Atami (熱海) is a city located on the coast in Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県) of Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島). It is adjacent to Tokyo (東京) and Hakone (箱根), making it one of the most frequented cities in the region. Thousands of tourists visit Atami every year, discovering its famous onsen (温泉; hot springs), museums, and culture.
There are a couple of notable museums in Atami such as the MOA Museum of Art (MOA美術館), the Atami Trick Art Museum (熱海トリックアート迷宮館) and, the one I’d like to talk about today, the Atami Adult Museum (熱海秘宝館). Among all the museums, the Atami Adult Museum, or Atsumi Hihokan in Japanese, has become the most popular thanks to its unique exhibits. In fact, most people who go to Atami end up visiting this museum.
— atamihihoukan (@atamihihoukan) February 4, 2016
A hihokan is a Japanese sex museum that was once a major attraction and hideout for young people. A couple of hihokan sprung up in different cities around Japan in the 20th century. However, these museums are gradually starting to close down due to their unpopularity, such as Kinugawa Hihoden (鬼怒川秘宝殿), which closed in 2014. Along with the inaccessibility of a lot of the hihokan, they are increasingly looked down upon by locals.
Despite this general decrease in popularity, there are a few sex museums such as the Atami Adult Museum that have been successful in drawing enough of a crowd to sustain themselves financially. The museum is located on a small cliff just in front of the Atami Castle (熱海城) and is conveniently accessible via the Atami Ropeway (アタミロープウェイ). You can buy a combo ticket that gives you a round-trip ropeway ticket as well as entry to the museum.
The Atami Adult Museum is probably one of the strangest places you can visit in Japan. Welcomed in by a bare-chested mermaid statue, your first step inside the museum feels like an entrance into a forbidden world. The walls are covered with paintings and holograms of naked women, with statues of fornication and the like lining the room.
The museum’s naughty themes are not only found in the form of visuals but also interactive games. You’ll find 3D projections, peeping holes, dodgy lighting, a pictographic collection of fetishes, a naked Marilyn Monroe figurine and a morphing Mona Lisa.
Although a lot of the displays are relatively old, there are some modern additions to the exhibition, such as holograms. This is definitely one of the strangest museums you could visit so prepare to feel a little awkward and uncomfortable if you’re at all squeamish!
The Atami Adult Museum is one of the most accessible spots in Atami as it is situated near to major landmarks such as Atami Castle. It is found in an area called Wadahama Minamicho (和田浜南町) and can be reached via taxi, bus or ropeway. If you take the ropeway, you’ll get the additional bonus of beautiful views over the ocean and surrounding cliffs.
The museum is open every day and costs 1,700 yen to enter. As entry into the museum is strictly for adults only, a valid piece of ID to prove that you’re over 18 is required. The tour of the museum takes approximately one hour if you plan to see all the exhibits.
Atami is a great city with plenty of resorts and onsen where you can relax with your family and friends. There are a few hotels nearby the Atami Castle and the Adult Museum, too. Although not for the lighthearted, anyone looking for a unique and fun thing to do in Atami will find that this is one of the best things to do in this beautiful city.
Atami Adult Museum website *Japanese only