24 Kaikan is a gay bathhouse/sauna located at the eastern side of Shinjuku Ni-Chome. With 8 floors, it is the biggest cruising premises in Tokyo’s best-known LGBT area. As the name indicates, 24 Kaikan is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Foreigners are welcome, and staff speak some English.
“kaikan” as it is spelled out in kanji on the building’s signboard simply means “meeting hall” (会館), but the same word using different kanji, 快感, means “rush of pleasure” or “thrill.”
The 2,500 yen entrance fee, payable by vending machine in the entrance, is for a 12-hour stay, between 5am and 9pm: 200 yen-per-hour after that. Entry after 9pm costs 2,900 yen, for a 14-hour stay. (A 6-hour “short stay” is also possible on weekdays for 2,200 yen between 8 am and 4 pm: 200 yen-per-hour after that.)
The procedure is: put shoes in locker and change into slippers, buy admission ticket from vending machine, take shoe locker key and ticket to the front desk, and receive a clothes locker key and a bag with robe, face cloth, and bath towel. The reception floor also has a snack room.
For those coming by car, there is parking on the first floor (600 yen for first 3 hours, requiring the purchase of a “service coin” at the front desk). There is a dry sauna, steam room, communal bath, and tanning beds on the 3rd floor. There is a video room on the 4th floor, and private rooms on the 5th, 6th, and 7th floors.
24 Kaikan also has a rooftop floor, equipped with another suntan room and a cold bathtub.
Private rooms are expensive (from 3,800 yen to 21,000 yen depending on numbers and time slot) so most action takes place in the common rooms on the 4th, 5th, and 6th floors – so much action, in fact, that if, on weekends, you manage to find a space on a futon to lie down, sleep is often difficult. Being a roomful of scores of guys, there is naturally a lot of snoring. Being a roomful of guys there for hooking up, there is also naturally a lot of moaning and groaning, huffing and puffing, and those on the cruising front lines scouring the scene for hookups with subtle groping of likely-looking sleepers.
Foreigners are not uncommon at 24 Kaikan Shinjuku, and, while most Japanese guys are not very forthcoming and are unlikely to make the first move, if you know what you want and stay tuned, your chances are as good as anywhere else in the world. The easiest Japanese guys to hook up with are gaisen (pronounced “guy-sen”), i.e. those into foreign guys, but they do not necessarily form the limits of your cruising experience in Japan. Those who don’t think of themselves as gaisen might just need a little more effort on your part.
Condoms (kondomu in Japanese) are available free of charge.
Upon entry, you may be asked to show your passport or Residence (zairyu) Card.
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Tel. 03 3354 2424
3 minutes walk from Exit 3 of Shinjuku-gyoen-mae Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Subway Line.
4 minutes walk from Exit C8 (or, after 11pm, C7) of Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Toei Shinjuku Subway Line.
There are two other branches of 24 Kaikan, in Asakusa and Ueno.