LGBTQ OSAKA NIGHT TOUR

Pull back the curtain on how gay culture was 100 years ago, and how it is today, Osaka style.

¥12,000/person (~US$110)
Includes Light Meal and Drinks 4 Hours (approx.) 1+ People

Tour Introduction

Join us for a gay Osaka tour that not only celebrates the more open LGBTQ community of today, but also takes you to where the community used to be focused - both phsically and as a state of mind. Along the way we’ll explore two very different neighborhoods and have a light meal too. Our evening ends with a drink in Doyama, Osaka’s largest and most well-known gay district. With a total of two drinks and dinner included, there’s no need to worry about surprise charges. This tour can be geared toward those more interested in male dominated gay bars or in largely lesbian bars.

Historic Landmarks

While a night in Osaka may not measure up on historical monuments, it scores high on cultural adventure, and this tour is no exception.

Professional Guide

Real English, real skills, and great personalities. Our guides have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with interesting, fun, and memorable tours.

Fully Narrated Tour

Our tours never leave you to wonder about on your own. Your guide stays with you the whole time, unless, for example, you want a bit of time to roam a garden or have lunch on your own.

Easy Access

This tour starts just outside a rail or subway station, making meeting up an anxiety-free experience.

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Tour Overview

There was once a time (ok, for some, it’s still that time) when a man was expected to stifle those gay thoughts and get married to a woman regardless of how he actually felt about heterosexual intimacy. In Japanese society it was simply not acceptable to not get married. In turn these men would go through the paces and even have kids with their wives. Still, as it turns out, those gay urges didn’t go away (!), so it was commonly held practice for men to lead secret lives in secret bars and semi-secret gay saunas. In Osaka, much of this older generation activity continues in Shin-sekai to this day. This neighborhood is a very popular spot with all stripes of visitors to Osaka, but almost no one knows that there is any sort of LGBTQ activity going on around them. Shin-sekai’s “scene”, in as much as it is one, consists of some well-hidden gay bars, a couple still popular saunas (Spoiler alert: Bathing isn’t the focus), and a couple old-style movie theatres that screen gay films from the 90s and earlier. It’s a real timewarp which makes it all even more interesting to take in. We’re not going to go into any of these establishments, but we’ll get close enough that you’ll definitely get the gist.

A gay Osaka tour that also emphasizes food?

Osaka is known to many as the best food city in Japan, so even though our mission for the night is LGBTQ exploration, we’re going to be sure to at least squeeze in a light dinner. We’ve got a number of good places in mind in the Shin-sekai, an area especially well known for “Osaka soul food”. Perhaps some kushi katsu? That’s Osaka’s famous deep fried food on skewers. Or maybe some doteyaki? This is a miso-infused slow cooked melange of beef innards. Tastes better than it sounds! But don’t fret, we can make the food as mild or wild as you like.

Gay Mecca: Doyama

A fifteen minute train journey takes us to the Doyama district, where we’ve fast forwarded to a more open time and a more diverse LGBTQ scene. Around here, some venues sport rainbow flags and other pretty obvious signs but with your guide’s assistance you’ll be able to learn much more than you otherwise could have. We’ve got a couple fun sights to show you along our walk, after which we will drop in for a drink at one of our preferred bars. Even though the Doyama area is shared with the straight world, there are buildings that have dozens of gay or lesbian bars under one roof. Most bars are small and they often have a fairly well defined niche. Depending on your interests, we’ll make some suggestions. There are of course the bear bars, the twinks, athletes, daddies, and even a couple bars that are focused on having a large foreign clientele - alongside Japanese that are interested in meeting foreigners. Here in Doyama, we are also able to set you up with additional services to enjoy on your own after the tour ends. Please feel free to inquire, as there is nothing illegal about the introductions we can make. Despite the major changes wrought by dating app culture, Osaka still supports a number of LGBTQ establishments, and there is even a third area (smaller than Doyama) where the scene is largely invisible to the uninformed: Namba. Though we don’t have time on this tour to stop there, we are happy to tell you more and give advice. We’re all for having a good time while traveling, but what sets our gay Osaka tour apart is the (painlessly) educational bit and our insistance on enjoying some local food too. We hope to see you soon!

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Tour Itinerary

For many decades, this has been a gay enclave. Though the clientele may have been young at some point, that’s not the case anymore. We’ll crisscross this area, showing you (from the outside, at least) the best of an anachronistic assortment of adventures. We also have a local light dinner here (included). We spend about 75 minutes here.

After riding the train up from Shin-sekai, we get down to exploring modern LGBTQ culture in Osaka. Some interesting sights are also in store here. About 45 minutes of walking around.

Which bar we choose can vary, but you can be sure it will be foreigner-friendly and local. About 30 minutes here.

Historic and Cultural Landmarks

While a night in Osaka may not measure up on historical monuments, it scores high on cultural adventure, and this tour is no exception.

Easy Access

Our tour starts at either JR Shin-Imamiya Station or subway Dobutsuen-mae Station. They are right next to each other, so you need just let us know which one works best for you.

Know Before You Go

There are a few things we’d like you to take note of before joining us.

  • The legal drinking age in Japan is 20
  • The minimum age to join this tour is 18
  • Please come wearing comfortable shoes, as there will be a fair bit of walking

Inclusions:

  • A light dinner in the Shin-sekai neighborhood
  • Up to two alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks (one at dinner, and one at the bar we go to in Doyama)
  • Train fare between our two neighborhoods

Exclusions:

  • Drinks beyond the two provided, but you are free to purchase additional ones directly from the restaurant if you wish

Options:

  • Would you like to have a guide come early and escort you to the tour start point? This is available for central Osaka addresses for 5,000 yen plus your train fare (which will be less than 300 yen/person). For pickup points beyond central Osaka, pricing may be higher. Please email us or make a note at time of booking if you are interested in this service.

Our Tour Guides

We've got around a dozen guides at your service. Here we showcase a few of our most active ones.

Kevin

We think it's important that everyone who works for Pinpoint Traveler is an active guide too, even the owner. Kevin's been in Japan thirteen years, but spent the first ten in the corporate world. Now he shares his love for Japan outside the confines of the office.

Shoji

Born in Japan, but moved to Canada when he was still quite young, Shoji is back and ready to share is passion for Japan with you. His main dominion is Osaka and on down to Koya-san and Wakayama, but he's such a popular guy that we often send him even further afield by request.

Mardi

Mardi's our Kyoto guide-in-chief, and her love for the city is infectious. She's got an uncanny ability for giving people just the right amount of information while still ensuring the tour stays light and fun. Be it temples and shrines, gardens, or nightlife, Mardi's your gal.

Dan

Dan is a Spaniard, so of course his Spanish is native level, but his English is fantastic as well. He's got a warm personality and consistently makes our guests feel like they've made a new friend within minutes of meeting him. He also knows Osaka and Kyoto like no one's business!

Levy

With nearly twenty years in Osaka, Levy's got this place WIRED. He's a major samurai and history aficionado, and in addition to knowing all the top sights like a true pro, he knows Osaka's nightlife better than (dare we say it!) the vast majority of Japanese who call Osaka home. Levy's originally from Israel, and runs tours in Hebrew too.

Suzie

Suzie is Japan born and raised, and we can't recommend her enough for tours in Tokyo and Yokohama. Our prior guests frequently say nicer things about Suzie than any of our own mothers have said about us! The consummate pro, she's not just got all the info, but also an uncanny knack for knowing what to show our guests.

Not profiled here are guides who speak Spanish (Kyoto, in addition to Dan in Osaka), French (Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo), and German (Kyoto and Tokyo).

Pickup Point

We'll start the night in Shin-sekai, and go from there.

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