Add this to your next gay-cation: Shinjuku Nichome in Tokyo is home to the world’s highest concentration of gay bars in a single area.
Shinjuku Nichome - image © Florentyna Leow
Shinjuku Nichome - usually referred to as Nichome in the vernacular - is an area in Shinjuku that’s become Tokyo’s centre of gay subculture. This is where the LGBTQ crowd comes out to play at night. With several hundred gay bars, nightclubs, love hotels, cafes, restaurants, massage parlors and more within five blocks, there are plenty of drinking and fraternizing options for the queer tourist in Tokyo.
Unsurprisingly, the establishments here can be quite specialized, with some only catering to specific subcultures and scenes. Most bars are fairly accepting of non-Japanese customers, and some even go out of their way to attract foreign customers, but most are primarily aimed at locals rather than tourists. Once you find a bar you like, don’t feel shy about chatting with the people behind the counter. They’re usually quite friendly.
You’ll find both gay bars and lesbian bars here. Some bars here are also popular with women as a safe space, as they’re much less likely to be hit on by straight men. Japanese language may be a barrier to some interactions, but just be polite and considerate of everyone’s social situations when befriending people.
Unlike Roppongi where one is almost obliged to dress up to go drinking or clubbing, Nichome is a much more laid-back and accepting environment. No one really cares what you’re wearing. Go just as you are, be friendly, and have a great time.
Shinjuku Nichome (gay area)
2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0022
Varies by shop
Varies by shop
Subway: 2-minute walk from exit C8 of Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Toei Shinjuku line, and Tokyo Metro Marunouchi and Fukutoshin lines.
Train: 10-minute walk from the east exit of Shinjuku Station.
Where Is This Place Located?See this place on the Truly Tokyo Google map:
- Open the Tokyo map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
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
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world