What is 歓楽街?


So I just learned to vocab 歓楽街 as “pleasure quarter”. Now to me, this sounds dirty, like prostitution (but hey, maybe I should get my mind out of the gutter). The problem is I’m seeing conflicting definitions.

One Japanese only definition seems innocent enough:
A lively area with things like theaters, places with games*, and restaurants gathered together.
* “places with games” was the concisest definition I could think of for 遊戯場 based on it’s Japanese definition.

So on the other hand, Jisho lists one of the definitions actually as “Red-light district” and googling “pleasure quarter” seemed to reinforce this. And another Japanese definition seems to include alcohol and women in their definition.

So which is it? Both perhaps? Or is this one of those words where it can technically mean the “innocent” type of entertainment, but in reality people only use it for the alcohol and women meaning?


It’s a bit of both, at the same time.
Going through your second link, I could find 歌舞伎町 listed as an example:

There’s a huge cinema place that is quite popular over there, but kabukichou is better known for its more adult entertainment.