Tokyo Pride week is Back!
What an opportunity Pride celebrations provide the Gay traveler. Really it’s like getting the best of all worlds. Combining great destinations, that you might not of thought of, with Gaycentric events occurring at the same time. It’s a win-win proposition.
Tokyo Rainbow Week includes a super parade that annually sees increasing crowds. Thousands of Tokyo’s citizens attend and really get into it. Often, they line up alongside the parade all dressed up(Tokyo Style). This year’s parade will take place on May 7th. The parade culminates in Yoyogi Park. There are a variety of booths setup, in the park, by LGBT-Friendly organizations and companies. The rest of the week’s program is listed on tokyorainbowpride.com. Welcoming folk of all genders and orientations, Rainbow Week is sure to offer something for everyone.
Here’s where the win-win part of your trip comes in.
While in Tokyo catch the sites and Tokyo really has the sites. It’s definitely awakens your senses. A city of vast contradictions, Tokyo’s gay scene is both of in & out! Meaning that, it’s there but not in your face like us westerns are used too.
Tokyo’s Gay wards
Tokyo is separated into different wards, with Shinjuku being the most well-known and the most crowded. Meanwhile, the gay community is continuously growing within the confines of Shinjuku Ni-chome (Area 2) neighbourhood. Seemingly straight by day, Ni-chome turns gay by night.
Ni-chome is believed to have the highest concentration of gay bars anywhere in the world because of its small, dense area – a few small blocks intertwined into Shinjuku’s busy business, shopping and nightlife center. Though most bars welcome non-Japanese patrons, the scene primarily caters for its Japanese regulars.
Gay Men in Tokyo
Many gay men still feel restrained by Japan’s strict yet unspoken demand for social conformity that is only now beginning to soften when it comes to same-sex relationships. In a culture where homosexuality is ignored more than accepted, and where people are expected to marry into traditional marriages, many gay men choose to anonymously express their sexuality at bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome.
Tokyo’s Gay Scene-a year round affair
However, Tokyo’s gay scene is not limited to Ni-chome. A number of other areas have several gay bars. Such information can be found in the Otoko-machi map (boy’s town map), a countrywide guide to Japanese gay establishments.
Tokyo is becoming a year-round destination.
The most popular season to visit is summer when it is hot and humid – a great time to explore gay life in Tokyo. In June, film buffs enjoy the Tokyo Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. In August, thousands turn out for the annual Pride festival. The least popular time to visit Tokyo is during the colder winter months which can be chilly with a chance of snow. Spring is pleasant because of comfortable weather and cherry blossoms that bloom during the last week in March through the second week in April. The rainy season occurs in June and July, with a chance of typhoons.
Gay Citizen of the World
If you are a citizen of one of the over 50 countries, with which Japan has a “general visa exemption arrangement”, you need only a valid passport to enter Japan as a “temporary visitor”. Otherwise, you need to obtain a visa before entering the country. Temporary visitors from most countries are allowed to stay for up to 90 days.
Getting around in Gay cities
Tokyo, is an easy city to get around in. A most convenient way is by, Trains and subways. Remember, that the subway is always crowded but the service is punctual, fast and efficient. If you choose to travel by train, the tickets can be bought from vending machines. Each company has its own, so make sure you use the correct one (JR machines are usually green). Most machines will automatically dispense change. Also, you don’t need to figure out the price of your fare . A tip is, to buy the cheapest ticket. Afterwards, at the end of the journey, top it up to the correct amount by inserting it into the yellow “Fare Adjustment” machine located near the exit gates. Train service starts around 5am and stops around midnight on most lines.
Another travel option is by Bus. They are fairly easy to use. Destinations are clearly labeled on the front of most buses, and bus stops are also clearly marked. The flat fare of 200 yen is usually paid on boarding – post the money into the machine next to the driver. The one-day Tokyo combo ticket can be used on buses as well as the subway and JR railway lines. There are no night buses. The service usually stops at around 10 pm. Therefore make sure to read the timetables that are available from the bus station. Of-course, another option is by Taxi.. For non-Japanese speakers, taxis can be a challenge. You should have your destination written down in Japanese. Taxis are quite expensive. At nighttime, the rate goes up by 20 percent.
Where to stay in Tokyo
Shinjuku, Shibuya and Akasaka/Roppongi districts are recommended for gay visitors, as there is a huge range of accommodations to suit most budgets. Find Hotels That Travelers Trust. Over 100 Million Unbiased Reviews!