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Friday, October 12, 2012

Soineya Cuddle Cafe Akihabara

ソイネ屋

Recently the Western press picked up on Japan's first "Cuddle Cafe" or "sleep together shop" in Tokyo's electronics & nerd culture center of Akihabara.

Soineya Cuddle Cafe Akihabara, Tokyo
Signs to establishments next to Soineya
The glowing write ups taken from a Japanese source seemed to promise something like a spotlessly-clean dentist's surgery for unloved salary-men to grab 40 winks in the soft arms or accommodating lap of a young, immaculately pyjama-clad Japanese lovely.

Soineya Cuddle Cafe Akihabara
Another sign to an establishment adjacent to Soineya
Nothing could be farther from the truth, as JapanVisitor found out on a visit to the premises earlier this week. Firstly, Soineya Cuddle Cafe is completely outside of Akihabara proper. It involves crossing Showa-dori street (the one with the big overhead highway running along it), which forms a definite boundary around the Akihabara area that no one visiting Akihabara for Akihabara's sake would consider crossing.

Furthermore, not only is Soineya Cuddle Cafe very difficult to find, it is not even clearly advertised on or around the building it occupies. The building is a three-story block of decrepitude, located in a grotty alley alongside two other equally sleazy massage parlor-filled architectural nightmares. It is not the kind of place that feels right to be in in broad daylight.

Soineya Akihabara
Soineya is on the 3rd floor of this building

Soineya Cuddle Cafe itself couldn't be further from the tones of cutesy innocence in which it has been wishfully painted by recent English-language reporting. Climbing the narrow, dirty stairs to the third floor reveals a dim, sleazy room sectioned into cubicles partitioned with semi-opaque plastic garden sheeting secured with masking tape, and the place smelt of stale sex industry. Soineya is no cafe.

Upon brief inquiry, we were  handed a flyer by the paunchy, greasy-haired, grubby-T-shirted, middle-aged minder (who nevertheless elocuted somewhat prissily), made our excuses and left.

Soineya Akihabara, Tokyo


Soineya gave the very strong impression that it would offer any service you wanted that wasn't dangerously illegal, and that going there with the intention of sleeping with an angel in your arms would make about as much sense as a teetotaler going to a whisky bar in Roppongi to ask for a glass of milk.

Soineya  is located across Showa-dori near the Sobu line overhead railway tracks a short walk from the Showa Dori Exit of Akihabara Station.

Soineya
Chiyoda-ku
Akihabara
Kanda Sakumachō, 2-chome
KN Bldg., 3F
Tel: 03 5829 6274
Map of Soineya

Soineya sleep together shop Akihabara


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