Japan Looks to the LGBTQ+ Tourism Market

Author: , January 11th, 2019

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

Author: , December 20th, 2018

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

Author: , October 1st, 2018

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

Author: , January 20th, 2018

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

Gay Tokyo – The Hornet

Author: , January 19th, 2018

gay Tokyo

Tokyo is an extraordinary place — where else can you find ancient shrines and temples hidden within one of the world’s most modern city? The host of 2020 Summer Olympics, that’s where. Tokyo is all about the hustle and bustle, and so is Gay Tokyo. For the first time visitor, Tokyo can be overwhelming with its bright lights, tall skyscrapers and massive crowds.

But as busy as it is, there’s much to explore — ancient history, the freshest and most beautifully prepared food and, of course, the Tokyo nightlife. From its high energy clubs to the cozy dive bars, it’s easy to party till dawn.

And if that weren’t enough, Japan is one of the gay rights leaders in Asia. Even though Japanese culture is typically conservative with strict social norms, Japan (along with Taiwan) is one of the few Asian countries genuinely accepting of its gay communities. An increasing number of districts across Japan have legalized gay civil unions. Two of them are in Tokyo: Shibuya and Setagaya. With this progressive attitude, Tokyo is a top gay destination.

By Charles Thompson-Wang – Full Story at The Hornet

Queer Tokyo – Passport Magazine

Author: , November 3rd, 2017
Queer Tokyo

Photo by CASSIDY DUHON PHOTOGRAPHY

As the city gears up to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, new relationships are being constructed between East and West, gay and straight, old and new. These new dynamics are exciting, and the energy is palpable. A few years ago, I went on an international marathon tour. You can learn a lot about a city from how it cheers on its runners. Bostonians handed out plates of oranges and shouted positive encouragements. Tokyoites offered hand-carved chocolates and homemade sushi, and bowed to the runners.

Gay Tokyo offers something unique and different from many other big cities. In Tokyo, the extremely ancient meets the extremely modern, and those juxtapositions play out in everyday life. Photographer Cassidy DuHon and I visited Tokyo earlier this year. During our week there, we met with LGBT rights activists, male geishas, and Japanese drag queens. We sought out the newest luxury hotels and spas, the most popular gay bars, and the freshest slices of sashimi.

Some people say that Tokyo is similar to Taipei or Seoul. On the surface, it may look so, but scratch below the kimono and you quickly find tastes, sights, and sounds in Tokyo that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

From the moment I boarded the plane to Tokyo from Washington, D.C., the All Nippon Airways (www.fly-ana.com) staff only spoke to me with smiles. At some point I had to remind myself that I didn’t always have to smile back. Auspiciously, I turned on our inflight entertainment to find an LGBT movie called Close-Knit, which tells the story of a Japanese transgender woman and the relationship she builds with her boyfriend’s niece. It’s beautifully directed and includes an emotional scene where the heroine of the story burns 108 colorful wool-knit penises on the beach, symbolically breaking from her former male identity.

By Allister Chang – Full Story at Passport

A Ten Day Itinerary for Japan – Nomadic Boys

Author: , July 25th, 2016

Japan - 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.

A visit here will satisfy everything you want from the perfect holiday. The Japanese culture itself is rich with tradition, dating thousands of years and manifests itself in the way the people behave to each other, the many beautiful temples and even in the delicious Japanese food.

PLANNING A TRIP TO JAPAN?

This is our Japan trip blog 10 days itinerary for first timers to discover the best the country has to offer.

We set out 2 options:

Option 1: Japan, Kyoto and the Yaeyama islands (Okinawa)

  • Tokyo: the bustling big capital city and transport hub in/out the country
  • Kyoto: the former Imperial capital with plenty of iconic monuments like the Golden Temple
  • Yaeyama islands: Japan’s southernmost islands ideal for a tropical getaway

Option 2: Tokyo, Takayama, Kyoto and Hiroshima

  • Hiroshima: a very cool city with a sad harrowing past everyone needs to learn more about
  • Takayama: discovering the Japanese countryside
  • Tokyo and Kyoto: the staples of any Japan itinerary

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Kyoto – Nomadic Boys

Author: , July 21st, 2016

Gay Kyoto - Nomadic Boys

Kyoto was the old capital of Japan from the 8th century until 1869 when it was moved to Tokyo.

It’s a beautiful city packed with temples, markets, very friendly people and some great food. And lots of mochi based treaties everywhere!

We stayed at B&B Keiko, owned by Keiko, who is a young Japanese girl, very passionate about her job. We paid 5,000 yen (around £30) a night for a room. There are two rooms, and this includes breakfast in the local French cafe. Keiko was a great source of all information about gay Kyoto, be it bus schedules, temple opening hours and most importantly, where to find the best ramen and noodle bars.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Slurping Noodles in Japan – Nomadic Boys

Author: , July 17th, 2016

Stefan Arestis - Nomadic Boys

Japan is the place to come for some of the tastiest food on the planet, particularly noodles. Whether it’s the rich dreamy broth based ramen or the juicy thick yummy udon, Japanese noodles are sure to rock your world.

But when it comes to eating said noodles, what better way to show your appreciation then with several beautifully timed, loud SLURPS!? You read right. In Japan, slurping is considered good manners and a sign you’re enjoying your meal. Just take care of the splash back on your clothes…!

So, should I slurp my noodles in Japan? Absolutely – and with plenty of gusto and pride.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Tokyo – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , July 8th, 2016

Nomadic Boys - Gay Tokyo

Japan is one of the leaders of gay rights in Asia.

Gay TokyoSurprising isn’t it? Japanese society is so regimented, conservative, with strict social norms and little room for acceptance for anything different.

Despite this, Japan (along with Taiwan) is one of the few countries in Asia which has truly started to accept and protect its gay community to the point where it’s opened the door to gay civil unions.

More and more districts across Japan are legalising gay civil unions, two of them in Tokyo: Shibuya and Setagaya. So what better time to come visit the city as a gay couple? A very patient (unmarried) Stefan secretly hoping this could be THE moment…

Tokyo itself is massive, made up of 23 wards, each governed as a separate city and inhabited by over 9 million people. Statistically that’s just under 1 million gays waiting to welcome you.

Gay Tokyo is mainly congregated in Shinjuku’s Ni-chome (Area 2) where all the action happens. We enjoyed our time there so much that we decided to write our LGBT travel guide to Japan’s capital city.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys