Sex And The City
Not being able to find your favorite brand of condoms can make you feel as homesick as having to settle for corn and mayo pizza. Sometimes it seems like sex is everywhere in Tokyo, and sometimes it seems quite the opposite, or at least, in the wrong places. Like on the pages of the comic book the salaryman sitting next to you on the train is reading – what’s with that?
On the other hand, this is the country that made cosplay a national pastime and brought the world the legendary Rabbit vibrator. Rather than focus on what is weird or lacking, try sampling a little bit of the local sex culture.
The metropolis’s thriving sex industry boasts a plethora of sex shops, ranging from trashy to totally tasteful. You can have the best of both worlds, too: most shops carry a variety of domestic and imported toys, apparel and accessories. Some even make a point of stocking a variety of sizes (if you’re after Durex extra large, for instance, check out Wild One and Venus Cabinet, listed below).
Most good shit is in notorious entertainment areas like Kabukicho, Dogenzaka and Roppongi, but a few hidden gems lurk in respectable areas, and even—gasp!—out there in the suburbs…
All-purpose sex shop: WILD ONE
With two convenient locations on Love Hotel Hill in Shibuya’s Dogenzaka, chain store Wild One is the quintessential sex shop. There’s a slight whiff of the carnival here: with its garishly lit array of blow-up dolls, disco balls and orange walls, this is not the place to bring a skittish partner. What Wild One lacks in ambiance, however, it makes up for in selection.
The front case displays the store’s most popular items in typical Japanese “ranking” style, as well as many new offerings. Recent top-ranked items included furry, brightly colored “love cuffs” for ¥2500, a reclining inflatable mattress (¥7800) and and a wireless remote vibrator (¥4500). Everything is packaged in clear plastic (or has a store model), so you know what you’re getting.
One whole wall is devoted to a large selection of vibrators; these range from ¥1000 for small, cheap-looking rotary vibes to upwards of ¥8500 for the robotic-looking “twin turbine.” A few dildos and harnesses are on sale in the back, too.
Several racks hold a variety of ladies’ costumes (¥5000+) and lingerie (babydolls from ¥2500). There’s also an S&M section, which includes costume pieces (vinyl from ¥4000 and leather from ¥15,000) and accessories that run the gamut from cute to scary.
Wild One also carries penis accessories and some questionable aphrodisiacs and Viagra-like pills. Merchandise varies slight from branch to branch: for example, Wild One II (also in Dogenzaka) has more joke items, such as johnson-shaped toothbrushes and ice-cube trays.
2-20-12 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
From Shibuya station, Hachiko exit, go left at the 109 building and into Love Hotel Hill. It’s near Club Asia.
Other Branches: B1, 2-29-11 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, (03) 3477-0270; 1-13-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, (03) 3208-0700; 6-11-16 Ueno, Taito-ku, (03) 3837-0100
Open Daily, 10:00-0:00
Showgirl’s Boudoir: Venus Cabinet
Bright pink walls and marquee lights give Venus Cabinet a glam, girly, backstage-at-a-cabaret feel. While most shops try to cram as much merchandise as possible into impossibly small spaces, this one displays choice items like a boutique.
The clothes are playful and provocative and the prices aren’t bad either. Sexy leotards and camisoles run from ¥8000 to ¥15,000, while cosplay outfits go for about ¥10,000. Although many items are western imports, the sizes still tend towards small and medium.
Venus Cabinet is popular for its underwear and lingerie selection: there are teeny-tiny bra and underwear sets for ¥3000 and an extensive range of stockings (¥1000+). New merchandise is introduced regularly, along with seasonal items like the sultry Santa costumes that went on display in the lead-up to Christmas.
Many customers work in Roppongi clubs, and the merchandise reflects this: lots of items designed specifically for dancers and showgirls (or anyone with a theatrical streak), such as pasties and beaded headdresses. The shoes are particularly fantastic, ranging from Lucite platforms to black vinyl pumps with ankle cuffs, starting at ¥12,000. Unfortunately, the largest size offered is US 8.
A handful of S&M goods are on offer, mostly of the light and playful variety. Venus Cabinet also carries some vibes—from ¥800 for cheap rotors to ¥6500 for a real Rabbit vibe (lookalikes start at ¥4800)—as well as accessories like handcuffs, lubes and condoms. There’s even a selection of sexy underwear for guys. The website carries information on in-store specials and sales.
Roppongi Ishibashi Bldg
5-16-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku
From Roppongi station exit 3, walk down Gaien Nishi Dori, the store is at the corner of the first intersection on the right.
2:00-23:00 Mon-Fri, 14:00-5:00 Sat; closed Sun
XL Glam: Skin Fit
It’s common to hear foreign women complain about not being able to find clothes that fit, so you can imagine how difficult it must be for the guys: if finding sexy heels in a size 9 is a challenge, how about a size 12? That’s where Gotanda’s Skin Fit comes in: they specialize in men’s and women’s adult fashion imported from the UK and America, in sizes S to XL.
Sure, you can buy this stuff online (and Skin Fit has their own web shopping service), but where’s the fun in that? Shoes are the standout item here, ranging from platforms to thigh-high fetish boots (¥10,000-20,000+), and all styles come in big sizes.
The back wall is devoted to racks and racks of clingy mesh dresses, glittery halter tops, leopard print minis and the like, priced at around ¥10,000. Check out the 50%-Off rack for steals on similar items, as well as lingerie. The extensive collection of men’s underwear starts from ¥1000, with other men’s fashion items such as mesh shirts (¥4000+) and PVC vests (¥10,000+).
Fetish gear comes in PVC, rubber and leather, in a variety of sizes, and at comparable prices: basic leotards and catsuits for under ¥10,000, although more elaborate, well-crafted items cost upwards of ¥50,000. Corsets (up to bra size 42) run from ¥10,000 to ¥30,000.
S&M accessories can be picked up here as well: collars start at ¥2000 and cuffs at ¥5000, while whips typically go for ¥15,000. Skin Fit also has a good selection of magazines, including Marquis, Skin II and Heavy Rubber, as well as a few S&M DVD titles.
City Heights #202
1-29-3 Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku
From Gotanda station, take the west exit and cross the river. Make a left at the first street. Skin Fit will be on the right.
12:00-21:00 Mon-Sat, 12:00-18:00 holidays; closed Sun
S&M Emporium: C’est Bien
C’est Bien is the place for S&M amateurs and professionals alike, whether you’re looking for a few new accessories or to equip yourself with the whole deal. They have a comprehensive selection of all the basic items, such as collars and leashes, masks, and gags, with prices from around ¥4000. Restraints and paddles and switches cost between ¥10,000 and ¥20,000. There is also medical equipment on offer, including stethoscopes, and clamps and rope (from ¥3000). All items are available online as well, if you can navigate in Japanese.
Costumes run from simple bra tops and minis for just under ¥10,000 to elaborate pieces with buckles, feathers, and lace. There are a variety of colors and styles, although most items come in the ubiquitous M size. The shoe selection (up to US size 8) includes plastic and patent leather high heels starting at ¥20,000, while thigh-high boots run from ¥25,000 to ¥50,000.
It is worth a trip to the shop, however, just to see the Louis Vuitton cat-o-nine tails. These are made to order from recycled handbags. For ¥50,000, you can have your brand bag transformed (¥25,000 – and, presumably, a smaller bag – gets you a paddle). You can’t beat that for original Tokyo-style S&M play!
2-29-12 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
From Shibuya station, Hachiko exit, go left at the 109 building and into Love Hotel Hill. It’s near Club Asia.
Open Daily, 14:00-0:00
For the Girls: Love Piece Club
Love Piece Club is a pioneering sex shop run by and for women; whenever possible, merchandise is chosen from female-owned businesses or women designers. LPC also provides a crucial service to Tokyo’s foreign community: a comprehensive English website that includes not only shopping, but also advice for first time users and care instructions for sex toys.
The website has an exhaustive assortment of vibrators, from the most basic (starting at around ¥1000), to flipper and all-in-one varieties (average price ¥5000). All boast clever and creative design: check out the minx, with a pink fur tail, Swarovski crystals and a silver stand (¥35,000).
LPC carries a good variety of dildos (¥2000-15,000) and harnesses (¥5000-12,000), and a few fetish and S&M items. Most of their business is done online, but customers who want to check out the items first can visit the showroom in Aoyama (call ahead for directions).
LPC stands out by virtue of its extensive library (books ¥500-3000; videos ¥3000-6000). This may be the only place in Tokyo that specializes in erotica and pornographic films specifically aimed at women. LPC also sells their own essay anthologies and imported books on feminism and sexuality, as well as indie mag Vibe Girls (¥700). Wanna put together your own feminist erotica magazine? Talk to LPC about distribution.
Call for location
10 min walk from Omotesando station
10:00-19:00 Mon-Fri, 13:00-19:00 Sat; closed Sun, holidays
Tailormade: Affix Para Para
The Affix Para Para shop in Kichijoji is part showroom, part workshop, and most likely the only place in Tokyo to get custom-fit fetish wear. The small atelier, where all designing and stitching is done, displays samples of the stylish and sexy pieces that can be tailored to fit any figure.
The brightly colored items are made from a particularly stretchy polyurethane fabric that is easy to wear. Prices are surprisingly low (leotards for ¥8000, corsets for ¥10,000 and cat suits for ¥20,000) with no extra charge for custom fitting. Affix also has a variety of separates and accessories (¥2000-5000), such as gloves, stockings and chokers, and fabric that can be mixed and matched.
Everything can be ordered from the website (Japanese only) in a variety of sizes as well. Affix also does custom-designed fetishwear for dolls—a corset for Barbie costs ¥4000. Unfortunately, the shop owners don’t speak much English, so bring a Japanese speaker along to facilitate the fitting process.
3-21-15-101 Kichijoji Honchou
From Kichijoji Station, head down Inokashira Dori towards Mitaka for about 10 minutes. The store is just off the road to the left.
14:00-17:00, 19:00-22:00 Wed-Sun; closed Mon & Tue
And of course: Don Quixote
Don Quixote needs no introduction, with its convenient all-night hours and locations across the city. Wares vary from store to store; most local branches carry lingerie and the odd costume (as well as condoms and lubes), while the mega-stores in Shinjuku, Shibuya and Roppongi have a section for toys and accessories. The emphasis seems to be on self-love, however, with vibes and sleeves taking up most of the shelf space.
Don Quixote carries mostly domestically-produced toys, and while Japanese vibrators may seem strange at first—law prohibits the sale of “realistic” sex toys, so many are modeled after a human figure or animals—they are universally considered to be the best on the market. For some reason, the law does not seem to apply to blow-up dolls, which Don-ki also carries in several varieties (although you could argue that they are not very realistic). Prices for toys vary from ¥1000 to ¥12,000, so there’s definitely something for everyone. Costumes go for about ¥7500-12,000.
There’s something a little utilitarian about shopping at Donki for sex goods, but for the multi-tasker (pick up some cereal for breakfast while you’re there!) or the squeamish (pile the cereal on top of your wares!), it’s always an option. Besides, you already buy everything else there, so why not?
Don Quixote Roppongi
3-14-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku
From Roppongi station exit 3, head down Gaien Nishi Dori. The store will be on your left after a few blocks.
Open everyday, 24 hours a day
Don Quixote Shinjuku
1-16-5 Kabukichou, Shinjuku-ku
Shinjuku station east exit, on Yasukuni Dori.
Don Quixote Shibuya
2-25-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
From Shibuya station Hachiko exit, go right at the 109 Building fork. The store will be on your right after a few blocks.