Tokyo Gay Tours – The Nomadic Boys

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An urban jungle of intense energy, electric colours and lights. Yet it all flows together in an impressive orderly manner, absolutely nothing out of place.

This is Tokyo. It’s absolutely mad, like nothing you’ll ever experience! A frenetic city of almost 15 million people, yet somehow doesn’t ever feel crowded – unless you take the metro at rush hour…try this just once to experience it, but otherwise, to be avoided!

Every time we visit Tokyo it always feels like a culture shock and we love it! It gives us everything we want no matter how many times we visit. And as a bonus, it has a terrific gay scene with over 300 gay bars crammed in the tiny Shinjuku Ni-Chome district. We recommend checking out our detailed gay guide to Tokyo for more about this.

Whether you’ve been to Tokyo before or this is your first time, there are a variety of excellent Tokyo gay tours you can join to explore the best the city has to offer from experiencing the Shinjkuku gay scene with a local LGBTQ guide or learning about the city’s history with an LGBTQ focus. We’ve put together some of the best gay tours in Tokyo for LGBTQ travellers to check out right here.

Gay Night Tour of Tokyo

To experience Tokyo’s gay nightlife through the eyes of gay locals, we recommend joining this excellent tour of the gay scene. Remember above when we said there are over 300 gay bars? We weren’t kidding! The majority of Tokyo’s gay bars are tiny spaces all packed together in the Shinjuku Ni-Chome district. The one downside of this is that a handful of these small gay bars do not welcome foreigners and may even refuse you entry if you’re not local or know someone local to take you. Therefore having a gay local showing you the gay scene of Tokyo is the perfect way to get you into such bars as well as steering you through this wacky minefield of Tokyo queerness!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Tokyo – The Nomadic Boys

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 (not to mention the 2020 Olympic Games!).

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.

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.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Japan – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Japan - The Nomadic Boys

Japan is an incredible country. Everything is so advanced, done with such careful precision, immaculate attention to detail – and always with a smile. The Japanese culture itself is rich with tradition, dating back thousands of years and manifests itself in the way the people behave with each other, the many beautiful temples and even in the delicious Japanese food.

Read moreGay Japan – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Yaeyama Islands – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Yaeyama Islands - The Nomadic Boys

The Yaeyama islands make up the southernmost inhabited archipelago of Japan, some 2,000 kilometres (1,242 miles) from Tokyo. This group of untouched islands offer a total change of scenery in a subtropical climate.

We first heard about it amongst the diving community, who raved about the stunning coral reefs around the Yaeyama Islands, which put it straight to the top of our bucket list.

Read moreGay Yaeyama Islands – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Friendly Asia – Nomadic Boys

Gay Friendly Asia - The Nomadic Boys

We spent 2 years travelling around Asia and completely fell in love with the continent. It offers so much in terms of cultural experiences, food and landscapes, with some of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.

But when it comes to LGBTQ rights, Asia has some serious work to do! In quite a lot of countries in Asia, being gay is either illegal or an arrestable offence, like in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. If it’s not illegal, then it’s such a strong taboo that you have to stay in the closet to avoid jeopardising your job prospects and embarrassing your family like in China, Russia and Indonesia.

Despite this, there are a number of countries in Asia that are paving the way forward in relation to LGBTQ rights. We’ve selected the top 10 most gay friendly countries in Asia, which we’ve based on the following criteria:

  • Where are they at with same sex marriage legislation, along with other LGBTQ laws?
  • What is the gay scene like and do they have any notable annual LGBTQ festivals?
  • Our personal experience travelling there as a gay couple, with reference to the most recent Spartacus Gay Travel Index.

We have taken it as a given that homosexuality is legal in the countries we’ve selected, which is why we haven’t included Singapore despite it having quite a vibrant gay scene and a famous LGBTQ PinkDot festival in June/July.

We have also included two “places” (Taiwan and Hong Kong) rather than “countries”, because although they’re not officially recognised “countries”, they can still be regarded as a “country” given they have their own flag, currency, national anthem, set of laws etc.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Asia Gay Travel Resources

Ten Gay Friendly Tokyo Hotels – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Friendly Tokyo Hotels - The Nomadic Boys

Tokyo is a lot of fun! Each time we’ve visited, we’ve always had a hilarious time partying in the gay bars of Shinjuku. The city is notorious for having over 300 tiny bars crammed together into a small space centred around Shinjuku’s Ni-chōme (Area 2).

In terms of finding a place to stay, Tokyo has an array of gay friendly hotels to choose from. But be warned, whilst Tokyo is not as expensive as it used to be, hotels are not the cheapest here. Despite this, we’ve also managed to find a few gay friendly budget options to include in this list.

Please note that while many of these hotels have lovely swimming pools and on-site spa and sauna areas, all travellers to Japan should be aware that if you have tattoos you may not be permitted in public bathing areas. While it’s not likely that pools in hotels are being ‘policed’, it’s something to be mindful of and if you are really looking forward to swimming, maybe check the specific policy of the hotel before your trip.

These are the 10 best gay friendly Tokyo hotels that we loved, where we had no problems getting a double bed, and where we felt welcomed as a gay couple.

Tokyo is a massive city so it can be daunting to try and figure out the best areas to stay, especially if it’s your first time. These are our thoughts on the best neighbourhoods to stay in Tokyo for gay travellers.

Shinjuku: Shinjuku is our favourite part of Tokyo because it is the gay hub of the city! It’s also a good area for tourists as there are lots of options for accommodation, shopping and entertainment. Being near the Shinjuku train station is especially handy since this is one of the busiest stations in the world, which means you will easily be able to get to other parts of the city from here. Our favourite gay friendly hotel to stay in Shinjuku is Keio Plaza.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

 

Japan Looks to the LGBTQ+ Tourism Market

Japan - Pixabay

Japan’s tourism industry is looking for ways to attract LGBT visitors from overseas and take advantage of their tendency to spend more than average tourists.

Tourism-related businesses all over the world are “scrambling” to attract LGBT travelers, who have “considerable purchasing and spending power,” said Shintaro Koizumi, chief executive of Out Japan Co., a Tokyo-based marketing firm conducting seminars and other programs to support corporate clients seeking to learn how to handle issues involving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

With data showing that LGBT tourists spend about twice as much as average travelers, hotels and other accommodation facilities in Japan are stepping up efforts to appeal to them. The move is in line with a government target of attracting 40 million foreign tourists in 2020, up from 28.69 million in 2017, estimating total spending of ¥8 trillion during their stays, up from ¥4.42 trillion.

When American tourists visit Japan for 10 days, an average travel agency arranges tours that cost them $3,500 to $4,000 each, excluding airfare, according to industry officials. In contrast, trip arrangements made by a travel agency catering to LGBT clients generally cost more than $7,000.

By Jiji – Full Story at the Japan Times

 

Queer Japan – Once Upon a Journey

Queer Japan - Once Upon a Journey

Travelling nowadays seems like the ultimate dream. We’re living that dream, and it is an absolute fairy tale! But, travelling the world as an LGBTQ+ traveller isn’t as easy as packing your bags and go. We have travelled to countries with anti-gay laws and we refuse to boycott countries for that reason. We believe travelling the world is for everyone!

However, it’s important to do it safely. A few important questions to keep in mind before flying to a new destination: what are the LGBT rights? What’s the public opinion like? Where are the LGBT+ safe spaces? It’s our goal to make you worry less, and have more fun during your travels. So let’s answer the questions and find out how LGBT friendly Japan is for travellers!

PAVING THE WAY TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Japan has some of the most progressive LGBT laws in of all Asia. Homosexual activities are legal, same-sex marriage not yet. Japan has been making great steps forward the past years. Since March 2009, Japanese can get married outside of Japan, in countries where it’s legal. In 2012, a law was passed allowing transgenders to change their gender legally after surgery.

In 2015 Shibuya was the first area in Japan to recognise same-sex partnership with a certificate, making it easier for same-sex couples to find housing and to visit each other in the hospital. Other areas and some major cities followed, nowadays seven cities (Sapporo, Fukuoka, Osaka, Iga, Takarazuka, Naha, and Chiba) and four wards in Tokyo offer them (or will in the near future).

Last October, Tokyo passed an anti-discrimination law concerning gender identity and sexual orientation. Plus, the city decided to conduct public education about LGBT rights. Although discrimination isn’t common in Japan we hope to see this law pass nationally as well. Sadly, adoption by same-sex couples isn’t allowed and lesbians aren’t able to access IVF. Though, the city Osaka is making great steps forward in this topic, since April 2017 same-sex couples are recognized as foster parents. Still, a lot to work on, but a country is more than its laws, so let’s dive into Japan’s public opinion.

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

 

Renting Pocket Wifi in Japan – The Nomadic Boys

Pocket Wifi

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, renting a pocket WiFi is a great way to stay connected during your travels without incurring roaming charges or having to buy a new SIM card. Whilst it is true public WiFi hot spots have become more available over the past few years, you’ll quickly realise it won’t be enough to keep you connected on the road, hence the need to invest in a pocket WiFi.

This small portable WiFi device has completely changed the way people travel. Whereas before, you would most likely need to buy several prepaid SIM cards for every single traveller in your group, with one standalone pocket WiFi you can instead connect multiple devices at once, with unlimited internet access. It’s also light, easy to transport, and fits comfortably in your pocket.

During our extensive travels in Japan, we tested renting a pocket WiFi with several providers and found it to be an essential item to add to any travel shopping list. However, there are so many different options to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. We therefore put together this comprehensive guide to renting a pocket WiFi in Japan with plenty of guidance and clarity to help you decide which one you should pick.

What is pocket WiFi?

Pocket WiFi is a small portable device with a SIM card inside which transforms 3G and 4G signals into a private and secure WiFi connection. It’s perfect for tablet, smartphone and laptop users who want to stay connected with high speed wireless internet whilst travelling.

For example, you’re walking the streets of Tokyo, and want to find a good restaurant to sample some traditional Japanese foods. A simple search on TripAdvisor or Google Maps will quickly pinpoint the best restaurants nearby with directions on how to get there.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Japan’s Nakasendo Way – Passport Magazine

Matthew Wexler

I’m walking along the Nakasendo Way somewhere between Hosokute and Sekigahara, Japan…in the rain. The slow, persistent drizzle has pruned my hands as I futilely clutch my five-dollar umbrella that I’ve dragged 6,800 miles from New York City. I was told that rain apparel would be necessary and I half-listened, making sure that my jacket and hiking shoes were waterproof, but forgoing what I now realize is another essential piece of gear—a sturdy umbrella.

So I simply get wet. I’ve given up on the idea that a local taxi will whisk our small band of travelers to the warm comfort of the next ryokan. The traditional Japanese inns that have served as our accommodations along this ancient trade route that dates back to the seventh century. There are blossoming cherry trees, rice paddy fields, and rolling grey clouds for as far as the eye can see, but not a ryokan in sight. I venture on, one muddy step at a time. My mind asks, “What the hell am I doing here?” And then it answers: “You’re here because there is a world beyond your own. Get out of your comfort zone.”

THE ROAD THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS

Celebrating 25 years of off-the-beaten-path itineraries throughout the country’s most picturesque landscapes, Walk Japan (www.walkjapan.com) has pioneered an exciting range of immersive experiences available for adventure-seeking tourists from all around the world. From guided tours along the coastal Izu Geo Trail to Ise Shrine and Shikoku temple pilgrimages, more than a dozen specialized excursions offer something for everyone, from the occasional walker to the experienced hiker (I’m the former). While I give myself credit for navigating New York City’s concrete jungle on a daily basis, I have a quick learning curve when it comes to the 80-mile walk that lies ahead.

By Matthew Wexler – Full Story at Passport Magazine