Hello, this is Aoshiso again! This is the fourth article in the Japan nightlife series. I this article, we will take a look at something for women:  “host clubs”! 

What is a Host Club?

The Host Club, as the name suggests, is simply the male version of the hostess or cabaret club. Male staff called “hosts” cater to female customers basically on a one-on-one basis.

How to Enjoy a Host Club

Next, let’s see how to  ensure you enjoy your visit to a host club.

1. Charges

Most likely you assume that it is going to be very expensive, correct? Well, yes it is, but not on the first visit.
Of course, it depends on the individual club, but it usually costs around 1,000 yen – 2,000 yen (US$9.30 - US$18.60) per hour, or 3,000 yen for the expensive ones. Isn’t that easy and affordable?

2. Proof of Identity When Entering

Admission to host clubs is illegal for anyone under the age of 18. So, remember to bring along your passport.

3. Pick Your Host from the “Men Menu”

After checking your identity, the staff will show you to a table. You first select your preferred host from a booklet called the “Men Menu”. You pick one to three you like and tell the staff. Then, your chosen host or hosts will join you at the table for the duration of the set time. Sometimes, the club will recommend hosts to you based on your preferences.

Points to Check When Visiting a Host Club

Here are some points to note when visiting host clubs.

Check that the club welcomes overseas visitors

Some clubs refuse admission to foreigners because of the language barrier. So, if possible, visit a host clubs with a local acquaintance.

Check the charges very carefully

Unfortunately, in the nightlife entertainment industry,  ripping off customers with exorbitant charges is not uncommon. Even local tourists can be victims of this, so overseas tourists who cannot communicate easily because of the language barrier, are even more likely to targeted. To avoid any trouble, check and memorize all charges and drink prices before you go into the club. On your first visit, it is advisable to leave when the first set time is up. Take care not to get addicted.  

As mentioned earlier,  host clubs usually set a relatively low price for the first visit, but charges can go incredibly high the next time. The hosts are not swindlers per se, but they are professional smooth talkers whose job is to get you to spend money, so you may end up ordering luxury wines that cost you millions of yen in the course of flirtatious conversation! It definitely happens!

Check whether they accept credit cards.

More and more clubs accept credit cards these days, but there are still many that do not.
So remember to check if you can pay by credit card before you enjoy your night.

Your Host is basically for keeps, not a one-off

There is a rule that once you have chosen your host, you are not allowed to make any changes on your following visits as long as he works there. So if you plan to go back, make choose carefully and opt for one you think can bring you happy moments over the long term. 

Never Pay Hosts Directly

Remember you are not allowed to pay money to the host at any time, either when you meet him at the club, or after your enjoyment. That is because, from the standpoint of the club, any money given directly to the host cuts into the sales of the business and as such, is regarded as a kind of betrayal.

Causal tipping as is customary overseas, is frowned on too so, bear this in mind!

Never take the Host's words seriously!

Your host may make you feel like you are his princess, but, at the end of the day, it's just a job to him. Everything he does is for you, as a customer and a money spender, to enjoy your time drinking at the club. Never forget that you are just a customer, and be responsible about your spending. Never get too addicted!

The location of host clubs in Tokyo

Lastly, let’s look at some districts with a lots of host clubs.

Kabukicho, Shinjuku

The largest entertainment district in Japan. It is the location for plethora of nationally top-ranked night spots.

Ikebukuro

An area frequented by Japanese business women, with a lot of host clubs for the general public which are popular with customers from a wide age range.  

Shibuya

The nightlife here in Japan is not only for men! It is equally fun and exciting for women.
Thanks for reading! 

※ Remember to exercise caution: FUN! JAPAN does not endorse visiting these shops or bars, so foreign tourists in Japan are reminded they do so at their own risk.

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