Homosexuality has been recognized by the Japanese culture from ancient times, it was only due to Westernization that it was briefly criminalized. It was only illegal between 1873 – 1880. In fact during the Samurai period homosexuality was seen as positive and contrary to the Greek’s it was the younger partner in the relationship expected to make the first move.
However there is still no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.
While the age of adulthood in Japan is regarded as 20 years old, the age of sexual consent in Japan can be as low as 13. Throughout Japan its religious culture tolerates no discrimination and for that supports LGBT people. There is an abundance of homoerotic and same-sex love in art recording relationships throughout the centuries.
In Tokyo alone there are over 300 gay bars in its gay town called Shinjuku but beware, most are so small that they need to specialize in the type of clientele they serve, so don’t feel offended if you’re not let in. And it is probably one of the best value international cities for drinking, with drinks averaging US$5 with no tipping or added taxes.
The capital city is host to large monthly gay events including Red on the 2nd Saturday and The Ring on the 4th Saturday of every month. Of course karaoke is a popular attraction. Tokyo’s Pride Parade is held in August every year and the Kansai Queer Film Festival has screenings in August and October. You won’t be short of things to see in Japan, from Mount Fiji – the most iconic natural landmark, to the country’s finest architectural creations including – The White Heron, Himeji Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and for shopping the Ginza District in Tokyo offering boutique stores, fine art galleries, the Sony Building and the largest fish market in Asia.