LGBTQ TOKYO NIGHT TOUR

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

From ¥10,700/person (~US$98)
Includes Light Meal and Drinks 3 Hours (approx.) 1+ People

Tour Introduction

The center of all things LGBTQ in Japan lies just on the edge of the Shinjuku, in 2-Chome (pronounced “knee choh-may”). But in a region with tens of millions of people, there’s bound to be a few spots - a fair bit of history as well. Our tour starts you “out” in Asakusa which most visitors only know for it’s old temple and adjoining shopping district. But there’s a big gay world unknown even to most local Japanese. Though not very large, this is the most historic but still active gay area in Tokyo. After a good look at some of the sights here, along with stories about the old days, we head to Shinjuku to bring you up to date on the current scene. Along the way, we have a light dinner and a couple of drinks too, all included in the price of your tour. Please join us on this gay Tokyo tour for an evening of LGBTQ heritage, present and just a plain ol’ fun night out!

Historic Landmarks

Though it is subdued, the gay cultural heritage of Asakura is palpable. Once we’re in Shinuku 2-Chome, it’s just flat out about gay culture NOW.

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

Long ago, Asakusa was the playground for young straight people. Through the 1920s and 1930s, before Shinjuku and Shibuya were much to speak of, it was Asakusa and Ueno where the middle class went out for a good time, did their shopping, and just lived life in the hustle and bustle. As time passed, the map of the city changed, and this holds true for the LGBTQ scene too. It’s hard to imagine young gay men going out for a good night of revelry in Asakura, but the older generation (as in 60s+) still has quite a solid home here. The difference between Asakusa and Shinjuku isn’t just age group, but also format. In Asakusa, everything is still very hush-hush. Gay bars are hard to identify. Then there’s the gay saunas, and the cruising park too. Again, most Japanese have no idea this is going on in Asakura. They only know of 2-Chome, if anything. Most of the people at these various gay venues have something in common: Extreme closeted living. Nowadays, slowly but surely, if not acceptable to be openly gay, it is becoming acceptable to at least not be married (of course I mean to someone of the opposite sex). In the old days however, there was tremendous pressure for men to be married by 30 and women to be married a good seven years before that. Even today in Japan, fighting the system rarely works out very well, so getting married is exactly what Community members did. Then think sexy thoughts and have a child or two. However, as it turns out, those urges don’t go away! Thus the world of secret lives, where going out with friends might mean something extra friendly and going to soak in the baths may involve some splashing out, and a walk in the park with the dog may extend to a bit of a wilderness experience.

Dinner and a drink

After walking around Asakusa, we’ll catch the subway to Shinjuku’s 2-Chome district. Before diving into the big scene. However, a little food is in order. Not good to drink on an empty stomach after all! We have a few nice options to choose from in the restaurant district just across the road from 2-Chome’s bars. Local places with food Tokyo businessmen and youth alike tend to really enjoy. Your light meal and one drink is covered as a part of your tour.

Of course your gay Tokyo tour goes to 2-Chome

Part three of our evening together finally takes us to where it all comes together today, Shinjuku 2-Chome. Also, it should be noted that whereas Asakusa’s scene is really only directed at older gay men, the 2-Chome scene includes not only something for men of varying ages and categories, but also something for women looking for the company of another woman. 2-Chome is the most openly gay district in Japan. Especially over the last 5-10 years, more and more bars have been open to the street or having large glass windows. The veil is being lifted and people seem pretty ok about it. Our stroll about the ‘hood will walk by casual, kink, steamy, hookup spaces, and more. We know the district well. Afterwards, we’ll end the night with a drink in one of the less cruisy bars so as to allow you to see the community in casual mode. Although our gay Tokyo tour doesn’t visit these areas, Shibuya has a sprinkling of gay bars and the Shimbashi area has a sizeable gay scene oriented towards the (generally closeted) Japanese businessen type. Ask your guide for more info!

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Tour Itinerary

Decades ago this was a major gay playground. Now it is richer in history than action, but what is still left is well aged and smokey. We’ll walk around and explain it all, but we don’t go into any of the places here. About 60 minutes of exploration and storytelling.

Just adjacent to Shinjuku 2-Chome gay district is 3-Chome, and we like the atmosphere here quite a bit. We’ll chat and figure out a good place to have a light meal and a drink before heading over the 2-Chome. Around 75 minutes with transport from Asakusa.

The eye candy and storefronts in 2-Chome are a world apart from Asakusa, and we know all the nooks and crannies to navigate you about. Afterwards, we’ll stop somewhere for a drink where foreigners are welcome and the people are friendly. To be honest, most everywhere is foreigner friendly; it’s just that sometimes the language barrier can be tricky. About 45 minutes or so with all this.

Historic and Cultural Landmarks

Though it is subdued, the gay cultural heritage of Asakura is palpable. Once we’re in Shinuku 2-Chome, it’s just flat out about gay culture NOW.

Easy Access

We meet on the corner (that doesn’t seem fishy, does it?) right in front of Kamiya Bar, which is itself right at Asakusa subway station.

Know Before You Go

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

  • More than six people on a gay Tokyo tour couldn’t possibly be fun, and indeed our tour often runs as a private tour
  • 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 and standing, though most likely sit down for some food and also when we have that second drink.

Inclusions:

  • A light dinner in Shinjuku
  • Up to two alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks (one at dinner, and one at the bar we go to in 2-Chome)
  • Train fare between our two neighborhoods

Exclusions:

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

Options:

  • Would you like to have a guide come early and escort you to the tour start point? This is available within central Tokyo (defined as along or within the Yamanote Line) for 5,000 yen plus your train fare. Odaiba is a bit higher at 6,000 yen, and for pickup points beyond that, please inquire. Prices quoted are for the whole group, not per person.

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 meet in front of Kamiya Bar, just outside Asakusa Station.

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