Wakaebisuya was one of the four major brothels in the port of Mitarai on Osaki Shimojima Island in the Inland Sea. At its peak there were about 100 prostitutes working in it.
About twenty percent of the population of Mitarai were prostitutes and though the "floating world" is often romanticised and glamorized they were indentured women and girls, some as young as thirteen, sold in to servitude.
This was one of the pricier brothels. for travellers, merchants, etc. Along the waterfront were many smaller brothels that serviced the sailors, often onboard the boats in the harbour.
Wakaebisuya is part of the historic buildings preservation district in the town and is well worth a visit.