Kyoto is a very comfortable place for gay and lesbian travelers. Indeed, it’s so comfortable that there are few specific gay and lesbian establishments, because everywhere is accepting. Here are the details.
Rainbow over Arashiyama, Kyoto © Jeffrey Friedl
- Japan in general, and Kyoto in particular, is a comfortable and attractive place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers.
- Same-sex sexual relations are legal in Japan. The usual laws regarding age apply.
- Overt public displays of affection by couples of any kind are frowned upon in Japan.
- If you’re looking for establishments that cater specifically to LGBT customers, you’ll have to travel to Osaka or Tokyo.
- See below for all the details.
- Japan is quite accepting of LGBT individuals. Indeed, apart from Thailand, it is the most comfortable and attractive place in Asia for LGBT travelers. Sure, in some country areas, people might look askance at any obviously LGBT couple exhibiting their affection. And, the odd rural hotel or ryokan might balk at providing rooms to such couples. But, in Kyoto, you’re unlikely to encounter this.
- Since Kyoto is so accepting of LGBT travelers, there are few, if any, specifically LGBT-friendly establishments or areas. If you’re looking for such places, you’ll have to go to nearby Osaka or all the way to Tokyo. See our Gay and Lesbian Osaka page or our Gay and Lesbian Tokyo page for details.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)