Jun 23, 2018
They're a right saucy bunch in Japan, and you don't have to have been in-country that long to realize it. History and tradition may have wrapped Japan in an image of refinement and delicacy that borders on the psychotic, and the country's attention to manners and a culture of following rules may not seem synonymous with a wild sex life. Behind closed doors though Japan reveals a sexual creativity not fit for those with a delicate heart. Or maybe that's all down to Japanese porn which is pretty notorious for pushing the boundaries of that which can be legally distributed.
While Japanese porn (or any country's porn) maybe guilty of furnishing the vulnerable with a sexual appetite that will never be satisfied, the Japanese, like any other, seem to have a need to spice up their love lives from time to time, or all the time (who knows), and there exists an sex industry in Japan to help them do this.
This expat can't profess to being an expert in the field of sex toys and other bits of kit for lovers but it appears to me at least that Japan stocks everything that one could hope for, and probably more. And if the industry doesn't have what you're looking for in stock, it likely doesn't exist, or you've been watching far too much porn.
So that's the good news. The bads news from now is that if you're expecting anything particularly salacious from this post, you're probably going to be disappointed. Here at City-Cost we like to take a look at the cost of living in Japan. Sex, hopefully, is going to be a part of that, so to that end we take a look at the cost of sex toys and kit in Japan.
Condoms are very accessible purchases in Japan. You can find them in convenience stores, supermarkets, drug stores, sex shops, and even shops that specialise in condoms -- of every shape, size and flavor.
While you might struggle to find default condom brand Durex in Japan, you'll find plenty of Japanese brands that get the job done, in so far as they will almost certainly prevent the job from getting done, as with any other condom. There's also that thing about the sizes being a bit small over here but, honestly, we haven't gone around comparing.
Cost: Cheap condoms in Japan will cost around 600 yen for packs of 8 to 10. At the upper end expect to pay 1,000 - 1,500 yen for the same quantity, sometimes over 2,000 yen. Sex shops and specialists will sell packs of two novelty / extra-special condoms for 100 - 200 yen.
A note on buying condoms in Japan - those vending machines that you might have seen in toilets back home selling condoms are a rarity in Japan. If it's an emergency, convenience stores are your best bet.
Japan is well stocked in the rotor department -- expect them to come in all shapes and sizes, displaying all degrees of tech savvy.
For a very simple bit of kit expect to be paying around 800 - 1,000 yen. Top-end rotors can command costs of around 6,000 - 10,000 yen (even going up to 20,000 yen in rare cases). Shoppers can find extensive choice in the 2,000 - 3,000 yen range.
Vibrators in Japan range from those that look delicate, through to those that appear as some kind of medical service, and then on to those that look positively terrifying.
Expect lengths to be in the 10 - 15 cm range with widths of around 3 cm being common.
Prices start from around 1,000 yen rising through the ranks to around 6,000 yen. Those vibrators with the widest variety of settings can go for over 20,000 yen. Terrifying piston operated jobs (yes, they have them in Japan) can reach 30,000 yen.
Lotions and oils
Sex shops in Japan are a veritable apothecary of lotions. Honestly, it's quite staggering just how much choice there is in this field ... on the surface at least.
What these lotions all essentially boil down to though is either oily or a kind of delightfully weird ectoplasm substance that is almost dangerously slippery (although not bright green, like in Ghostbusters).
Beyond this you're looking at a secondary choice as to whether or not you want your lotion to have a kind of "heat" sensation (in varying degrees), and perhaps what part of the body and for what purpose it is to be used.
Some lotions also come with equally delightful names like "Wanker," for instance. And some bottles come in phallic shapes or with those disturbing sexualised manga characters that Japan seems so unfortunately fond of, slapped onto the packaging.
500 -1,000 yen for something around the size of a bottle of pop.
In a land that loves cosplay (the kind that happens out in public) it should come as no surprise then that a similar kind of creativity finds its way into the nation's sex life.
Along with condoms, a bit of sexy cosplay kit probably remains one of the most accessible purchases that can made in Japan in the spirit of adding a bit of something extra to the sex life.
Japan has all the standards, almost exclusively to be worn by women -- maid, sailor, nurse, police officer, S&M outfits et al can all the found on the shelves of the nation's sex shops.
Expect prices to be in the 2,000 - 5,000 yen range depending on obvious quality. The same goes for the less savory choices of school uniform, PE kit and nun.
The more astute shopper might also be able to find the real outfits as worn by AKB-style otaku idols.
And should anyone be feeling left out, there are outfits for men, although the choice is far more limited in this regard (but the prices are similar). Expect hot pants, neckties, and shirts with few buttons to make up the bulk of costumes in this field.
The less picky sexy-costume shopper could perhaps make do with the myriad of "party" costumes that can be found on the "open" shelves of stores like Don Quijote.
There's arguably less tech that goes into the making of such things, and this will be reflected in the prices, at the lower end of the market at least where a basic dildo in Japan's sex shops costs from 500 yen.
Something displaying a little more in the way of craftsmanship, including those made from glass, could start from 1,500 yen.
At the top end, expect to pay around 10,000 yen for something that takes more of an imaginative reimagining of the humble human form.
Where to find many of these sex toys in Japan?
In the case of condoms, as was explained earlier, convenience stores, drug stores, sex shops, and novelty / specialist condoms shops. However, don't expect much in the way of adventurous choice outside of the last two locations.
Options for buying the kind of sex toys and costumes mentioned above are probably twofold -- one would be some kind of variety store like Don Quijote. Most Don Quijote stores have an "adult" section, which might be curtained off, selling some the bare essentials of the above items. And then we come to the all-out sex shop which is where you'll have to do your shopping if you're after the more specialist bits of kit. In Tokyo, Ueno and Akihabara boast a handful of sex shops between them.
You can read more about the Japan sex shop experience here:
Of course, one to way to avoid having to actually buy any of the sex toys mentioned above is to go and do your business in one of Japan's storied love hotels. Not only are these hotels a legitimate way of adding a bit of "location" variety to your sex life in Japan -- with their themed rooms, fancy beds, weird lighting, jacuzzi baths, play mats and free porn -- but many of them also have much of the kit mentioned in this post to "rent." (Although one hopes that some of it gets disposed of after first use.) Certainly costumes rental is common, and that thing in the room that looks like a refrigerator is often stocked with vibrators, dildos, handcuffs, and other assorted sexy accoutrements.
A word of caution though, shop around if you're after something novelty in your love hotel experience. Many of them are little more than a fancy business hotel setup ... but still with the free porn ... and no windows. Oh, and if you do rent a costume, at the cheaper places you might actually have to collect it in person from the member of staff who delivers it! Not for the faint hearted!
This post about sex toys in Japan and their cost has been aimed at couples wanting to spice up their bedroom game. We have thus avoided going into the myriad, and quite often troubling, toys and bits of kit aimed largely, but not exclusively, at single men who often have no choice but to achieve such pleasures solo.
Japan is extraordinarily well-stocked in this field, from the rubber vaginas created from molds of a porn star through to life-size dolls and well, pillows with a face on them. It's a quite frankly bonkers world and one that we currently don't have the stomach for. Maybe another time.
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