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.