Photo/IllutrationAn artist’s rendition of a space set up in Daimaru Umeda department store in Osaka to sell products for women’s sexual and erotic entertainment (Provided by Tenga)

OSAKA--Sex toys went on sale in a Japanese department store for the first time on Aug. 22 when a special area targeted at women opened at Daimaru Umeda here.

The discreet area for the products, known as “adult goods” in Japan, is on the fifth floor among space selling clothes for women in their 20s and 30s.

Fenced off and measuring about 23 square meters, it contains about 20 kinds of products for women produced by Tokyo-based sex aid maker Tenga, as well as two types of liquid soap.

Tenga’s female employees, who have professional knowledge of the products, are serving as sales staff in the section. Male customers can also buy products there.

In Japan, sex toys are usually sold in adult shops or through the Internet.

“It is difficult for women to enter adult shops even if they are interested in them,” said Kyohei Matsui, the Daimaru Umeda staffer in charge of the selling space. “There are also women who have anxieties over purchasing those products on the Internet, so there will be a demand for them if they are sold in a department store.”

The Umeda district, close to JR Osaka Station, is an area where competition among department stores is fierce. Due to its location, Daimaru Umeda is facing greater challenges in increasing its sales than the department store chain’s Shinsaibashi outlet, which is closer to Kansai Airport and is enjoying a growing number of foreign customers.

“We are aiming to branch out beyond the traditional framework of department stores,” a public relations spokesperson for Daimaru Umeda said. Selling sex aids is part of that strategy.

The special area is being treated as an experiment, and it is scheduled to be open until Sept. 4 initially.

Daimaru Umeda will decide whether to open it on a permanent basis depending on the reactions of customers.