The Akeno strip club haikyo is something of an oddity in Japan, as the only actual strip club I’ve seen here. Of course there are similar venues; hostess bars, soaplands, love hotels, but they each cater to a slightly different crowd and provide a slightly different flavor of tawdry service. To find a straight-up strip club complete with central podium, viewing seats, and dancing poles seems a feat beyond expectation. But there it is, on a small back-road in a quiet rural area surrounded by bamboo, half-burnt to the ground and buzzing with mosquitoes.
This was my second time in search of Akeno. The first was with Mike months ago when we took our ‘Grand Tour’ of Tochigi and Ibaraki, which provided such classics as the Cosplay Factory and the Pearl Love Hotel. We came by the street we thought Akeno was on after dark, cruised it lasciviously several times, got out to search around a newly built ‘Big Bob’s’ love hotel complex, and decided it had been torn down. Only later when Paul alerted me that we might have had a bad map and a slightly miscued location did I fix upon going back.
The second time I went with Su Young, on a Sunday. We had hoped to go to the beach, as we had hoped for every Sunday stretching back for months, but like all the previous ones it was grey and rainy, so on a whim we decided to head out to Ibaraki.
We turned up to the fine-tuned location and there it was. We headed in and were wowed by the initial view facing us- the podium, chairs arrayed around it, general dilapidation and half-burnt texture. In our wonderment we stared open-mouthed for a moment or two. Then a mosquito bit me.
I hurried to take my photos. All the whileI was shooting, setting up tripod, mosquitoes were biting me. I cursed my failure to bring insect repellent. Arrgh! I climbed to the stage for some more shots, peered into a few of the side-rooms, but beyond that there was very little exploration to be done. It’s a great location for what it was, and for the lead shot. But after that there isn’t much to see.
SY was already outside, taking photos of a piece of green glass on the floor. I came over to check it out.
“What is it?” I asked.
“I think it’s glass.”
“It’s very nice.”
Sadly neither of us has a macro lens so none of the shots came out.
She was not interested in the main building really, I think because of its tawdriness and the mosquitoes. Instead she took photos of the insides of television sets, and a lone inline skate lying in the forecourt. We did however go up to the second floor together, where there was just one room, and one master chair overlooking the main hall, with a control panel before it. We didn’t hang around to see what the switches did though thanks to the mosquitoes.
After that we were off to a famous Wedding Hall, which SY enjoyed much more due I think to its wholesome vibe.
The video doesn’t really show much as it was so dark inside, but maybe you can get a feeling of the place from it.
Akeno Gekijo Strip Club Haikyo from Michael John Grist on Vimeo.
Entry – Easy if you have the right map.
Highlights – The initial view when you enter, the weird master chair, the green glass.
RUINS / HAIKYO
You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here:
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Dang – and not even a single G string left for a haikyoist. What a shame, Mikey!
I can see why it failed though – those mosquitos would wreak havoc on naked flesh.
Oh, excellent! Glad to see that this is still standing. It piqued my interest when I read about it. Doesn’t look like a particularly breathtaking haikyo, but, like you say, the novelty value renders it worth a look.
Looking forward to the Marriage Hall pics – another one on my ever-growing list. So many haikyo, so few days off!
And…as of Spring 2015, not a thing has changed; well maybe a little more graffiti on the front wall. This place is not more than a mile from my mother-in-laws home. I often wondered what happened to it…and why a strip joint in THIS little village, and down this tiny little alley! (Very strange…but then again, it IS Japan.) My wife said, she never knew it existed while growing up there. Its just so funny to see that you actually went to this joint, in the middle of nowhere! Small world…
I didn’t think there were any strip clubs in Japan (except maybe near some of the American military bases).
There are two Rockza strip clubs in Tokyo, apparently they are pretty big and successful; Shinjuku and Asakusa in case you are interested. I’ve never been myself.
You’ll also find some hostess bar have a topless show — One Eyed Jacks, for instance.
Who had the great idea of building a strip club in the middle of nowhere?
Awesome first shot mike. x
Some nice atmospheric shots in this set, I like the 3rd from the top the most because it has interesting lighting.
Do you bring bug spray to all haikyo now? I wonder what they eat when they don’t have hobbit (people) to feast on?
Back in the 90s (blurry) I went to a “regular” strip joint in Tokyo. It had a few foreigners in it. Was quite big. Though when I and 10 other foreign girls walked in everyone looked pretty confused and we were the main focus. Even the lone dancer was staring at us. This ruin is incredible. So nowhere.
I’d be confused too if I was holed up in a strip club and 10 non-stripper (and foreign!) girls just walked in. I guess that would be a pretty unusual occurrence…
I wish there had been more to this place to shoot, really only a few angles were left. Though the mosquitoes were so bad maybe just a few angles was best…
Is that an old 45 RPM record on the floor by the master chair? Was there a DJ booth there once? Funny to see it looking so relatively clean in comparison.
I looks in slightly better shape than one of the last hold-out strip joints in Juso, Osaka.