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Report on the TOBITA SHINCHI RED-LIGHT DISTRICT in OSAKA

Osaka red light district foreignersAnybody with a sense of adventure should visit Tobita Shinchi in Osaka at least once in their life. This is a district where the “no brothels, no prostitution” laws are happily ignored, for the sake of keeping the peace. (And there is a police station in the middle of it which does a very good job of ignoring them.) The area pre-dates the no-prostitution laws and nobody has been brave enough to close it; it is rumoured that the current mayor has an interest in the area, so long may he reign!

Tobita Shinchi is like old-style Amsterdam: young women sit or kneel in brilliantly-lit doorways, while a mama-san sits with each one and greets passers-by. A proportion of them ignore foreigners, while some wave politely and others wave enthusiastically – obviously, these ones are gianjin-friendly. There are no touts and no pimps visible (but I suppose they have an interest behind the scenes). Some of the women wear really interesting costumes.

I saw one lady of about 30 who was absolutely gorgeous. Fortunately her mama-san was enthusiastic towards me, so I approached. I always carry a small pocket calculator which I gave her, and she entered a price of 11,000 yen, which I thought was fair value. This is her price for everybody; there is no foreigner surcharge (there is a big sign in her room upstairs saying 11,000 yen).

Tobita Shinchi red light district foreignersYou leave your shoes downstairs with the mama-san; she gives you slippers to go upstairs. Service was excellent and unhurried, though when she took her clothes off she was a bit more worn than she looked with her clothes on. But no complaints, she was still gorgeous and I went back next night for seconds. Walking around afterwards I saw some ladies in their early 20s and some in their 40s and 50s; I have no idea whether 11,000 yen is the standard price or just my lady’s price. I wouldn’t pay it for some of the older ones, but could still be interested if they are cheaper. I would certainly pay a bit more for a couple of the younger ones.

To get there: take the subway on the Hanimachi line to Abeno. Take the platform exit at the front of the train; and take station exit number 7. Turn right when you hit the street, and turn right at the first cross-street about 50 metres away. You will see an overhead motorway above you to your left. Go down the hill for about 500 metres until you pass underneath the motorway, then take any of the next 5 or 6 alleyways on your right to enter Tobita Shinchi. The district is about 6 blocks long and 6 blocks wide. There is a taxi area around a food stand if you don’t fancy walking back up the hill afterwards.

If you’d like a better view of the area you can view this video and this video.

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