Since 1617, Tokyo’s Yoshiwara district has been synonymous with one thing — sex. Or more accurately, prostitution. And while the current area may now be officially known as Senzoku 4 Chome, and it’s in a location dating from slightly later due to a move in 1657, its business is still based around sexual services. Only now they are almost solely centred on soapland.
And while the number of establishments may not be quite as numerous as they once were in 1846.
They aren’t exactly lacking either.
Making it a district that really comes to life after dark,
although due to what goes on behind the decorously lit doors, and the dubious types that man them, taking pictures felt far from easy.
Especially as privacy for the punters is paramount, with fellas furtively dashing out of cabs and cars.
Leaving the streets, for Tokyo at least, unusually bereft of people.
The only faces really to the fore being those of the women who work there, with their slightly daring demeanours prominently displayed for those paying to take their pick.
Next week, in part 2, I’ll take a more light-hearted look at some of the novel names given to some of these places as, for reasons unknown, English monikers are particularly popular.