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OSAKA: Saunas
Recommended by Tokyo Journal, Badi, and Barazoku.

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OSAKA -- area code +81-6

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Saunas and Hattenba

      There are three major gay neighborhoods in Osaka: Doyama-cho, the easiest for visitors to find and navigate; Kabukiza-ura ("behind the Kabuki theater") in Namba, which is smaller and less international but still very friendly; and Tennoji, in the area around Tsutenkaku Tower, which is the original post-war gay neighborhood and has a reputation as being a bit dangerous. Mostly older Japanese men go to Tennoji these days, but some of its saunas are more broadly popular.

      Instructions to the Doyama-cho gay nightlife area: from the JR Train Station, take the south exit, turn left and cross the street to the Hankyu Umeda Station building and continue through to the other side where you will find the large, red HEP 5 shopping center (with the huge red Ferris wheel on the roof) and to its left, adjacent to the elevated tracks, an alley next to the shops bult uder the tracks. Continue down this alley two blocks until it dead-ends at the main avenue with the overhead highway and turn right to the corner of the major intersection. Doyama-cho is now diagonally opposite from where you are. Cross left under the overhead highway, then turn right and cross the smaller diagonal street. You are now at the corner edge of Doyama-cho, a maze of late night bars and restaurants. Turn left at this corner and walk to the next alleyway and take a right. Take this alley straight ahead to find Lupu, Coco love hotel, and Hokuoukan sauna. Explore the alleys to the right in the vicinity for many of the bars mentioned below, which advertise their names on rows of small signs that rise vertically on the building exteriors.

      Exploring Doyama-cho is easy with our map:

      DOYAMA-CHO

        Comments from Utopians:

        "Sad news. Just went to check out Hokuoukhan and there are signs saying it is permanently closed. Probably another victim of the Covid pandemic." -- Carl, Apr 10, 2023

        "Hokuoukan sauna Osaka is closed. There is a sign outside saying closed for good as of Mar 31. Oh well." -- Kent, Apr 4, 2023



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