LGBT Travellers

LGBT+ travellers are unlikely to encounter problems in Japan. There are no legal restraints on same-sex sexual activities here, apart from the usual age restrictions.

Outright discrimination is unusual; however, travellers have reported being turned away or grossly overcharged when checking into love hotels with a partner of the same sex. Such discrimination is illegal, but is rarely litigated.

One thing to keep in mind: Japanese people, regardless of their sexual orientation, do not typically engage in public displays of affection.

Tokyo has the largest gay and lesbian scene, centred around the neighbourhood Shinjuku-nichōme ('Nichōme' for short), followed by Osaka (centred in Dōyama-chō). Though there have been signs in recent years of growing acceptance, outside of these safe spaces many LGBT+ people in Japan remain fearful of the potential social and economic ramifications of living publicly out.

To keep up to date with issues concerning Japan's LGBT+ community, and to learn about events and meet-ups, follow Nijiro News (@nijinews) on twitter. Utopia Asia (www.utopia-asia.com) is also a great resource.

Akta Community Centre Free AIDS tests, counselling and any other information you might need, in Tokyo's Shinjuku-nichōme.