Owing to the private nature of Japanese, and the culture of concealing “honne” (true feelings) with “tatemae” (the facade that is expected by society), visitors may not perceive Tokyo as having a vibrant LGBT scene. However, this is far from the truth, as the queer community in Tokyo has built itself a home in Asakusa and Shinjuku Nichome, Japan’s biggest gayborhood. This eating and drinking tour takes visitors through these areas, highlighting the history and haunts of the queer community in Tokyo.
In a group of no more than 6 people, you’ll traverse the LGBT scene in Tokyo with a guide. Starting in Asakusa, we will meet at 6:30 in front of Kamiya Bar. While Shinjuku and Shibuya are the lively nightlife and commercial areas of Tokyo today, Asakusa was once the place to be. In modern times, gay bars, bathhouses, and cruising areas have popped up in Asakusa, catered toward the older generation. Walking around Asakusa, we’ll discuss the history of the area and cultural context as we view the sights.
Then, we’ll take the subway to Shinjuku, where, depending on the group consensus, we’ll have lunch at a local restaurant. Chicken lovers will be delighted by the immense variety of yakitori skewers available, or try kushikatsu (skewers of meat or veggies). There are also vegetarian options. These tasty morsels pair great with beer, though guests are free to choose from among alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.
After dinner, the tour of Shinjuku Nichome begins! We’ll see the bookshops, bars, and video stores that cater to the queer community and talk about challenges of the LGBT community in Tokyo, including Japanese social constructs and gender roles.
Lastly, we’ll stop at a bar. It’s a local joint, popular with both foreign visitors and Japanese, so you can enjoy mingling with people from all over the world. The tour ends at 9:30 pm but the night is still young! Your guide gives great recommendations and can help you pick from the 300 gay bars and clubs in Nichome!
Insights about the LGBT scene in Tokyo from a local tour guide
2 drinks (your choice of alcoholic or nonalcoholic)
Transportation (during the tour, we will take a 270 yen subway tour)
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
One minute walk from Asakusa Station
While this LGBT Tokyo Eating and Drinking Tour is LGBT-oriented, people of all genders and sexual/romantic orientations are welcome.