: “premium” soaplands, “general” soaplands, and “mass” soaplands. The main differences between these two lie in the prices they charge, but they also have different characteristics.
Let us take a look at the kind of soapland that clients are most likely to encounter: the “general” soapland. These soaplands are known for offering good service for a reasonable price, making them quite accessible for anyone.
What do general soaplands charge?
General soaplands usually charge about ¥30,000 yen per session. All in all, soaplands are still the most popular kind of establishment in the Japanese sex industry. For that reason, even a soapland that is referred to as “general” tends to be a little more expensive than other kinds of brothels.
A “premium” soapland can get quite pricy, with one session costing around ¥60,000. Plenty of premium establishments are even more expensive than that.
Considering the price range of these premium soaplands, a “general” soapland starts to look affordable indeed.
The “total charge” of a soapland session is made up of an “entry fee” and a “service charge”. Clients should keep in mind that some establishments list the “entry fee” and the “service charge” separately.
The advantages and disadvantages of “general” soaplands
“General” establishments let clients explore the basic services of soaplands. They employ professional prostitutes who will give clients a superior experience.
An important advantage of general establishments is that they enable clients to enjoy the soapland experience without any hassle. Complete beginners should visit a premium soapland to make sure that their first experience of the sex industry is as pleasurable as possible. However, clients who prefer to visit general soaplands–for instance, for financial reasons–usually have a great time as well.
Also, it is not unusual for prostitutes who used to work at premium soaplands to transfer to general soaplands, with the reasons for the move depending on personal circumstances. That means clients can sometimes enjoy truly high-quality service for a cheap price.
Of course not everyone who works at a general soapland is like that, and some prostitutes may be something of a mixed bag when it comes to looks and technique. While some women will be extremely professional, others will have very little in the way of technique. Clients who set their expectations too high before visiting a general soapland may end up disappointed.
The trick for clients is to go often enough that they figure out which prostitute fulfils their expectations. When clients know which prostitute to ask for by name, they can avoid the risk of ending up with someone who is not up to their standards.
This is why general establishments are good for people who like to make frequent use of soaplands.
Things to watch out for in “general” soaplands
The standard length of time for a session in a general soapland is 90 minutes. However, that limited amount of time cannot simply be crammed full of sexual activity.
In general stores, it is customary to first make casual conversation with a prostitute for a few minutes before launching into actual sex. Talking for a few minutes is fine, of course, but the client may end up losing quite a bit of time if the conversation gets too involved.
On the other hand, appearing too eager to get started is not a good idea either. The client should end the conversation after an appropriate amount of time.
Sometimes, a prostitute may permit a client to penetrate her without a condom. This is called NS (“no skin”).
However, clients should be mindful of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and make sure to wear a condom anyway.
Prostitutes regularly undergo medical examinations to ensure they have not been infected with any venereal diseases. However, there is no guarantee that the client is completely safe even if the prostitute was found to be completely healthy. There is no way to eliminate the risk that she was infected with something by a client she serviced only hours before.
“General” soaplands find themselves somewhere in the middle between “premium” and “mass” soaplands. They are also the most common kind of soapland by fair, and many clients all over the country prefer “general” soaplands. That means the position of “general” soaplands is secure, and they will probably remain popular in the years to come.