Tokyo is a very comfortable and attractive destination for gay and lesbian travelers. Here, I'll introduce some of the attractions and events of interest to the LGBT community.
Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo
- Japan in general, and Tokyo in particular, is a comfortable and attractive place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers.
- Same-sex sexual relations are legal in Japan. The usual laws regarding age apply.
- Overt public displays of affection by couples of any kind are frowned upon in Japan.
- Tokyo has a relatively large LGBT community.
- Shinjuku's Nichome area is Tokyo's LGBT nightlife district.
- Japan is quite accepting of LGBT individuals. Indeed, apart from Thailand, it is the most comfortable and attractive place in Asia for LGBT travelers. Sure, in some country areas, people might look askance at any obviously LGBT couple exhibiting their affection. And, the odd rural hotel or ryokan might balk at providing rooms to such couples. But, in Tokyo, you're unlikely to encounter this.
Resources for LGBT Travelers in Japan
- Utopia Asia Japan Site
Although focused primarily on information for gay travelers, this is the best all-around LGBT website for foreigners visiting Japan.
Events for LGBT Travelers in Tokyo
- Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
This event is held annually in the summer (usually July). Check the website for this year's dates.
- Goldfinger Women-Only Party
This monthly women-only party is usually held on the third Saturday of every month in Shinjuku. Check the website for details.
- Fancy Him Gay and Straight Party
This costume party with performers is popular with the LGBT and the fashion-conscious straight crowd. Check the website for details.
Places of Interest for LGBT Travelers in Tokyo
- Dragon Men (Shinjuku Nichome gay bar)
This popular gay bar in the middle of Nichome is a good place to start your exploration of the area.
- Arty Farty (Shinjuku Nichome gay bar)
Another popular Nichome gay bar with dancing and DJs on weekends. Women are only admitted with gay friends on weekends.
- Dorobune (Shinjuku Nichome lesbian bar)
This is a popular lesbian bar in Nichome. Now that the famous Kinswomyn has closed, this is the most accessible lesbian spot in Tokyo.
- Cocolo Café (Shinuku Nichome gay café)
This chilled out Nichome café is a good place to talk over tea and coffee.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- Get essential travel insurance for Tokyo – World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)