Tokyo is a place for all people — anyone can find friends here. Even though the LGBT community is more diverse and open in Western countries, Tokyo provides an amazing environment (like LGBT clubs and bars) for LGBT peeps to go out, have fun and enjoy Tokyo’s nightlife to the fullest.
But what if you have no idea where exactly to go? Don’t worry, we got ya!
Just a 10-minute walk from Shinjuku station, you’ll find yourself in Shinjuku‘s Ni-Chome – Tokyo’s famous gay district. It features a huge collection of bars, LGBT clubs and things to do. Also, you’re almost guaranteed to stumble upon some sort of party or event that will blow your mind.
Where to look for those?
Below are the 5 LGBT clubs we absolutely love (and we think you will too).
1. Arty Farty
Arty Farty has been one of the top places to hang out at for ages, and it’s still attracting crowds from all over the world.
Why? Simple! This well-known venue features different DJs almost every day of the week. With its huge and always packed dance-floor, it has become the go-to gay place for meeting new people and having a great time.
So if you’re looking for an international crowd, for instance, that’s the place to be, but come early on the weekends or it’ll take you forever to order a drink. Other than that, the staff is friendly and the drinks are priced reasonably, but, ladies, if you want to enter on the weekends, you have to bring a male gay chaperone! This is, after all, a gay LGBT club.
Arty Farty often shares the party with its sister venue, The Annex, where you can enter for free if you get your hand stamped!
2. Campy! Bar
Now here’s a great place to start a night and a great place to end one.
Campy! Bar started in 2013, run by celebrity drag queen Bourbonne! With its drag queen staff, lively atmosphere and friendly (and super funny!) staff, it’s one of the best places to meet friends, get introduced to new people and get ready for an all-nighter with a few delicious drinks.
It’s located on one of the main streets in the district. Also, it’s known for being the ideal place to start the night.
There’s no entry or seating tax and drinks are paid cash-on-delivery, unlike most bars in the area.
It has a ‘gay mix’ policy which means the straight crowd won’t be feeling out of place! If you’re a first time visitor to Tokyo’s gay district, this LGBT club is a must.
3. AiiRO Café
Next, the AiiRO Café. This small corner bar has become one of the biggest attractions on the busy Shinjuku‘s Ni-Chome’s streets. It’s by far the most welcoming of the bunch, and it’s a great place to start a night off on a “laid back” vibe.
It opens at 6 pm and fills up quickly. As a result, visitors spill all over the street during the night, and the drag queens and ‘go-go boys’ performing on weekends make it nearly impossible to enter!
A lot of foreigners consider it the “first place to go” when they come to Shinjuku. It has a long history of hosting great night-outs. Also, it’s just one of those places that has a really friendly, welcoming feel to it.
One of the interesting offers from the bar is the all-you-can-drink beer option (really? because we can drink a lot!). Above all, drinks are overall pretty affordable.
The sight of so many visitors from all over the world should serve to show this is one of the best LGBT bars/ LGBT clubs in Tokyo, so don’t miss out!
4. New Sazae
If you’re looking for something a little more old-school, you can’t miss New Sazae. This gay bar and disco club welcomes people from all walks of life – straight, gay, young, old, drag queens, foreigners, locals, literally everyone!
Hey, the more, the merrier, right?
It’s been around since 1966. In addition, it sticks to house and disco music from the 70s and 80s. A bit of a time machine, but awesome for those who love to dance to the classics! It’s open 365 days a year.
For many reasons (which we already listed), visiting New Sazae provides a totally different experience compared to any other place in Shinjuku‘s Ni-Chome, but one that’s definitely worth having.
The owner – Shion, who is an icon in the eyes of locals, has worked behind the bar for over 35 years now! Talk about loving what you do…
5. Tac’s Knot
What makes the Tac’s Knot unique? The owner – Master Tac – is a gay community leader, local icon and an artist who has turned his bar into the ultimate gay cultural venue.
It’s a small, cozy cocktail bar that features art from different local gay artists every month.
In addition, the bar hosts some incredible art shows. Therefore, if you’re looking for an elegant venue where you can grab a few drinks in a laid-back setting, then this is the place for you.
Above all, the atmosphere is really artsy. Who needs to go to a gallery when you can go to a bar-gallery, right?
If you go there, be sure to talk to Tac! He speaks English but likes to test your Japanese first. Therefore, be prepared.