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The website of snack tour operator Make.LLC Image: Make.LLC

'Snack' bar tours giving tourists a taste of after-dark Japan

By Toma Mochizuki

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They must be desperate. Wasn't long ago that non Japanese were turned away from these.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

I see pachinko tours coming soon. For another "authentic experience."

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

There were would be very few snack bars that allow foreign visitors.

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

tamanegiToday 07:55 am JST

There were would be very few snack bars that allow foreign visitors.

Hopefully this will put an end to that racism, then.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think many foreigners see snacks as places to avoid because of the likelihood of being overcharged, ripped off.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Well, I guess money talks. Now, any chance you can get onsen, and sento to let customers in with a tattoo?

Now that would be newsworthy.

MoonrakerToday  07:54 am JST

I see pachinko tours coming soon. For another "authentic experience."

Pachinko place tours? Mm Why not? No different than going to Las Vegas to lose your money. Maybe even boat race excursions. Some people might like that, tagged on with a dinner course, or some Sake factory tours.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Actually one of the most boring nightlife activities I can think of but these tourists seem fascinated by even the most mundane things. I saw a bunch of them gawking at a convini the other day. When will it end?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Smoking, whiskey and mandatory karaoke. I’ll pass.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

In three decades I have never been to a snack bar. What am I missing?

4 ( +7 / -3 )


1 ( +6 / -5 )

Ridiculous price. And paying 'admission' to a place to eat and drink is insane. Not to mention the usually horrid renditions of popular songs by inept 'performers'.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

In three decades I have never been to a snack bar. What am I missing?

Wallace. Just a junk late night place to carry on drinking with pals, sing some songs, and have a laugh. They are not crazy expensive and usually quite upfront about charges.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Good Lord, this sounds like the 7th Circle of Hell

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I've been to a few of these in my time here. Not much to see honestly. Good cure for insomnia.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And just like clockwork, the 'My Japan' peanut gallery shows up to voice its collective disapproval...

Sounds like good harmless fun me. The particular bars they visit are obviously in on it so they're not rubbing anybody the wrong way....

Those places aren't my cup of tea, either. We've all been dragged there by Japanese coworkers at one point or another and wished we were somewhere else. Still, aren't we all glad we went at least once to check it off the list, as in "been there, done that"? Let them get their checks on the list. They're tourists.

What's the harm?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I met one of my best female friends at a snack bar almost 6 years ago. She left a while ago, but as of August I still have a bottle there and was still the only foreign visitor/member. They are fun places once you get to know the staff.

The article is missing a bit of the story…. These are men’s establishments, like Izekaya version of Hostess Clubs.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Great. Another article advertising about the semi-prostitution adult industry in Japan.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

As a cultural experience, I would try this. That's not to say it would be a regular activity for me, nor that I would even like it, but it's something Japanese to see.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These guided tours are a good idea. The expanding chunk of the tourist sector is in experiencing life as lived by the locals. It's driving AirBnB rentals over hotels, where the authorities don't ban them. Hence the interest in local bars and factories.

It would be nice if this did lower a few barriers, but I expect it will just ruffle feathers and lead to more restrictions.

Whilst I've enjoyed the tourist sights, I spend much of my time in Japan wandering around non-tourist areas, taking photos of stuff like street furniture, ordinary buildings, industrial areas, everyday life and the like. I buy food in the local shops and cook it on the tiny appliances in the apartments, walk the backstreets, explore the shops and markets, check out the tiniest shrines and photograph the local birds that hide in the undergrowth in the parks.

If Japan wants to maximise its tourist income, it needs to cater to both. The new, expanding sector doesn't need much in the way of public money, PR or government effort. It just needs to be allowed to grow organically via YouTube videos and courtesy of local people, who can make a living as guides and vloggers. I fear the government may be happier to spend millions on tourist infrastructure than just sit back and let folk explore.

If you haven't got a guide, try the street food and stalls that pop up around large shrines or at outdoor events and festivals. Prices are displayed and you don't need much in the way of language skills to buy stuff and enjoy the atmosphere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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