The Rules of Japanese Gay Bars

The lifeblood of the gay neighborhood are the hundreds of bars that typically seat fewer than a dozen customers. These bars generally specialize in a subset of the gay subculture.There are even clubs that provide venues for patrons to engage in sensual activities with each other. Most of thebars in the gay areas are nominally ‘members only’ or ‘by introduction only’ clubs.


In a society where the traditionally expectation is that everyone will marry and have children to carry on the family name, many LGBT Japanese choose to privately express their sexuality within the anonymity of these specialty clubs in areas like Ni-chōme in Tokyo.


To achieve this specialization, clubs are typically segregated by “scene.”

There are bars that cater to the bear community, BDSM, muscular men, young men, butch and femme lesbians, etc.Club owners called “masters” or “mama-sans” work to attract the unique crowds that match the specialty of their clubs, going so far as to deny service or charge additional fees to less-desired customers.


To find out more about the specialized bar scene in Tokyo, take the Gay Town Tour of Tokyo.

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