MANY of you have come to the area for just a ski holiday, and to experience a bit of Japanese culture.
If you have made your way down to Kutchan and wandered around the restaurant district, you have probably noticed places resembling bars without any windows, and somewhere on their signs; “スナック” or ‘Snack’ and have wondered what the story is there. ‘Snacks’ are the younger sister of the ‘kyabakura’ or ‘hostess’ clubs you will see in the bigger cities, where young women are hired for their looks, their ability to hold a conversation, and their tolerance for alcohol. These are not houses of prostitution, rather they are places where you can go and talk to a woman, have her make your drinks, massage your ego, and charge you dearly in the end.
‘Snacks’, on the other hand, are a bit different. There are usually just a few women behind a long bar with proper seats for the customers, like a normal bar. But, the main difference is the women will strike up the conversation. More often than not these ladies have spent many hours making sure they look stunning under the dim lights of the bar, and have a rather successful technique for encouraging you to have ‘just one more drink’ and come back the same time next week.
Although most of the customers are men, women are welcome. Due to the establishment of a large Japan Self Defence Forces (Jieitai) base on the outskirts of Kutchan in 1956, Kutchan has a plethora of snack bars. If you are looking to give it a go, we suggest getting cashed up and wandering around the restaurant district after 8pm and look for the place that you want to try.
Most places will add a ¥500-plus charge to your bill at the end, but it is okay to ask about the system before ordering. If one of the lovely ladies asks if it is alright to drink with you, you are footing the bill. Often places which have hourly charges post a menu outside. Give it a go!