Saigon Japan Town Guide: From Late-Night Izakaya Snacks To Spas, Salons & Hostess Bars

18 min read

Little Japan in HCMC’s District 1


For unique Japanese experiences without having to leave Vietnam, head south from Saigon River, and navigate the maze of skyscrapers and townhouses into the understated neighborhood of Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung. You’ll find chic Japan Town hidden among these backstreets. 

Among downtown Saigon’s most fashionable residential areas, Saigon’s Japan Town is a colorful treasure trove of high-quality Japanese restaurants, cafes, and lounges lining the lantern-lit alleyways (yokocho). Vibrant and captivating, Japan Town is where you can spot sparkling Japanese influences in Saigon, from food to relaxation to amusement. 


– How to get to Japan Town in Saigon –


Japan town Le Thanh Ton streetLe Thanh Ton Street

Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung Streets got their major boost around 2010 when the city saw a surge in the number of Japanese expats coming here to do business. 

Japan Town Saigon motorbikes

Since plenty of Japanese companies are located along these streets, a majority of Japanese expats also choose to settle in the backstreets of this area, and formed a close-knit community. 

Japan town Le Thanh Ton street

Since then, this little-trafficked neighborhood started to rise in prominence as Japanese restaurateurs and innovative pub owners drawn to its idiosyncratic atmosphere began opening establishments in and around it.


Japan Town’s location


Le Thanh Ton street

Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung Streets are dedicated to Japanese office buildings and restaurants, but the real Japan Town neighborhood is nestled in the alleys behind these 2 main streets. 

Japan Town Saigon 15A Le Thanh Ton

Access the neighborhood through 15A and 15B alleys, or through the 8A Thai Van Lung alley. Out of these 3 alleys, only the 15B alley and the 8A Thai Van Lung alley are linked with each other. 

Japan Town alley by day

Compared to the vibrant and brightly lit 15B and 8A Thai Van Lung alleys, which are the commercial parts of the neighborhood, the 15A alley is quieter and known as the residential area. 

15A Le Thanh Ton alley

Home to plenty of townhouses where rooms are leased to Japanese expats working in the area, the 15A alley is not directly linked to the 15B alley. 

Japan Town SaigonJapan Town Saigon by day

However, you can still find several eateries here that cater to the needs of residents next door.  

For those who are keen to experience the fun nightlife here, walk for about 100m straight ahead and you’ll see the 15B alley, where you’ll be welcomed with the sight of many lanterns.

Japan Town Saigon by day

This is also home to one of Saigon’s most popular lantern spots, as the whole place becomes enveloped in a haze of glowing red in the evening. 

Japan Town alley by night

Dense and complex, the 15B alley is like a maze. Check out the directories at the entrance of every alley before venturing into the area to make sure you don’t get lost. 


Where to park your vehicle in Japan Town


Japan Town alley by day

You can park your bike for free at a parking lot at the Thai Van Lung entrance under the watch of 2 security guards.

Japan Town Saigon by day

If you access the neighborhood entrance at the 15A alley, feel free to park your bike anywhere you like, as long as it doesn’t block people’s way. 

Japan Town Saigon by day

There are no security guards there, but the alleys are equipped with tons of CCTV cameras coupled with a police booth nearby, so it’s perfectly safe to leave your bike there. 


– What to eat in Saigon’s Japan Town – 



1. Sushi Kobayashi – sushi made and served on the spot


Sushi kobayashi Salmon roe
Image credit: Sushi kobayashi

No traveler should leave Japan without eating sushi, the country’s culinary staple, and that same rule might as well apply for those dropping by Japan Town in Saigon.

Sushi lovers looking for authentic sushi dishes should check out Sushi Kobayashi, one of very few Japanese restaurants in Vietnam that offers omakase, a formal dining experience in which guests let the chefs make total decisions on the dish and ingredients. 

At Sushi Kobayashi, you’ll find plenty of scrumptious and innovative sushi dishes made by chefs using the finest Japan-imported ingredients in front of you and served straight to your plate.

Sushi kobayashi
Image credit: Sushi kobayashi

From the fresh and subtly fatty salmon roe sushi (VND140,000 for 2 pieces) to sweet and tender shrimp sushi (VND90,000, ~USD3.90), you’ll find all types of sushi here.

For a more fulfilling option yet pretty costly, you can order a full omakase dinner set which includes sushi, rice, steamed egg, and omelette soup (VND800,000-VND1,200,000, ~USD34.63-USD51.94).

Sushi kobayashi
Image credit: Sushi kobayashi

While this is one of the most expensive places in town for sushi, the craftsmanship and passion of the chefs here, highly praised by customers, make it worth a try.

Please note that this place is not vegetarian-friendly.

Address: 8A/G7A Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 6PM-12AM, Daily
Telephone: 0976 342 700
Website


2. Tori Soba Mutahiro – chicken bone-based ramen broth


 Tori Soba Mutahiro
Tsukemen
Image credit: 鶏そばムタヒロ-Mutahiro- ホーチミン

Since ramen is the staple of Japanese cuisine, there’s no excuse for not trying this traditional dish when visiting the area.

There are numerous ramen bars in the neighborhood, but Tori Soba Mutahiro is one of the most unique places for ramen on our must-eat list.

 Tori Soba Mutahiro
Image credit: 鶏そばムタヒロ-Mutahiro- ホーチミン

Most ramen is cooked in pork broth, but Tori Soba Mutahiro dishes out ramen cooked with chicken bones, chicken oil, and torigara chicken stock. This unique combination lends the broth a sweet and savory aftertaste.

A bowl of soft wheat flour ramen served in Japanese soy sauce-flavored chicken-based broth is priced at VND140,000 (~USD6.03).  

 Tori Soba Mutahiro
Image credit: Jun Fujita

The restaurant opens till 2AM in the morning, so don’t hesitate to drop by when you have late night cravings. 

Address: 8A/G8b Thai Van Lung Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 11AM-2PM and 6PM-2AM, Daily
Telephone: 090 890 16 45
Website


3. Sukiya – affordable Japanese restaurant from only VND58,000 (~USD2.51)


SUKIYA Le Thanh Ton

Despite its prime location on the frontage of Le Thanh Ton Street, Sukiya is among the most affordable places in the area for Japanese food.

From only VND58,000, (~USD2.51), diners can enjoy a fulfilling bowl of ramen

SUKIYA Le Thanh Ton
Image adapted from: Sukiya Việt Nam

You’ll also find great options for lunch sets (bento) here, ranging from only VND84,000 (~USD3.64) for rice served with beef, miso soup, and steamed egg. This would normally cost ¥500 (~USD4.79) and up in Japan.

SUKIYA Le Thanh Ton
Image adapted from: Sukiya Việt Nam

Meanwhile, a delicious bowl of Yakiniku donburi, which is a Japanese dish of grilled beef served over soft rice, starts from only VND68,000 (~USD2.94)

Address: 10AB Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, 10AM-10PM I Fri-Sun, 9AM-10PM
Telephone: 0854 141 108

Website


4. Okonomiyaki Shu – delicious traditional Japanese seafood pancakes


OKONOMIYAKI SHU
Image credit: お好み焼き 秀お好み焼き Shu

With over 25 years of experience, Okonomiyaki Shu is many local diners’ go-to spot for piping hot and nourishing okonomiyaki.

OKONOMIYAKI SHU
Image adapted from: お好み焼き 秀お好み焼き Shu

Made of batter and cabbage topped with customized ingredients such as seafood, meat, cheese, and wasabi, this is a popular Japanese pan-fried dish.  

OKONOMIYAKI SHU
Image credit: お好み焼き 秀-Okonomiyaki Shu

The restaurant is easy to find since it’s located at the frontage of Le Thanh Ton Street. It also has a bookshelf filled with Japanese manga, which you can browse through just like in mom-and-pop Japanese restaurants while waiting to be served.

Recommended options include octopus with wasabi pancake (VND70,000, ~USD3.03).

Address: 15B11 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 10AM-2PM and 4PM-11PM, Daily
Telephone: 028 3824 3403
Website


5. Daiichi – Ramen & Curry – spectacular design and plenty of curry options


DAICHII RAMEN & CURRY
Image credit: Daiichi Ramen

Boasting a facade glowing with lanterns hanging from gabled roofs reminiscent of Japanese architecture, Daiichi – Ramen & Curry is a great place to enjoy curry and ramen in a traditional setting.

DAICHII RAMEN & CURRY
Image credit: Daiichi Ramen

With bar seats charmingly arranged and a casual atmosphere, the dining space is amply lit with lanterns and old-style lampposts commonly used in Japan’s shrines.

DAICHII RAMEN & CURRYImage credit: Daiichi Ramen

Those who like to drink broth can go for Tantanmen (VND100,000,~USD4.32), which is known for its rich, spicy, and creamy broth with harmonious notes of garlic and black bean sauce.

DAICHII RAMEN & CURRYImage credit: Daiichi Ramen

If you prefer noodles with a firm and chewy texture compared to ramen, opt for Tsukemen (VND100,000,~USD4.32), topped with custard-like egg yolk and juicy pork slices.  

DAICHII RAMEN & CURRY
Curry with deep-fried chicken
Image credit: Daiichi Ramen

When it comes to curry, Daiichi – Ramen & Curry has a variety of this indulgent Japanese classic dish for you to enjoy, from curry with crispy deep-fried shrimp (VND110,000,~USD4.76) to curry with sweet and salty beef (gyudon) (VND120,000,~USD5.19)

DAICHII RAMEN & CURRY vegan curry
Image credit: Daiichi Ramen

Vegetarians and vegans won’t feel out of place here, with the warmly spiced curry with vegetables (VND90,000,~USD3.90) and curry with egg (VND90,000,~USD3.90).

Address: 8A/2B2 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 10AM-11PM, Daily
Telephone: 079 272 3555
Website


6. Izakaya Kunoichi – female ninja-themed restaurant 


IZAKAYA KUNOICHI
Image adapted from: Izakaya Kunoichi

Named after kunoichi, which is a Japanese word for female ninja who were killers, spies and messengers in the 16th and 17th century, Izakaya Kunoichi’s staff are all dressed in ninja outfits, or ninja-yori.

IZAKAYA KUNOICHI
Image adapted from: Izakaya Kunoichi

At Izakaya Kunoichi, traditional Japanese dishes are served with a contemporary twist.

IZAKAYA KUNOICHI
Image adapted from: k-yagi ots-d.com

Savour the traditional yakitori or tender chicken grilled with teri sauce (VND85,000,~USD3.67) or smoky capelin fish (VND75,000, ~USD3.24). 

Pair your dishes with a glass of refreshing draught beers or slightly sweet sake.  

IZAKAYA KUNOICHI
Image adapted from: Izakaya Kunoichi

Despite its small size, the restaurant is tastefully designed for comfort, with large posters of female ninjas and a dart board for guests to entertain themselves.

Address: 8a/3b2 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 5PM-11PM | Closed Sundays
Telephone: 0914 495 018
Website


7. Gyoza no Chikara – a good selection of Japanese dumplings 


GYOZA NO CHIKARA
Image credit: 餃子のチカラ Gyoza no Chikara

Many people tend to associate Japanese food with sushi or ramen, but I’d say
gyoza, or Japanese dumplings, also aptly represent Japanese culinary culture. While gyoza can be found in many ramen and izakaya restaurants as a side dish, at Gyoza no Chikara, gyoza is served as the main dish. 

boiled gyoza
Image adapted from: 餃子のチカラ Gyoza no Chikara

Filled with minced pork and chopped vegetables, gyoza is usually served with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, chili oil, and vinegar. 

GYOZA NO CHIKARA
Image credit: 餃子のチカラ Gyoza no Chikara

What differentiates gyoza from jiaozi, or Chinese dumplings, is the thinner texture of the dumpling wrappers and the lighter flavors of the stuffing.

GYOZA NO CHIKARA
Image credit: 餃子のチカラ Gyoza no Chikara

Gyoza Chikara offers a wide array of satisfying gyoza options, from crispy yet juicy fried gyoza (VND78,000,~USD3.37) to tender and fresh tasting boiled gyoza with various flavorful stuffings (VND98,000,~USD4.24).

If gyoza alone is not enough to fill your belly, you can order a variety of other dishes such as the mild-flavored nyumen, or thin wheat noodles (VND120,000,~USD5.19) or the savory deep-fried taro (VND78,000,~USD3.37).

Address: 8A/H1 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 5PM-12AM, Daily
Telephone: 093 958 49 51
Website


8. Wine & Dine Clover – Japanese-Italian fusion dishes


CLOVER WINE and DINE PIZZA
Image credit: Kazuhiko Futami

Those who look for Japanese dishes with a foreign twist can check out Wine & Dine Clover, where excellent Japanese-Italian fusion dishes (itameshi) are served. 

Pizza lovers can check out the creamy quattro formaggi pizza (VND240,000, ~USD10.39), which consists of 4 different kinds of cheese such as mozzarella, gorgonzola, and parmesan, with a strong flavor of Japanese mayonnaise. 

CLOVER WINE and DINE
Clam carbonara
Image credit: Nguyen Hiền Hlv Yoga

For a more innovative dish, check out the risotto with brown rice and curry (VND180,000, ~USD7.79), with a healthy blend of creamy Italian rice with soft and fragrant Japanese brown rice and flavorful curry.

CLOVER WINE and DINE
Image credit: Wine&Dine Clover

Featuring a roomy dining space with charming interior designs, Wine & Dine Clover is perfect for a family dinner or business meeting.

Address: 8A/a3 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 5PM-11.30PM, Daily
Telephone: 028 7300 4656
Website


9. 5Ku Station – alfresco dining


5KU STATIONImage credit: 5ku Station

While 5Ku Station is not inside Japan Town proper, it’s right across the street and a favorite outdoor dining spot among Japan Town residents and office workers nearby.

Boasting a spacious dining space topped with a retractable roof, 5Ku Station is suitable for group diners looking for a casual and rustic dining atmosphere.

5KU STATIONImage credit: 5ku Station

Seafood dishes such as clams, oysters, and snails (VND129,000, ~USD5.58 per dish) are the most popular here.

5KU STATION
Image adapted from: 5ku Station

For a dish to share, order a mango salad (VND169,000, ~USD7.32) and wash it down with a bottle of Heineken or Tiger (VND24,000, ~USD1.04).

The restaurant is open until 4AM in the morning, so eat to your heart’s content. 

Address: 29 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 4PM-4AM, Daily
Telephone: 090 777 54 87
Website


10. Tokyo Moon – excellent cheese cakes and coffee


Tokyo Moon

Enjoy delicious cheesecakes (VND70,000,~USD3.03) and tasty Earl Grey tea latte (VND55,000,~USD2.38) at Tokyo Moon, a longstanding culinary icon of the neighborhood.

Run by a Korean and Japanese couple, the bakery attracts both neighborhood residents and office workers nearby. 

Tokyo Moon


In fact, the fame of Tokyo Moon has spread far beyond Japan Town and draws a long queue of guests almost all day long.

There’s a lovely bench at the door for guests to wait for their turn in case the house is full.

Address: 8A/1C2 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 11AM-11PM, Daily
Telephone: 0903 923 836
Instagram


– Bars to visit in Saigon’s Japan Town –


Japan Town Pub & Bar

As the sun sets, hostess clubs are where Japanese salarymen who’ve just gotten off work and tourists gather for drinks in a lively setting with the attentive service of hostesses. 

a visitor in Japan Town

Note: Don’t get carried away and always check and confirm the prices before engaging in any service here. Always keep an eye on how much you’re drinking and pace yourself, and remember that the hospitality here comes with many add-on prices – for example, switching to a different hostess midway through the night will incur you an extra cost.


1. Blues Bar – affordable beer and light snacks for cosy conversation


Japan Town BLUES BAR

Decorated with a charming blue noren, a traditional Japanese fabric cut with slits and often seen at the doors of traditional Japanese restaurants, and wood-bedecked walls, Blues Bar is one of the easiest bars to find in this dense alley.

BLUES BAR
Image adapted from: Blues Bar

This is one of the few bars that serves food alongside drinks. You’ll find Japanese light appetisers such as wonton soup (VND49,000,~USD2.12), sushi, and draft beer from only VND40,000 (~USD1.73) per bottle.

BLUES BAR
Image credit: Blues Bar

If you want a fuss-free and cosy place to just hang out with your friends in the evening, this is the place to be.

Address:15B/14 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 7PM-2AM, Daily
Telephone: 083 822 9665
Website


2. IDOL Bar – aesthetically pleasing cocktails and charming hostesses


Japan Town IDOL BAR
Image adapted from: IDOL BAR

Small, cosy, and steeped in romantic neon lights, IDOL Bar is a popular go-to hostess club among Japanese salarymen in the area.

Japan Town IDOL BAR
Image adapted from: IDOL BAR

Aside from a good range of beautifully crafted cocktails, IDOL BAR also has a team of hostesses who can communicate fluently in both English and Japanese.

Japan Town IDOL BAR
Image adapted from: @idolbar.hcmc

With Japanese-inspired makeup and outfits, with the ability to entertain guests in Japanese to boot, these ladies look like the JPOP idols you’d see on TV.

Address: 15B/64 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 7PM-2AM, Daily
Telephone: 094 3719 748
Website


3. MIE Bar – suitable for business meetings


Japan Town MIE BAR
Image adapted from: MIE BAR

While it may be a strange concept in Western culture, entertaining business guests at hostess bars is quite common in Japanese and Vietnamese culture.

If you are looking for an elegant place to host a round of business meetings with the care of charming hostesses, check out MIE Bar. 

Japan Town MIE BAR
Image adapted from: @huynh_my_94 

Compared to other hostess clubs, MIE Bar boasts a bigger space, more debonair designs, and chic racks stacked with expensive wine, making it quite suitable for business meetings.

Address: 15B/51 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 7PM-2AM, Daily
Telephone: 090 800 52 24
Website


4. Yossy Golf Bar – indoor golf experience


Japan Town YOSSY GOLF BAR
Image adapted from: Akitoshi Suzuki

Golf is a popular sport in Japan and a hobby among Japanese businessmen in their leisure time. However, traveling all the way to a golf course to unwind after a long day of work is not convenient for many.

Japan Town YOSSY GOLF BAR
Image credit: HT NiNi

To make the most of your leisure time, you can have fun completing a challenge with a golf club right inside Yossy Restaurant and Golf Bar, where visitors can play virtual golf while having a drink and being cheered on by hostesses.

Yossy Restaurant and Golf Bar is equipped with a simulator that accurately measures the shots and analyzes the spins as well as the distance of each ball.

Japan Town YOSSY GOLF BAR
Image adapted from: Shin-ichi Fukuyama

For a birdie, eagle, or hole-in-one, you’ll be rewarded with discounts off your drinks.

The bar also has a small golf shop that sells a variety of golf equipment, such as golf bags, golf clubs, and golf balls. 

Address: 8A/H3 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 7PM-1AM, Daily
Telephone: 0911 827 270
Website


5. Samurai Bar – warm lighting and bilingual hostesses


Japan Town SAMURAI BAR
Image adapted from: Samurai Bar

If you’re looking for conversation and karaoke on top of drinking, drop by Samurai Bar. Decorated with Japanese calligraphy paintings, yellow lanterns that ooze warm light, and a wide selection of wine stacked on the shelves, this is a posh place to unwind.  

Japan Town SAMURAI BAR
Image adapted from: Samurai Bar

You’ll also be greeted by a team of beautiful bilingual hostesses, who will be your drinking companions and listen to whatever it is that you want to get off your chest. 

Remember that their job is to get you to drink as much as you can because they earn a commission off per bottle that you drink, so unless you bring enough money for at least a champagne call, don’t check in.

Address: 15B/19 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 7PM-1.30AM, Daily
Telephone: 070 397 0608
Website


6. DARTS BAR Jammin Saigon


DARTS BAR JAMMIN SAIGON
Image credit: DARTS BAR Jammin saigon

If hostess bars are not your cup of tea, check out DARTS BAR Jammin Saigon to keep yourself entertained all night long.

This place is suitable for visitors of all genders and ages, so don’t hesitate to bring your family along. 

DARTS BAR JAMMIN SAIGON
Image credit: DARTS BAR Jammin saigon

On top of drinking here, you can challenge yourself or your friends to an exciting round of dart games.

DARTS BAR JAMMIN SAIGON
Image credit: DARTS BAR Jammin saigon

Address: 8A/A19 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 6PM-2AM, Daily
Telephone: 0168 245 2875
Website


7. Butcher Manzo & Craft Beer Bar – great spot for beer lovers


Butcher Manzo Beer Craft

Beer connoisseurs can check out Butcher Manzo & Craft Beer Bar, where a generous collection of beers and wines is showcased.

MANZO CRAFT BEER
Image adapted from: Butcher Manzo & Craft Beer Bar

The industrial chic decor and street-view seating makes this a good place for a TGIF dinner.

MANZO CRAFT BEER
Image credit: Butcher Manzo & Craft Beer Bar

From robust platinum golden ale (VND94,000,~USD4.06) to lighter yet slightly bitter Pilsner (VND99,000,~USD4.28), this bar has all types of beer you can possibly look for in town. 

On top of diverse drinks, the bar also offers a great selection of Italian-Japanese fusion dishes. 

If you want a fresh-tasting appetizer, smoked salmon avocado salad (VND159,000,~USD6.87) is a good bet.

MANZO CRAFT BEER
Image credit: Butcher Manzo & Craft Beer Bar

For a flavorful onion-based dish, go for Genovese Spaghetti (VND99,000,~USD4.28) and pair it with a glass of red wine such as Sanama Carmenere (VND104,000,~USD4.50)

Or for a protein-filled and smoky dish to share, order half a grilled chicken (VND159,000,~USD6.87) and wash everything down with a glass of fruity Woolshed Chardonnay (VND109,000,~USD4.71).  

Address: 17/13 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 11.30AM-2PM and 5.30PM-10PM, Daily
Telephone: 028 2253 8825
Website


A note on Japan Town bars


Japan Town alley by night

What these bars have in common is that their entrances are carefully designed in such a way that reveal no glimpses of what is going on behind the doors. To ensure that the identities of clients and hostesses are protected, all activities inside the bars are as inconspicuous as possible. 

Japan Town LOVE BAR

While there are countless hostess bars inside the area, only a handful of them disclose their menu prices upfront. Visitors can find common beverages such as beers and cocktails in the range of VND100,000 to VND1,000,000 (~USD4.32-USD43.23) each, but seldom is it that anyone comes to these bars just to have a beer and go home. 

It’s an understated rule that men walking into hostess bars in Japan Town look for the company of hostesses, besides having drinks to chill the day away. However, if you’re new in the area and accidentally checking in a bar just to have a drink all by yourself, you’ll soon be approached by the ladies. 

All hostesses earn their pay based on commissions, which completely depends on the generosity of their clients, so the figure on the bill is hardly stated or fixed at the beginning. Therefore, it’s hard to predict how much a client has to pay for the service of a hostess. 

sakura lounge japan town

According to S.F.H, a regular at many hostess bars in the area, a group of 3 male clients can expect a total bill of VND6,000,000 to VND8,000,000 (~USD259.36-USD345.81), including payments for the drinks and compulsory tips for the services of the ladies. You can have all sorts of flirty conversations you want, but remember that paid sexual activities are prohibited in Japan Town. 

Every client can switch ladies for a change of atmosphere. For every change of lady, the bill increases. For clients for whom money is not an issue, the bill can shoot up to thousands of dollars, especially if they make a fancy champagne call. 


Spas in Saigon’s Japan Town


Japan town spas

Spas, where visitors can get relaxing massages under the care of attentive therapists, are now a staple of Japan Town, and are easily found all over the Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung area. 

On both the main streets and inside the alleyways, you’ll find plenty of spas that cater to the needs of local residents, office staff looking for a rejuvenating massage during their lunch hour, or tourists who need a break from their walking tours.


1. Ashikata Honpo – Japanese-style spa


ASHIKATA HONPO
Image credit: Ashikata Honpo

Packed with a team of professional masseuses and a Japanese massage expert, Ashikata Honpo is one of the few places in the city that offers massage services in the same style you’d find in Japan’s spas.

ASHIKATA HONPO
Image adapted from: TripAdvisor/supika h

At Ashikata Honpo, you’ll find different types of treatments, from the 30-minute express massage (from VND180,000,~USD7.78) for those who are short on time to the holistic 90-minute Shiatsu massage package (from VND520,000,~USD22.48)

For those with nagging pains who’re looking for a treatment to restore their energy and expedite the body’s self-healing process, go for the traditional Shiatsu treatment. 

During a Shiatsu massage, the therapist will stretch your whole body carefully, so expect to feel sore a day or two after the massage. 

Address: 8A/4D1 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 10AM-12AM, Daily
Telephone: 0084 908 692 877 I 0084 28 6299 0914
Website


2. Saigon Hot Spring – only VND500,000 (~USD21.61) for a group of 4


SAIGON HOT SPRING
Image credit: Google/Saigon Hot Spring

When it comes to unwinding in a Japanese-themed onsen spa in Saigon, Saigon Hot Spring is second to none.

SAIGON HOT SPRING
Image credit: Saigon Hot Spring

Decked out with well-equipped sauna rooms, nap rooms, and private hot water springs for female and male guests, Saigon Hot Spring is the perfect place for a comforting spacation. 

SAIGON HOT SPRING
Image credit: Saigon Hot Spring

The admission fee costs VND160,000 (~USD6.92) per male guest for use of the public saunas and baths. Meanwhile, female guests will need to book a private hot spring room and sauna room for a group of at most four people, which costs VND500,000 (~USD21.61) for 2 hours.

SAIGON HOT SPRING
Image credit: Saigon Hot Spring

After warming up your body in the springs, come down to the bar and try out the house’s myriad of drinks and snacks, from tea (VND50,000,~USD2.16) to tiramisu (VND60,000,~USD2.59)

Address: 8A/1c1 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 10AM-1AM, Daily
Telephone: 084 944 8222
Website


3. Genki Spa – including traditional Thai massages


GENKI SPA
Image credit: GenkiSpa

With branches on the main streets of both Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung, Genki Spa is one of the most established day spas in the area.

GENKI SPA
Image credit: GenkiSpa

The spa offers different relaxing treatments, such as muscle-relaxing herbal ball compression (from VND450,000, ~USD19.45), sleep-boosting aromatherapy (from VND300,000,~USD12.97), and stress-alleviating foot reflexology (from VND250,000,~USD10.81)

GENKI SPA
Image credit: GenkiSpa

For those who prefer a more energetic massage, try Thai traditional massage (from VND400,000,~USD17.29). During this massage, a therapist will stretch your body and apply muscle compression on top of giving you just a regular massage, which helps relieve joint pains and energize your mind and body.

Address: 

  • Genki Spa 1

8A/D5 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1

  • Genki Spa 2

15B4 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1

  • Genki Spa 3

8A1D1 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1

Opening hours: 7AM-3AM, Daily
Telephone: 083 829 4849
Website


4. Kirei Spa – a variety of spa treatments from only VND150,000


KIREI SPA
Image adapted from: Kirei Spa

Tiny but well-equipped with air conditioning, Kirei Spa is an ideal place for comforting spa treatments at affordable prices.

From manicures and pedicures (VND100,000,~USD4.32) to head, neck, and shoulder massages (VND150,000,~USD6.48) to foot massages (VND300,000, ~USD12.97), Kirei Spa has a lot to offer. 

KIREI SPA
Image adapted from: Kirei Spa

Ladies can even enjoy eyelash care and waxing services here.

Address: 15A/8 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 10AM-1AM, Daily
Telephone: 090 276 59 51
Website


Other things to do at Japan Town



1. Take a walk past cinematic alleys and Instagrammable shophouses


Japan Town alley by night

Japan Town is made up of a maze of alleys lit with hundreds of lanterns in red and white colors, on which names of the local shops are written.

Since the neighborhood is also home to numerous wine bars and hostess bars where customers seek discretion, visitors will have to go through narrow and deep alleyways here. 

Japan Town Saigon

Even if you’re not here for bar entertainment, you can still take a walk through the narrow and lantern-lit alleyways and feel as if you’re walking in a yocho in Japan. 

Japan Town SaigonA mural in front of IROHA restaurant

Along the way, stop and admire plenty of Instagrammable restaurants with stunning Japanese-style facades and creative designs. 

Japan Town Saigon by day

Many wood-bedecked shophouses are embellished with noren fabric panels and signs written in Japanese.

Japan Town Saigon

Don’t forget to create beautiful snapshots here that make your friends think that you’re in Japan. 

Note: refrain from taking photos here after 6PM because the place becomes a red-light entertainment area at night. If any hostesses or their managers catch you taking photos, they will give you a stern warning.


2. Have a Japanese-style hair cut


15A Le Thanh Ton alley hair salon

Squeezed in the narrow alleyways here are plenty of Japanese hair salons catered to Japanese expats living in the area.

Due to limited space, these hair salons are small yet tastefully designed with ample lighting and sliding glass doors.

15A Le Thanh Ton alley hair salon

You’ll find a wide range of services here ranging from VND150,000 (~USD6.49) per service, from a simple hair cut and blow-dry to spiral perms and coloring. 

15B Le Thanh Ton alley hair salon
Image credit: Salon de Varnish


3. Shop for Japanese groceries


Japan marts - AkuruhiCooking ingredients in Akuruhi

Fans of Japanese products will be wowed to find numerous marts selling all manner of Japanese cooking ingredients as well as health products here. 

Japan marts - Akuruhi

At Akuruhi, visitors will find all sorts of Japanese instant noodles, cooking ingredients, as well as aesthetically pleasing dinnerware that you often see in Japanese restaurants. 

Japan marts - Akuruhi

On top of that, you’ll also chance upon health products and accessories imported from Japan, from skincare products to hair clips. 

Japan marts - Akuruhi

After making your purchase, you can exit the shop by the front door to go to Le Thanh Ton Street, or the back door to head straight into a Japan Town alley. 

Japan marts - Tokyo shop 1

Less than 100 meters away from Akuruhi is another mart called Tokyo Shop, which also specializes in a variety of Japanese cooking ingredients, health products, and instant noodles.

Japan marts - Tokyo shop 1

Those who want to buy fresh Japanese groceries in Saigon should drop by Kimura Ya at 8A/A16 Thai Van Lung inside Japan Town, a grocery store run by a Japanese resident.

Kimuraya mart

At Kimura Ya, you’ll find a whole host of Japanese fresh and packaged items ranging from Japanese beef to sauces to sake wine, all imported from the land of the rising sun.

Kimuraya mart
Image credit: 漢の食材店 木村屋 -kimura ya-


Things to do in Saigon’s Japan Town


Home to the largest Japanese population in Ho Chi Minh City, Japan Town is a colorful neighborhood in District 1 that spans across Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung Street.

If you’re a foodie looking for something a little more unconventional and distinctive, this is the place to be. 

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from: The Smart Local Vietnam, Sushi kobayashi, Google/Saigon Hot Spring, and @idolbar.hcmc

Enjoying The Smart Local Vietnam? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more stories like this.