As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Tokyo’s gay scene, I will now share my experiences going to 24 Kaikan, which is Tokyo’s most popular chain of bathhouses. There are three branches, all in Tokyo. One is in Ueno, another in Asakusa, and the last one is (unsurprisingly) in Shinjuku Ni-chome, Tokyo’s gay district that I described in my previous post.
I’ve gone to the Shinjuku branch two times a few years ago and both times were much later than my Arty Farty visit. The Shinjuku branch is the one nearest to where I was staying (though with Tokyo’s super-efficient train/subway system, distance is really not an issue), and the one has the most number of gaijin (foreigners) visiting, so it was an easy choice.
To tell you the truth, 24 Kaikan is actually the first bathhouse I’ve ever been to. I guess I just had more courage going to a foreign bathhouse than trying one out in Manila. It was actually my experiences in 24 Kaikan that encouraged me to try out the local bathhouses. Hehehe.
Sad to say, none of the local bathhouses matches up to 24 Kaikan Shinjuku in terms of facilities, services, and maybe the crowd. They don’t even have a membership system, unlike here in Manila, and so I did not have to provide any identification the two times I went there. I actually really miss 24 Kaikan. But it is a bit pricey though. The entrance fee costs ¥2,600, which is currently equivalent to around 1,300 pesos. Yikes! But considering Tokyo’s cost of living (one of the most expensive cities in the world), a visit to 24 Kaikan still gives you a lot of bang for the buck.
Why “24”? Well, they’re open 24/7! A lot of bar-hoppers and clubbers in Shinjuku Ni-chome actually go to 24 Kaikan to crash for the night, or to have fun with the guy they met at the bar or club. You might say that 24 Kaikan is like a very convenient motel or lodging place. In fact, if I had known about it, I should’ve gone to 24 Kaikan after I got tired of Arty Farty!
As I’ve said, the Internet is my friend and the following web pages were extremely helpful in preventing me from making a cultural boo-boo in 24 Kaikan (like stepping onto the carpet with my shoes still on).
A blogger’s personal account
Another blogger’s personal tips
Anyway, the first time I went to 24 Kaikan I did not have too much trouble locating their 7-storey (7!) building and arrived there a little past midnight. I went up the stairs to the receiving area at the second floor. The procedures I read from Utopia were pretty much on target (the shoe lockers, the registration, and the locker room) and I was soon at the third floor where the wet area was located. I’ve never seen so many naked guys in one place before! And you can see pretty much all types of guys hanging around there. Fat old guys, young ripped lean guys, muscular African guys, hairy-chested Caucasians, you name it.
So I tried most of the wet area amenities. There’s the lukewarm pool (where this middle-aged Japanese man tried to touch me), the hot pool, the cold pool, the dry sauna, the steam room, the warm mist room, and various shower cubicles with glory holes. There was even a BDSM room in there! I actually like the mist room. It has a fine spray of warm water filling the space and it was quite relaxing actually. I didn’t cruise around the wet areas that time since the night was still young and there were other areas to check out. Hehehe.
After washing myself at the stool showers, I ascended to the fourth floor where the really dark common sleeping rooms where. Did I mention that they are really dark? The only illumination are dim red light bulbs. You will find yourself groping around just to get anywhere. The common rooms are set up like dormitory rooms with several double-deck beds as well as single beds. And plenty of condoms and tissue were scattered by the heads of the beds. Well, not much sleeping was going on since guys were mostly having sex. Instead of snoring, you will hear plenty of moaning.
I fortunately got an empty bunk in there with the intention of getting some nap, but I was soon joined by a Japanese guy who gave me one of the best blowjobs I’ve ever had. We did two rounds with a nap in between. He left after that, thanking me, and another man joined me soon after. I was really tired by that time so I tried to ignore his advances and attempted to get some sleep. By this time, the moaning all around noticeably got less audible and was replaced with a lot of snoring.
At around 4am, I left the common rooms and went back to the wet area. There I hooked up with this really cute and toned Japanese guy and we had some tongue action in one of the shower cubicles. I didn’t get his name but I learned that he was a few years older than me (but looked really younger) and that he has had two Filipino boyfriends before. No wonder he liked me.
I left 24 Kaikan at around 6am when the trains have already started plying their routes.
I went back the following week. This time, I met this nice, cute Japanese named Aki at the wet area and we fondled each other in one of the pools. We also had a bit of fun later at the common rooms. I had several other encounters with other guys at various times. One time, a guy gave me a really nice hand job, one that had me squirming with pleasure. Another time was a threesome inside the steam room where one guy was licking my nipples and another was giving me a pleasurable hand job. Those were fun memorable times.
If ever I get the chance to visit Tokyo again, 24 Kaikan is definitely in my itinerary.
Finally, do read this Japan Times article about 24 Kaikan and Shinjuku Ni-chome in general. It’s quite informative. You might also want to revisit this blog post at the Manila Gay Guy about a hattenba, or an informal bathhouse in Japan.