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.
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