LGBT Travellers

Gay and lesbian travellers are unlikely to encounter problems in Tokyo. There are no legal restraints on same-sex sexual activities in Japan, 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 made great strides in the past couple of years towards openness and acceptance; still, many LGBT people remain fearful of the potential social and economic ramifications of living publicly out – outside of safe spaces like Shinjuku-nichōme ('Nichōme' for short), the city's largest and liveliest gay quarter.

To keep up to date with issues concerning Tokyo's LGBT community, and to learn about events and meet-ups, follow the Nichōme Community Project (@NichomeComProj) and Nijiro News (@nijinews) on twitter.

Akta Community Centre advocates for the health and safety of Tokyo's LGBT community. From the heart of Shinjuku Ni-chōme, Akta offers free AIDS tests, counselling and any other information you might need.

Utopia Asia (www.utopia-asia.com) Lots of resources and recommendations for LGBT travellers.