Some of the links below are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
Japan attracts millions of visitors a year who are looking to experience the country’s cutting-edge technology, cherry blossom trees, and Mount Fuji. We spent a month in Japan as a lesbian couple and experienced no form of discrimination during our time there.
That being said, we respected the Japanese culture and did not display any forms of public affection. Of course, none of this is to say that no member of the LGBTQ+ community experiences any form of discrimination in Japan, sadly it does happen. However, reports are increasingly rare.
Is Being Gay & Lesbian Legal In Japan?
Homosexuality in Japan is legal. There are no restrictions regarding who you are attracted to, and there are no restrictions on promotion or education.
However, Japanese citizens are very private and therefore don’t often openly show or express their sexuality, especially not in public. As a result, a lot of the gay scene in Japan is hidden, and although this is not ideal for LGBTQ+ travellers, it doesn’t mean you will be treated any differently.
The Japanese Government has laws to ensure that gay and lesbian individuals are not victims of discrimination. However, some regulations regarding gay marriage and same-sex adoption differ depending on which area of Japan you are in.
Is Being Trans Legal in Japan?
Japan has strict laws on declaring a different gender from birth and requires individuals to undergo gender reassignment surgery before declaring a gender change.
That being said, transgender individuals have freedom of speech and can both discuss and promote transgender issues anywhere in the country. However, it’s important to note that many transgender people in Japan are likely to remain private and avoid any form of public display of their gender identity.
Public Displays Of Affection & LGBTQ Social Acceptance in Japan
Japan welcomes LGBTQ+ individuals. A survey by Equaldex suggests that almost 80% of Japanese citizens approve of same-sex marriage and a large majority of people approve of homosexuality in general.
While showing public displays of affection for both straight and gay couples is legal in Japan it’s not something that you’ll typically see.
We are typically a very reserved couple anyway so choosing not to display any public forms of affection during our time in Japan with respect for the local culture wasn’t an issue.
LGBTQ+ Friendly Places In Japan
Over the past decade, Japan has become a more welcoming and inviting place for LGBTQ+ travellers to explore. That being said, much like most countries around the world, selected cities and regions are more accepting than others.
Tokyo is the capital of Japan and where the Japanese gay scene started. We recently spent seven days in Tokyo and found it to be the best and most exciting city for colourful displays of queer life.
Whilst in the city, check out the gay street, Ni-Chome. This is one of the most famous streets in Tokyo and is filled with hundreds of clubs and bars dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community including;
- Campy! Bar
- Aiiro Cafe Bar
Another popular city in Japan that is well-known for its gay nightlife is Osaka. Here you’ll find the most densely populated LGBTQ+ bars in the Doyama region of the city. Which is close to several major tourist attractions including Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Castle.
The relatively unknown city of Sapporo features the incredible gay neighbourhood of Susukino. This region of Japan is a popular skiing destination, so if you’re looking for a gay ski break, then this place might just fit the criteria.
The Best Gay Prides In Japan
We found Japan to be well worth visiting as an LGBTQ+ couple and even managed to attend one of the two well-known gay pride events that take place in the country annually.
Tokyo Rainbow Pride
Take part in Japan’s biggest Pride event each year to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
This fun and colourful event sees people from all spectrums of the community come together on floats, dressed in colourful clothing or marching, singing, and dancing side-by-side as they march through the capital city of Tokyo.
Thousands of people attend the parade each year, which is the highlight of the LGBTQ+ calendar in Japan. It’s one you don’t want to miss.
Hakuba Gay Ski Week
Take your pride celebrations in the Japanese Alps. This unique pride celebratory event allows you to celebrate with friends, family, and locals whilst skiing your life away in the Japanese mountains. This is part of the larger Hakuba Rainbow Festival which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community.