Champagne for 1000 Bucks – Host Clubs in Japan

Host Clubs are an interesting Japanese social phenomenon. Unlike "normal" clubs where you go for dancing, you go to host clubs to enjoy the company of nicely dressed and styled young Japanese guys and girls, the hosts. A host club has several hosts whose job it is to make the mostly female customers enjoy themselves and make sure they order as many drinks as possible often times faking a romantic relationship with their customers.

Host Clubs Are Expensive

Going to a host club is not cheap. Not only are the drinks overpriced to a point that you can order champagne for 1000 bucks and more, you also pay table charges and other additional charges. Also, you not only pay for your drinks but also for the drinks that the hosts at your table orders. Most clubs have a complex pricing system which makes it hard to tell how much you end up paying for. But even if you stick to the cheaper drink options you will at least spend a few hundred bucks on a single evening.

Ad for all-you-can-drink first-time visit for 1000 Yen

However, if you don’t plan on becoming a regular customer, you can enjoy host clubs for cheap. Most clubs have discounted options for first-time customers. If you use online coupons you can find on websites like you can get all-you-can-drink options for at around ¥1,000.

The clubs will even let you decide your own host. During a first-time visit several hosts will come to your table in rotation and stay for around 10 to 15 minutes so you can see which one you like best. At the end you will be asked to choose one that will see you out and probably ask for your contact information.

Can You Visit a Host Club as a Foreigner?

Billboard for Host Clubs in Shinjuku

It is possible to visit a host club as a foreigner. You might need an ID to prove you are of legal drinking age in Japan which is 20-years-old.

If you do not speak much Japanese you will probably not enjoy the visit very much as most hosts don’t speak a lot of English. If you do speak Japanese, you will soon realise that all hosts will ask you the same standard questions. Where are you from? How long are you in Japan? How did you learn Japanese?  

It can get boring after a while. As a tourist or someone that only stays in Japan short-term you will not be their favorite client, as the clubs want people to come back after their cheap first-time visit, so the hosts will usually not put on their A-game for tourists.

What To Watch Out For

As I mentioned, the pricing system of host clubs is often difficult to understand at a first glance. If you stick with your first-time visit package you will not pay more than what was advertised, but you need to be careful. The first-time packages can be limited to certain drinks so if you order anything else you will have to pay more.

Additionally, usually, there is a time limit. Once that is over, you will be asked whether you would like to extend. You might think you can get the same cheap deal again but that is not the case. The extension is always more expensive.

Besides that, when being asked for your contact information by a host be aware that some can be quite persistent when it comes to making you come back to the club, so you might want to choose an option where you can easily block them from contacting you.

The Dark Side of Host Clubs

Host clubs can be fun if you stick to the first-time offers, but girls that fall for the fake romance of the hosts and become a regular of the club will soon find themselves in financial trouble. The club will try to be sneaky and offer them to pay later and accumulate a debt. Once the debt is high enough it often happens that the clubs introduce the girls to prostitution work so they can make some quick money.

Visiting a host club can be an interesting experience for foreigners as there are no similar establishments in most other countries but you should take care and remember to drink responsibly.

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