Beppu’s Hihōkan Sex Museum
Beppu, Japan has been called the Las Vegas of Japan. I’m not sure it has many more pachinko parlors or snack bars than any other moderately sized Japanese city, but tourists do come in droves to soak in the many natural hot springs, called onsen, for which the city is so famous.
So it was with some marketing trickery Beppu gained it’s moniker as I think anyone who has spent time in Sin City can attest. The odd statue outside Beppu’s main train station depicts the founding father of Beppu’s tourism boom with arms raised and several naked cherub-like children clung to his cape. He compared Beppu to the delights of Mount Fuji.
Among the crowd drawing jigoku, or hell, onsen (much too hot to enter) sits the Hihōkan Sex Museum. Hihōkan, meaning “house of the hidden”, is a not-so-hidden display of sexual artifacts and curiosities from around the world.
Figurines in different positions and dildos sit beneath glass cases as treasured artifacts. India, Paupa New Guinea, and Tibet are represented among the items. Life size female mannequins are thematically posed, some with animatronic action. And, in case you were wondering, two stuffed zebras can be found humping.
The second floor houses mostly older Japanese scrolls and paintings with a hardcore bent, but you can get your picture taken with disproportionately large breasts.
Two items stood out the most on my tour. The first was the viewing room with a large screen, darkened seats, and 1980′s porno playing. The salaryman at the center of the film was torn between his demanding wife and the tempting work hussy. The movie appeared to be rather tame and showed no male nudity and little female, but with visitors coming in and out (no pun intended) it didn’t feel right to linger too long.
The highlight was undoubtedly the Snow White and Seven Dwarfs exhibit. In a display that would have Walt Disney spinning in the grave and his lawyers litigiously drooling, the dwarfs are indeed hard at work. On Snow White. I’ll let the image suffice for further description:
On the way out, a gift shop staffed by a couple middle aged women sell all types of toys and gags for both men and women. By this time, I was not taken aback by that in itself, but by the horde of similarly aged women gawking, giggling, buying, and generally blocking the only exit out of the place. The looks in their eyes did not bode well for me and my Caucasian friend and we made a bolt for the door at the first opening.
Hours: 9am – 10pm
Address: 338-3 Shibuyu Kannawa
Beppu City, Oita Prefecture