Konichiwa, baby! Tokyo has changed in the past decade and while some may consider it conservative and traditional, the quirky capital of Japan is becoming a hot spot for the gay traveler. Hotels continue to sign up for the LGBT friendly campaign, and business hotels that once did not accept male couples for double room bookings are now completely welcoming. “There are some great hotels in Tokyo where staff are being educated with regards to their gay customers,” says James Mundy of InsideJapan Tours, which runs private city tours and packages with gay guides. “The attitudes are changing.”
Tokyo Disneyland just carried out its first same-sex marriages (though not legally binding) and there are a handful of openly gay politicians these days (the first openly gay politician to be elected was in April 2011).
Shinjuku Ni-Chome district (the “gayborhood”) is where to be, and Ageha Club in the Shin Kiba area hosts the biggest gay night in Tokyo, called Shangrila. Japan’s traditional public baths are a must but even more intimate is the gay sauna at 24 Kaikan in Ni-chome.
The Park Hotel has stunning views of the city starting on the 26th floor, and is a gay-friendly hotel. It’s not to be confused with Park Hyatt Tokyo, which has that iconic top floor bar with amazing views as seen in Lost in Translation.
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