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Flamboyant Photos Of The Nightlife Inside Tokyo's Famous Gay District

14 de junio de 2018

Ariel Rodriguez

You'll definitely know you found Nichome when you start spotting all the glam queens walking around as if the streets were a fashion show.

Gay bars and clubs are the best places to party and the most welcoming spaces ever. Whether it's a tiny small-town bar where everybody knows each other or the hottest big-city nightclub, you’ll always find other party-loving folks ready to take shot with you or have a karaoke showdown. Often famous for their colorful streets filled with rainbow flags and neon-lit sex shops, gay neighborhoods have the best pop and EDM, friendly bartenders, and seriously cool decor. Their popularity is due to their atmosphere of acceptance, where no one is judged or rejected for what they look like. No matter your gender identity or sexual orientation, visiting the gay scene of any city is always a great way to have fun and meet other subcultures. For that reason, I wasn’t surprised to find out about the existence of the most popular gay enclave in Japan's capital. These photographs of Shinjuku Ni-chome (aka "Nichome," Tokyo’s coolest gay neighborhood) will make you want to stop by and grab a drink (or two).

Photo by: @la_negra_nomada

Photo by: @chez_will

Photo by: @la_negra_nomada

Photo by: @tomochikakomoriya

Gay neighborhoods are at its best when the sun goes down and you start getting in that party mood. The neon lights and techno beats from the bars and clubs make visitors want to walk inside the many establishments along the streets. In these pictures, we can see that Shinjuku Ni-chome is not that different from other cities’ gay hubs. There's the friendly atmosphere and excellent drinks with a fabulous contrast between modern and traditional decor. Although the streets seem to be a bit narrow and, I think it’s still a perfect place to mingle and do some bar hopping.

Photo by: @tayakou0969

Photo by: @la_negra_nomada

Photo by: @

Photo by: @katsura_ju

Food is another great reason to check out Nichome. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy a traditional and delicious meal: everything from ramen-house joints to Mexican fast-food places. There are also lots of souvenir stores, coffee shops, and of course, drag queen theaters; it's just not that fun without drag queens. It is also worth mentioning that the district has many love hotels, massage parlors, and bathhouses. You'll definitely know you found the district when you start spotting all the glam queens walking around as if the streets were a fashion show.

Photo by: @mnr0921

Photo by: @chez_will

Photo by: @sayoko_boutique

Tokyo is the most populous city in the world with 13 million people living there. And although Shinjuku Ni-chome is home to many queer folks in Japan, it is also a very popular place for straight allies who enjoy the welcoming party atmosphere. However, its popularity and fame didn’t occur overnight. It started in the 1950s, when the red-light district was a popular place for legal sex work (the gay community felt safe from judgment or persecution here). But that changed when a law proposed by a conservative initiative made sex work illegal for the first time in 1956. Still, the community survived and became a place of acceptance, as more gay people found comfort and support in the district. In 1992, the first gay pride parade took place along with the founding of the city’s first gay community center.

Photo by: @la_negra_nomada

Photo by: @la_negra_nomada

Photos by: @sayoko_boutique

Photos by:

One thing that makes the district so distinctive is the care that goes into the establishments. In these photographs we can identify famous bars, like Campy! and New Sazae. The last one in particular has been around since 1966. It is a bar and disco establishment decorated with CD cases, everyday makeup tools, and a disco ball to add some flair and retro vibes to the atmosphere. The bartenders are glamorous with a friendly and customer-first attitude. If you are planning on visiting Tokyo, you should definitely stop by the district and snap some pictures of your own. The area is very accessible since the Shinjuku train station is within walking distance from the hub; just make sure you don’t miss the last train of the night, or else you’ll have to party the night away.


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TAGS: travel tips Sexuality Photo series
SOURCES: Gaijin Pot Metropolis Japan Time Out

Ariel Rodriguez

Creative Writer


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