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Detours Gay Travel Blog

Is Japan the next big gay destination?

  • Jun 6, 2024

Japan. Known for its mesmerizing blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity, it is also a growing and enticing ‘bucket list’ destination for those in our community. With its warm hospitality, incredible food, and rich culture, an increasing number of travelers are finding that Japan has become a ‘go-to’ spot for their next big adventure... But is Japan the next big gay destination? Lets dig deeper.

A vibrant gay scene

Though Japan might not have the intensity of some gay meccas such as Berlin or Amsterdam, Tokyo and Osaka have incredibly vibrant gay scenes that are worth exploring. Tokyo's Shinjuku Ni-chome district is one of the largest gay ‘villages’ in all of Asia, featuring an array of bars, clubs, and cafes, with everything from chic cocktail bars to dance clubs.  This dense cluster of establishments provides a safe haven where people can express their identities freely in a safe environment. Many would say Shinjuku Ni-chome embodies the energy and diversity of Japan’s gay scene all in one place.

Japan has Gay Pride!

Tokyo Rainbow Pride Festival has been gaining momentum and lots of gay travelers are jet-setting to Japan to experience it. Held in April, the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Festival transforms Tokyo's Shibuya district into a giant celebration of diversity, love, and inclusion. In true ‘pride’ fashion, there is a big pride parade but also a host of cultural events that provide great platforms of expression. As conservative as Japan traditionally is, the whole city seems to rally in support, fostering an environment of acceptance and unity... Who doesn’t like that?

Inclusivity in Accommodations

Acceptance and inclusivity in Japan also extends into the hospitality industry, which has increasingly prioritized the needs of travelers in our community, with many hotels and accommodations taking steps to ensure they provide a welcoming environment. If it’s not explicitly marketing as LGBTQ+ friendly spaces it’s also ensuring proper staff training on sensitivity and inclusivity.  The industry is demonstrating a commitment to creating a comfortable experience for all guests, whether you are gay or straight.

Japanese people are friendly

While same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Japan, societal attitudes are slowly evolving, and there is a growing movement advocating for change. You will find many gay couples in Japan showing public displays of affection without the fear of harrassment or violence towards them. It's that Japanese spirit of hospitality along with the concept of "Omotenashi" (exquisite manners combined with a willingness to take care of visitors) ensures that all who journey here feel respected and valued.

There is so much to do!

From the neon-lit streets of Shinjuku to the quiet Zen of a Kyoto temple , much is to be embraced.  Whether it's a private tea ceremony, a stroll through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, taking Sumo wrestling classes, relaxing in an 'onsen', or grabbing a bowl of some delicious ramen on the street corner, Japan's narrative promises unforgettable experiences for all who visit.