Gay & Lesbian Travellers

Gay and lesbian travellers are unlikely to encounter problems in Japan. There are no legal restraints on same-sex sexual activities in Japan apart from the usual age restrictions.

Some travellers have reported being turned away or grossly overcharged when checking into love hotels with a partner of the same sex. Otherwise discrimination is unusual (though you'll likely be given a hotel room with twin beds). One note: Japanese people, regardless of their sexual orientation, do not typically engage in public displays of affection.

Tokyo has the largest and most welcoming gay scene, followed by Osaka. Most cities have at least a few gay bars, though the scene may not be as open to foreign travellers as that of Tokyo and Osaka. In rural areas, if there is a meeting spot, it's likely very underground. Utopia Asia (www.utopia-asia.com) has good recommendations for Japan.