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Gay Tokyo: travel guide to Tokyo’s best gay bars, clubs and hotels

Stefan Arestis
Gay Tokyo: travel guide to Tokyo’s best gay bars, clubs and hotels

Tokyo ranks as one of our legit favourite destinations ever! It's clean, extremely safe, the people just impeccable, foodgasms galore and a fantastic gay scene with over 300 gay bars in Shinjuku's Ni-Chōme district!

Put it this way, Tokyo is so fabulous, even the gorgeous Queer Eye Fab Five team made it over here and filmed a few episodes exploring the queer culture of Japan.

We've visited Tokyo several times over the past few years and experienced the best Tokyo's gay scene has to offer. We've put together our LGBTQ travel guide to Tokyo based on our first-hand experience to help you have a fabulous holiday there.

Heads up: We just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links. That means if you book something through one of those links, we'll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep our blog going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

Explore Japan with a gay group by joining a gay tour by Out Adventures

Experience Japan on a gay tour

Psst! Want in on a secret? Our friends at Out Adventures recently launched a super kawaii tour of Japan. On this all-gay foray, travelers will ride the Shinkansen bullet train between Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Highlights include a street food tour, samurai experience, a night in an authentic onsen, and an evening in Tokyo's gay district, Shinjuku Ni-chōme.

Find out more

How safe is Tokyo for gay travellers?

Short answer, extremely safe! Whether you're straight or gay, Japan is one of the safest places on the planet: crime is low, people are extremely respectful, particularly towards foreigners visiting. At no stage did we ever feel unsafe in Tokyo.

As a gay couple travelling in Tokyo, we repeat, we felt just as safe. Whilst Japanese society is very conservative towards LGBTQ rights, they are extremely respectful towards foreigners and Japanese people will do their absolute best to make you feel welcome. Getting a double bed was never an issue in any of the places we stayed in Tokyo, whether a local guesthouse or a hotel.

In our humble opinion, we rate Japan as one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia. Japan is one of the few countries in Asia which has truly started to accept and protect its LGBTQ community to the point where it's opened the door to gay civil unions, particularly in some of the District Courts of Tokyo.

One thing we guarantee, Tokyo is one fascinating destination you will fall in love with and will want to return to again and again. We certainly did!

For more inspiration about gay travel in Tokyo including tips on the best neighbourhoods to stay, things to do and more about the gay scene, be sure to listen to the Japan gay travel podcast I did with Out Adventures:

Stay connected in Japan

Before heading off, don't forget to pre-order your pocket WiFi so you can stay online throughout your trip in Japan. The pocket WiFi will save you a lot of money on roaming fees. For more info, check out our comprehensive guide to renting pocket WiFi in Japan.

Tokyo safe for gay travellers
Roaming the streets of Tokyo with our dazzling new outfits

The gay neighborhood of Tokyo

The gay area of Tokyo is mainly congregated in Shinjuku's Ni-chōme (Area 2) where all the action happens. Shinjuku is a major transport, located in Central Tokyo, towards the west of the famous Imperial Palace. The station itself is like a mini-city, with over 200 exits, serving over 3 million people daily, making it the world's busiest station.

Shinjuku is so big that it's directly connected to 5 other nearby stations, so definitely plan ahead where you're heading exactly before coming here, otherwise you'll get completely lost. We advise downloading the Tokyo subway map on your smartphone or view it here.

Ni-Chōme is a small area in Shinjuku, forming the hub of the gay scene. Our local Japanese friends nickname it “Nicho”. The 2 closest metro stations to Nicho Tokyo gay scene are:

  • Shinjuku-Sanchome: served by 3 lines: the Marunouchi, Fukutoshin and Toei Shinjuku lines
  • Shinjuku-Gyoenmae: served by the Marunouchi Line only.
Discover the gay nightlife of London on a tour of Soho best bars and clubs

Fun gay tour of Tokyo

Tokyo's gay scene can be quite overwhelming, so it pays to have a private gay guide to show you around.

On this tour, you'll be picked up by your gay guide who will show you the best of Tokyo's gay nightlife through the eyes of a local. You'll experience Tokyo’s LGBT-friendly neighborhoods, bars, restaurants, and even bookshops. Best of all, this tour is capped at just six people, so it's very intimate!

Find out more

Seby getting around in Tokyo
Seby negotiating the complicated network of Tokyo's metro system

Gay hotels in Tokyo

Over the years, we've visited Tokyo several times together and stayed in quite a few places. These are our favourite gay friendly options both in Shinjuku and around below. For a more in-depth guide, be sure to check out our 10 best gay hotels in Tokyo.

Getting around Tokyo

The metro system in Tokyo is very easy to use and everything is displayed in English. However, it gets very busy! To avoid the queues at the ticket machines and save money, pre-order a Tokyo metro pass which will give you unlimited access to all Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines. Hotel delivery is included.


The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is a luxurious place for gay travellers to stay with amazing views.

Why we love it

  • Incredible city views
  • Direct metro access
  • Yummy Japanese breakfast
  • Fully equipped gym

This is our favourite gay friendly hotel to stay in Tokyo. We loved the modern architecture of the hotel, a perfect blend of western and Japanese influences.

The rooms are innovatively designed in open space to give you a soothing experience, with gorgeous views and a rain shower to die for.

There's also a lovely spa which offers massages and beauty treatments.

The Capitol has three different on-site restaurants serving delicious food, as well as a club lounge for drinks with a view. In the basement of the hotel, you can access three different metro lines, which makes getting around the city a breeze.

We loved the well equipped gym for keeping fit and a hot tub to relax in after. Another highlight is the traditional, and delicious, Japanese style breakfast served every morning.


The Park Hyatt

The Park Hyatt in Tokyo is famous, luxurious and a great place for gay travellers to stay.

Why we love it

  • Stunning views throughout
  • Three delicious restaurants
  • Indoor swimming pool and spa
  • In the heart of Shinjuku

For elegance and style in the heart of Shinjuku, we recommend the gay frienldy Park Hyatt which is also very close to the Ni-Chōme gay bars: 10 minutes by taxi or a 20 minute walk.

As well as being plush, classy and super trendy, this was also the location for the Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson Lost In Translation film, particularly The New York Bar on the 52nd floor.

The views across the city from here are unreal!

The rooms at the Park Hyatt are very spacious and feature Hokkaido wood panelling plus Egyptian cotton sheets. If you can drag yourself out from your room (we couldn't) there's an indoor pool (which also has incredible views) and a spa with lots of pampering services available.

Foodies will love the Park Hyatt as it has three different restaurants; the New York Grill, Kozue (serving Japanese cuisine) and Girandole. There's also two different bars, a lounge, patisserie AND a delicatessan!


The Hyatt Regency

Gay travel to Tokyo - the Hyatt Regency is a luxurious spot to stay.

Why we love it

  • Affordable luxury
  • Close to Shinjuku gay bars
  • Seven delicious restaurants
  • Penthouse swimming pool and wellness

The Hyatt Regency is a more affordable gay hotel in Shinjuku but still luxurious with a blow-your-mind entrance that's popular with wedding receptions and photoshoots.

Located just 5-10 minutes by taxi or 20 minutes walk to the gay bars of Shinjuku, you'll be perfectly situated if you want to party till you drop! The club lounge is the perfect spot for a light bite and a few drinks before hitting the gay bars!

The pool, jacuzzi and gym are located high up so you can work out with a beautiful view. We particularly loved the penthouse wellness sanctuary where you can swim under a skylight roof.

There are no fewer than seven restaurants in the hotel, including authentic French cuisine at Cuisine Michel Troisgros, sushi at Miyako and traditional Chinese dishes at Jade Garden.


Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check-in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off our first booking.


Imano Hostel

Imano Hostel in Tokyo has a great gay friendly vibe and is perfect for budget travellers.

Why we love it

  • Close to Shinjuku gay area
  • Clean and comfy budget option
  • Cool on-site cafe and bar
  • Regular fun events

Imano Hostel is an excellent gay friendly budget option if you don't mind sleeping in dorm beds. They have curtains to close off your area, which makes them more like cubicles than an actual dorm.

It's located minutes walking distance from the gay bars as well as the Shinjuku-sanchome metro.

Everything is very clean and the hostel provides things like shower amenities, locker storage and slippers.

There are mixed and single-gender dorms available, as well as family rooms or traditional Japanese-style rooms. The communal relaxation areas are great here, indeed the whole place has a very fun vibe and regular social activities are organised by the friendly staff. The on-site cafe and bar is also a great place to chill out, socialise or have a snack.

Gay bars in Tokyo

Shinjuku's Ni-Chōme is famous for having the world's highest concentration of gay bars with over 300 crammed together into unremarkable blocks. If this is your first time in Tokyo, we highly recommend you join this tour with a local gay guide, who will show you the best gay hangouts in one evening. We've listed below our favourite gay bars in Tokyo.

This is your personalised itinerary for your next holiday to Japan

Your personalised gay friendly itinerary to Japan

We've teamed up with the excellent gay travel agency OUT Asia to offer our readers an exclusive 5% discount off the total cost of any trip to Japan you book with them. They specialise in crafting tailored trips and itineraries for LGBTQ travelers to Japan.

Fill out this form to get a personalized itinerary for your upcoming trip to Japan with OUT Asia and get an exclusive 5% discount off the total cost.

You can also contact OUT Asia directly, but don't forget to mention the promo code NOMADIC5 to get a 5% discount.

Arty Farty

One of the most popular gay bars of Tokyo, attracting an after-work crowd and people coming for pre-drinks before heading to sister club Annex next door (if you get your hand stamped here then you can also go to Annex for no extra cost). It attracts a fun crowd which is an even mix of foreigners and locals. There's a dance floor and the place gets packed on the weekends. With all the smoke and sweaty bodies this is also a good spot to hook up! Arty Farty is open everyday till 1am and is located at No.33 Kyutei Bld. 2F, Shinjuku-ku.

Campy! Bar

An uber-cool, colourful and welcoming bar, run by celebrity cross-dresser called “Bourbonne”. The staff are all dolled up in drag, which adds to the fun atmosphere. It also has really funny shows taking place throughout the evening. Campy! is welcoming to all people, no matter their gender or who they're attracted to, so you can bring your straight friends along as well. It's the ideal spot to start your night, have a few drinks and laughs then continue to explore Tokyo's gay scene. Campy! is open every day till midnight and is located at 2-13-10 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku.

AiiRO Cafe Bar

AiiRO is a popular gay bar for drinks any day of the week that's open till late. It is easily identifiable by the large “Torri” (Japanese Shrine) outside and the patrons that spill out onto the street because it gets so full! Look out for their 1,000 yen ($9) Beer Blast all-you-can-drink happy ‘hour', daily between 6-9pm. They have drag queens and GoGo boy performers on the weekends, plus everyone you meet is just so friendly, whether it's the staff or other visitors. AiiRO is open every day until 2am and on weekends until 5am. It's located at 2-18-1 Shinjuku 7th Tenka Building 1F, Shinjuku.

Alamas Cafe

The same guys from AiiRO Cafe are also behind this spot, which is more of a gay restaurant/cafe/bar mix but still totally fun! There's a DJ booth so you can listen to some tunes, perhaps while fortifying yourself for a big night of partying with some delicious green curry, tom yung goong, fried chicken or waffles. There are also plenty of yummy alcoholic drinks available, so this is a wonderful way to begin your evening in a truly inclusive open-air cafe. Alamas is open every day from 6pm 'til 2am (or 5am on weekends) and is located at 2-12-1 Shinjuku Garnet Building 1F.

FTM Bois Bar

A free atmosphere, cute trans guys, free karaoke, free popcorn…what's not to love? FTM Bois is an excellent event for the transexual community run by FTM cutie – Mizuki. The small cover charge also covers the cost of your first two drinks, at this fun event which takes place in the LGBTQ bar Gold Finger. Gold Finger also hosts women-only nights (Saturdays) and is open for all LGBT community members the rest of the time. FTM Bois is held on Mondays and every third Sunday of the month, from 6pm until 2am at 2-12-11 Shinjuku Hayashi Building 1F, Shinjuku.

Usagi Bar

Usagi is an example of one of the many tiny gay bars of Tokyo. From the outside, it looks like you're visiting your friend's apartment. You open the door and enter into a warm, friendly atmosphere, which is a gay bar, complete with karaoke! It is centered around the super charismatic barman, Mr. Take-san, who is also the owner. His hilarious nickname in Japanese gay slang is mama-san! It's a very local crowd here, where everyone knows everyone. They sometimes bring home-cooked food to share around! Usagi Bar is open daily until around midnight and is located on the 4th floor at Shinjuku 2-10-2, Ebana Bldg 4F.

Gay boys in Tokyo at Usagi gay bar in Shinjuku
Hanging out with the awesome gay lads of Usagi bar

Gay clubs in Tokyo

We've set out below the main gay clubs in Tokyo we enjoyed the most, located in Shinjuku. For more up to date information about the latest gay parties taking place in Tokyo including Circuit-like events, we recommend checking the listings on DailyXtraTravel. You can also join this tour with a local gay guide, who will show you the best gay hangouts in Ni Chome.

New Sazae

This club is an institution on the Tokyo gay scene and one of the best for drag shows. It's one of the oldest, standing proud since 1966 when it was a “gay disco” bar. True to its roots, it's retained this feel and is one of the best clubs for a gay night out. It was Freddy Mercury's favourite gay club in Tokyo – each time he'd come here, he would famously proclaim (in Japanese): “I'm home!” This is also where the Queer Eye boys filmed one of their Japan episodes so you know it's where all the Antoni Porowski fans (ahem!) are gonna want to top up their Insta Stories! New Sazae is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings from around 10pm until 7am the next morning, and is located at 2F, 2-18-5 Shinjuku.

The Annex

One of the most popular gay clubs in Tokyo, owned by the same guys behind Arty Farty. It attracts a young crowd in their 20s and 30s. If you get stamped in Arty Farty, you can get in here free without paying entry twice. Look out for their Circuit after-parties on weekends which go till 11 am the next day. The Annex is open Monday to Saturday until around 4/5 am and is located at 1F Futami Bldg, 2-14-11 Shinjuku-ku.

Dragon Men

Dragon Men is one of the most famous gay clubs in Tokyo. It draws a mixed crowd of ex-pats, foreigners, and locals, basically anyone who is looking to have a few cocktails and get down on the dance floor. The very scantily clad (and cute) staff definitely add to the popularity of this place! There's a happy ‘hour' of 200 yen off all drinks from Monday to Thursday 6-8 pm. Dragon Men is open every day until 3 am (on weekends until 5 am) and is located at 1/F Stork Nagasaki 2-11-4 Shinjuku Ni-Chome.


It might be called a lounge but in actuality, this is the biggest gay club in Nichome, spread out over two floors with two different dance areas and even a dark room. It's run by the same people behind AiRRO Cafe Bar, and they host lots of dance parties including events that are men-only or women-only. The staff is super friendly, the cocktails are amazing and if you're looking to cruise or just get down on the dance floor to some house music, this is the spot for you! AiSOTOPE is open every day, there's always some type of event happening so check the schedule for more info. It's located at 2-12-6 Shinjuku-ku.

Gay clubbing in Tokyo's Dragon Men
A night out clubbing at Dragon Men gay club with our friend Yuki

Gay events in Tokyo

The two main annual gay events in Tokyo are the city's Rainbow Pride in April and the Rainbow Reel film festival in July. We've also included other annual events and festivals that we think LGBTQ travelers would be interested in set out chronologically:

Tokyo Rainbow Pride (April)

Tokyo's Pride event takes place in late April with a week-long event called Rainbow Week. The climax is the large parade on the weekend, which culminates at Yoyogi Park with lots of booths and performances. There are also plenty of parties and events taking place throughout the week, so you'll have lots of ways to celebrate.

Rainbow Reel Tokyo (July)

The Rainbow Reel is the city's official LGBTQ film festival, which started in 1992. It's actually one of the oldest and largest film festivals of its kind held in Asia. Rainbow Reel Tokyo doesn't just show films about lesbian and gay people, but also films about people with different LGBTQ minorities such as transgender, intersexual, and bisexual people. It takes place every July, with a week-long program featuring LGBTQ films from around the world.

VITA Tokyo (December)

VITA is a dance club/nightclub that organizes fun gay dance parties throughout the year, although the most famous and popular is their “Year-End Party” in December. The parties are epic, with international DJs, dancers, and shows. During the year they also occasionally have pool parties! If you like circuit/house-style music you will definitely want to experience a VITA event.

Gay onsen in Tokyo

Onsens are the traditional Japanese bathhouses, where men and women are separated and nudity is kind of obligatory. There are several different baths to bathe in, of varying temperatures. Aside from the traditional onsen, there are also a few gay onsens to check out, mainly owned by the 24 Kaikan brand:

24 Kaikan Shinjuku

This is part of the gay onsen chain called 24 Kaikan, targeted more to cruising than traditional onsen. Spread out over 8 different floors there's a dry sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, solarium, video room, private cabins, snack room and lockers. It's also one of the most popular cruising spots for gay men in Tokyo, so if you're looking for a hook-up, this is the right place! This branch of 24 Kaikan usually attracts a mixed crowd of internationals and Japanese, on the young to middle-age range. Located at 2-13-1 Shinjuku Ni-chome, 24 Kaikan Shinjuku is open 24/7.

24 Kaikan Ueno

Another Kaikan gay onsen located in the Ueno neighbourhood, this one is slightly smaller than the Shinjuku location, but just as fun! There's a dry sauna, mist room, steam room, communal baths, solarium, video room, private cabins and a common play area. This branch tends to attract more middle-aged men/bears and those that love them! It's located at 1 Chome 8-7, Kita, Ueno and is also open 24/7.

24 Kaikan Asakusa

The original 24 Kaikan gay onsen, which may seem slightly shabby compared to the newer branches, but is still an interesting experience. The clientele is usually older, frequently tattooed and sometimes a bit kinky. Patrons are mostly uncles, mature men and their fans. It's located at 2 Chome 29-16 Asakusa and, of course, open 24/7.


While the 24 Kaikan kind of dominate the gay onsen scene in Tokyo, there's also JIN-YA, a compact gay sauna that's arguably the most foreigner-friendly in the city. Facilities include a dry sauna, communal baths, play areas, a video room and even a rooftop nude sunbathing terrace. It's open 24/7 and can be found at 2 Chome-30-19 Ikebukuro.

Our gay onsen in Tokyo selfie
Brought to you live from the onsens of Tokyo!

What to do in Tokyo?

We'll be honest, for us it's all about the food. We could just spend a lifetime eating our way around the streets of Tokyo! Beyond the food, Tokyo has so many different things to see and experiences to try out. But for us, dressing up as geisha will forever be our #1 favourite memory from our trip in Tokyo. This is our list of some of the best things to do in Tokyo to inspire your travel planning:

Transform into a geisha

The Nomadic Boys transformed into geishas - an incredible experience in Tokyo!

What better way to discover more about the elusive geisha then to transform into one at the Studio Geisha Cafe. This is an experience of a lifetime and certainly one of our favourite unique things you can do in Tokyo. Read more about our own transformations here! If you're not into dressing up as a geisha yourself you could still be entertained while learning about their history and traditions at a cultural Geisha Encounter. The experience takes place at a modern ochaya (tea house), where Geisha entertain guests with song, dance, games and conversation.

Discover Tokyo's gay nightlife

Get an introduction to Tokyo's gay scene on a gay night tour.

If you don't feel like going out to the gay bars by yourself then you could also join a Tokyo gay night tour which will introduce you to the best local gay bars. Your guide takes you away from the main touristy bars so you can hang out with gay locals in the Shinjuku Nichome area. One of the highlights includes a quirky basement bear bar run by a Japanese ex-pro-rugby player. You'll get a free drink in each of the three bars you visit, as well as being able to partake in some karaoke with your new friends. Just remember, you need to be at least 20 years old to buy alcohol in Japan!

Sample some delicious Japanese food!

Join a Tokyo food tour to find the best local places for delicious dinners!

An excellent way to discover downtown Tokyo and dive straight into some of the best izakayas (gastropubs) is to join a food tour. It can be hard figuring out the best places to eat, especially if you don't read kanji, so by joining a tour with a local guide you'll get to know the most delicious spots to enjoy delicious ramen, sushi and more in the lively Shinbashi district. This is where local workers wind down of an evening and during your tour, you'll sample dishes from four different food shops including a pancake place that only locals know about!

Visit an Onsen

Relaxing in the soothing waters of an onsen is a must-do when in Tokyo.

A very traditional Japanese experience not to miss! An onsen is a public bath where you bathe in various pools of water sourced from hot springs. They're the perfect way to conquer jet lag. Our favourite (non-gay) onsen is the Maenohara Onsen (1180 yen/$11 per person), the closest metro is Shimura-sakaue Station. We loved relaxing in the many different types of baths and saunas here.

Learn to cook Japanese Food

Join a cooking tour while you're in Tokyo to learn how to make authentic Japanese sushi

Japanese cuisine has become very popular around the world in recent decades and it's no surprise since it's sooo yummy! While visiting Tokyo you definitely need to learn to make sushi, bento boxes and other traditional dishes in a cooking class so that you can show off your skills to friends back home. We had so much fun at our Japanese cooking class, and we still like making different sushi dishes at home. Learning local cooking styles is also a great way to remember the places you've visited.

See the Shibuya Crossing

Get the best views of Tokyo's Shibuya crossing on top of the MAGNET shopping centre!

This famous pedestrian intersection outside Shibuya Station is the place to get a real feel of the immense world of Tokyo. When the road signs turn red, an invasion of bodies takes over the entire area which is incredible to see. If you want to get the quintessential shot of the crossing from above, head to Mag's Park; a viewing spot on top of the MAGNET by SHIBUYA 109 shopping complex. It costs 300 yen to access the viewing spot which is open from 11am until 11pm daily.

Takeshita Street in Harajuku

Kawaii performers at a J-Pop concert in Harajuku, Tokyo.

This is the place to spot grown-up women dressed up as manga characters or schoolgirls, made famous worldwide by Gwen Stefani in the song “Harajuku Girls”. Takeshita Street is also lined with shops if you want to pick up your own adorable fashion pieces or just gape at the variety of Gothic Lolita dresses available. While you're in the area make sure you experience a J-Pop Concert for the most kawaii performance you've ever seen! For more, check out our 8 quirky and interesting facts about Japan.

Quirky Tokyo

Tokyo is full of very quirky attractions, like the robot cafe which has a very cool light show performed by the robot!

Tokyo is renowned for some really quirky fashion and alternative attractions, as we've mentioned. One of the coolest ‘weird' things we did in Tokyo was to visit the Robot Restaurant! The name is slightly misleading as there's not much in the way of food but you can enjoy some basic dishes while you watch a crazy robot show with neon lights, smoke and blaring pop music. The performers are a professional dance troupe who ride giant robots and dragons in a bizarre spectacle that you will never forget.

Learn about Tokyo's history and culture

The Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

Make sure you don't miss Tokyo's many beautiful shrines, temples and historic sites during your visit. The Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine and the Imperial Palace are two beautiful spots to experience Tokyo's past. You could join a sightseeing tour that will take you to these spots, but for something a little more authentic why not explore the historic area of Asakusa in a traditional rickshaw!? This is a fun way to see some of Asakusa's sights such as the famous Kaminari-mon Gate and Senso-ji Temple.

Tokyo's Coolest Museum

Amazing immersive art at the teamLab Borderless digital art museum in Tokyo.

There are some incredible museums in Tokyo that are worth a visit, especially for fans of art, movies and culture like us. One of the coolest and most famous modern art museums in Tokyo is the teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum. This museum uses digital projectors to create animated artworks which move on the walls, floors, and ceiling. You can walk on and among the art projections, which often move in response to you. This is a truly wondrous place to visit and also a great spot to get some amaaazing photos for your Instagram!

Where to eat in Tokyo?

Tokyo is a paradise for foodies with lots to keep your tummy inspired and content. Below are our favourite eating experiences we recommend to gay travellers:

Sushi mania at Toyosu fish market

Tokyo is THE place to come for the best sushi, specifically at the restaurants around Toyosu – the world's largest fish market. The market caters to the nearby restaurants, so they inevitably serve up the most delicious, fresh sushi you'll ever try.


THey're gastropubs, after work bars, popular with salary men, where you come to drink sake or highball (Japanese drink of whisky and soda water) and order small inexpensive plates of food.

Point and hope! 

This became our favourite method of dining in Tokyo. In one unassuming bar we impulsively went to, Sebastien pointed to this item at random, which turned out to be a delicious plate of tempura:

Point and hope method of eating in Tokyo
Sebastien's “point and hope” led to this delicious plate of tempura

Ramen bars

Ramen is a seriously delicious and highly contagious meat or vegetable-based broth with noodles and a variety of toppings. You can get a bowl from one of the many inexpensive ramen bars across the city, for as little as 800 yen ($8). For the best ramen bar, ask a local to point you in the direction of their favorite.

Kaiseki Japanese fine dining

Kaiseiki involves many small plates of delicious Japanese prizes presented like works of art. We tried the Kaiseki at the Shangri-La's Nadaman restaurant, an incredibly romantic setting, dim lights, with jaw-dropping views of the city. One of the dishes at the Nadaman includes the very famous and incredibly scrumptious wagyu beef.

Nadaman gay friendly restaurant Kaiseki fine dining Tokyo
Our Kaiseki at the Nadaman restaurant included an appetiser work of art, the famous Wagyu beef and fresh heavenly sashimi

Gay travel agents in Japan

If you're looking for a gay-friendly travel company to organise your trip to Tokyo and the rest of Japan, we've partnered with Out Asia Travels, an excellent gay-owned travel agency, who offer tailored tours and itineraries.

These guys are locals, passionate travellers and have a real insight of Japanese culture and the gay scene across the country. They are offering our readers an exclusive 5% discount for bookings of 7 days or more when you quote NOMADIC5 in your enquiry.


Stefan's amusing take on gay travel agents in Tokyo!
Stefan and his new friends in Tokyo

Before you go

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Tokyo. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

Travel insurance: make sure you get travel insurance before your trip to Tokyo because you never know when you might run into trouble, whether that's from illness, theft or even just flight cancellations. We have been using Heymondo Travel Insurance for ages and can't recommend them highly enough. They provide comprehensive cover and it's easy to make a claim online when you need to.

How to get there: It's most likely that you will be flying to Tokyo which means you will arrive at Narita International Airport which is about 60km east of central Tokyo. The easiest way to get from the airport to your accommodation is with a stress-free private airport transfer.

Visa requirements: Citizens of 68 countries including the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and most EU countries coming to Japan for tourist reasons don't need a visa to enter. You will need your passport and proof of onward travel though. Make sure you check your visa requirements before travelling to Japan.

Getting around: Within the city of Tokyo, you will mostly be using the metro system which is very easy to understand with everything displayed in English. It can get very busy though, so we recommend pre-ordering a Tokyo metro pass which will save you money as well.

Vaccinations: In general you don't need any specific vaccines before travelling to Japan, apart from being up to date on routine vaccines such as measles. If you are planning to visit any rural areas in Japan then you may want to be vaccinated for Japanese Encephalitis. Make sure you always check with your doctor if you might need vaccines before travel.

Currency: The currency used in Japan is the yen, abbreviated to JPY. $1 converts to around 110 Japanese yen while €1 is worth about 122 yen.

Tipping culture: Many Japanese people believe that good service should be the standard, so tipping is not customary here. You may tip if you wish but do not be surprised or offended if it is refused. Also, never just give cash from your wallet or purse, make sure you put it in an envelope first and then hand it to the person with both hands.

Internet access: Free WiFi is usually offered in hotels, airports, train stations, restaurants and cafes in Japan, but not everywhere. Paid WiFi hotspots are more common, so if you know you will be needing to use a lot of internet during your travels to Tokyo then you may like to rent your own portable WiFi device during your trip. We've written a detailed guide on renting pocket WiFi in Japan here if you want more information.

Online privacy: While Japan is relatively progressive by Asian standards, you still may like to keep your online history private, especially if you plan to use gay dating apps like Grindr or Scruff. We like to use ExpressVPN when we travel as it's reliable and affordable.

Accommodation: Whenever we travel to Japan, we use to find accommodation with the best prices. Their system is easy to use plus they offer free cancellation on many properties. The 24/7 customer support is also excellent.

Sightseeing and adventure: GetYourGuide is another great company we love, with so many fun activities to choose from in locations around the world, and especially so in Tokyo! The online booking process is very simple and they also have fantastic 24/7 customer support.

When to visit: The best times to visit Japan would have to be either in spring for the beautiful blossoms or autumn for the magnificent foliage. Tokyo's Rainbow Pride takes place in April or May so you may wish to time your visit for then as well.

Tokyo gay map

This is a detailed map of Gay Tokyo which includes our favourite gay friendly hotels, gay bars and clubs as well as the best things to do in Tokyo:

All the best gay hotels, bars, restaurants and things to do in Tokyo, Japan.

For more inspiration:

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Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out reputable travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft, or a cancellation? Many gay travelers forget about it and regret it when something happens. Better to pay a small price and have peace of mind and not worry.

Stefan Arestis

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan, the curly-haired Greek flavor behind the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys. Together with my other half, I have explored more than 90 countries across 5 continents. What I love most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, learning new cultures. I've written about LGBTQ travel in numerous online publications such as Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times and Pink News as well as for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Check my full bio here.

Gene SirLouis

Friday 14th of February 2020

From everything I’m reading online it seems like a 60 year old man like me should just stay home. Seems like most of the bars and clubs in Tokyo are “young only”? Can you comment?

Stefan Arestis

Friday 14th of February 2020

Given that there are over 300 of them, there were tons for older men, bears, locals only, mixed etc.


Thursday 3rd of October 2019

I love japan!!! They was always a place that caught my attention.

Rufino Chan

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

@Stefan Arestis,

I’m going to Japan end of the month, I love onsen and also can you recommend where to get an authentic Japanese massage

Stefan Arestis

Thursday 3rd of October 2019



Thursday 26th of September 2019

Happy life and enjoy life!! Great think

Stefan Arestis

Friday 27th of September 2019

Thanks James! The think is nice.


Monday 22nd of July 2019

Go go

Stefan Arestis

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

Lol thanks we will :)


Wednesday 14th of November 2018

I cant stop laughing at some of these photos you guys look like you had a great time. I am going to plan to get one of those 7 day travel passes to save some cash..thanks for the tip!

Have you guys ever came to Hawaii..there are some awesome gay bars out here

Nomadic boys

Wednesday 14th of November 2018

Thanks Pat! Can’t wait to visit Hawaii one day😍