Sophia Kabukicho by dat/Flickr CC
One of the most notorious Japanese scams happens in the Tokyo area of Kabukicho. This area is an entertainment and red-light district, but also has a lot of small drinking bars down alleyways that tourists will often visit. There are also a lot of yakuza or Japanese gang members in this area, so caution should be used if you are visiting this area in the first place. In the alleyway bars, it is very important to ask what the service charge is ahead of time, as this is not usually disclosed upfront and each bar has the option to charge whatever service fee that they want to. Once you ask, they will usually show you in writing that you will be charged for any items that you are offered gratuitously that you accept. (So basically, there’s no free lunch). If you don’t know to ask about this ahead of time, you may make the mistake of thinking that items offered to you are free. You should also ask what the exact service fee is, as many people wind up paying double what the price of the drinks actually is with this service fee attached. With all the gang members around, it is best not to argue this price. If you are in this area and stay in the main touristy areas like the Hub, then you should be able to avoid these Japanese scams. The alleyways are more dangerous and less protected and should be avoided.