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Women-loving-women love Japan: A guide to lesbian dating in Tokyo

Robyn Exton

Jul 21, 2023

Women-loving-women love Japan: A guide to lesbian dating in Tokyo

Whether you’re a visitor, a student, or worker, or a long-time native of the wonderful country of Japan, the Tokyo lesbian scene welcomes you with open arms. All you have to do is jump in! 

Lucky for you, the LGBT+ scene in Japan is vibrant, and even more so in the nation’s capital Tokyo and lively cities like Osaka.

Despite its rich queer communities, Japan has a long way to go in terms of honoring and respecting its LGBT+ citizens and residents. Gay marriage, as of 2023, is still not legal in Japan, though certain prefectures recognize civil partnerships. 

This means that same-sex couples don’t have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. 

These restrictions shouldn’t stop you from living as freely as you can, as Japan has a lot to offer, from beautiful landscapes to pioneering technology. So brush up on your Japanese and learn some customs before you dive into the diverse lesbian scene. 

A crowd of people walk down a street in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, during the night.

The state of LGBT+ rights in Japan

Restrictions on human rights in Japan mean that same-sex couples experience significantly higher housing discrimination rates and discrimination in public business facilities.

It’s a sad truth, but the fight goes on: groups such as OCCUR (Japan Association for the Lesbian and Gay Movement) have been fighting for anti-discrimination practices since 1986. 

We’ll cover other groups and resources for LGBT people facing discrimination in Japan later on in this article.

Despite systemic discrimination against human rights for LGBT people, it doesn’t mean that queer folks are entirely barred from public life. There are a variety of events, bars, and spaces, meant to be safe for queer people – especially lesbians and WLW.

Residents exploring their newfound sexuality, immigrants needing some queer community, tourists seeking love, and queer natives alike will enjoy our guide to Tokyo lesbian life. Read on to learn more! 

Meet and bring your match to these lesbian bars and events in Tokyo

When we say Tokyo has everything, we mean everything

From love hotels to dive bars squeezed one after the other in the Tokyo gayborhood of Shinjuku Ni-chōme, it’s easy to fill up your itinerary with a thousand and one things to do. 

In Ni-chōme, you’ll find the highest concentration of gay bars in the entire world. Naturally, the gays flock to these safe spaces for good fun and community nights. 

For lesbians and WLW, you can find a good time too. Before you even go to these places, though, you might want to bring a date so you can share this experience with someone else Especially when more intimate bars may require some knowledge of Japanese, unless the host speaks English, club events tend to be more welcoming to foreigners. 

Bring yourself a date, Japanese-speaking or otherwise, and get to having fun! 

A WLW sits on a couch while scrolling through her phone trying to find a lesbian date for a night out in Shinjuku.

Try HER, the dating app for meeting women, trans, & non-binary people in Tokyo

If you’re wondering if there are any dating sites for lesbians in Tokyo: yes! After all, LGBT+ folks are everywhere. It’s just a matter of finding them. 

If you’re trying to navigate Tokyo’s lesbian online dating world, the HER app is where you must be. When it comes to online dating, HER makes it easy for you to swipe and find your match. 

Once you do, it’s time to choose where actually to go for your first date. Below are our top picks for queer lesbian outings in Japan.

Waifu, a lesbian and trans-friendly party in Tokyo

Waifu is a trans-inclusive lesbian party in Tokyo, founded by Elin McCready (left) and her wife, Midori Morita (right).


Everyone deserves a good night out, right? Especially if you’re part of the queer community, including our trans friends and allies, and you’re itching to dance to some great beats by top-notch DJs.

Unfortunately, Ellen McCready – a trans woman and professor living it up in Japan – was not granted the privilege of such a fun night when was turned away from a lesbian club night in Ni-chōme Shinjuku. 

So, what did she do? Ellen and her wife, Midori Morita, bounced back and created their own gig, calling it Waifu. This DJ-powered music night is all about bringing everyone together. It’s inclusive, disability-friendly, and promises a wild queer time.

While it’s in Tokyo, it’s not in Ni-chōme, but who cares? The real party is wherever the queer folks are. Waifu is all about the people who show up, creating an up-close and personal safe space where everyone’s welcome, no matter their gender, sexuality, race, or age.

Want in on the next party? Check out the Waifu website for the details.

Goldfinger, an LGBT+ bar and lesbian party

Source: Gold Finger 

Gold Finger is where it’s at – it’s more than just a bar; it’s a party in its own right. Imagine always feeling the party vibe, especially hanging with cool Tokyo lesbians!

Entry is free, and they’ve got complimentary popcorn; you just have to buy one drink at the door to get entry. Plus, there’s a happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm. 

Every Saturday, the place transforms into a women-only bar, making weekends extra special for the gals.

Patron Yeleny says it’s a “friendly, lesbian bar with an eclectic crowd and catchphrase decor all throughout the inside and outside of the bar.

Back in the day, they used to throw a club night or party every other Saturday. But sadly, they had to put that on hold because of the coronavirus restrictions.

This hotspot for the LGBT community has been running strong since 1991. So support this business at the following address: 2 Chome-12-11 Shinjuku.

Adezakura, another lesbian-friendly LGBT+ bar in Shinjuku

A rainbow flag hangs at the entrance of Adezakura, a women-centered LGBT+ bar in Ni-chōme Shinjuku.

Source: Ronke Sukunbi

Adezakura stands out as one of the few remaining local lesbian bars in Ni-chōme, situated literally around the corner from Bar Gold Finger, and it’s definitely among the top. The place is cozy and can get quite packed during peak hours, but it usually clears out a bit after the last train. And on Saturdays, they invite local DJs to entertain their guests! 

Kevin W., an Adezakura patron, shares, “The staff is super friendly, and the drinks are surprisingly affordable!”

Adezakura is open from 9 pm to 6 am, focusing primarily on women, but others are also welcome. The bar is also closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Dyke Weekend for a sapphic getaway

Closeup shot of a group of women stacking their hands together in a huddle.

Every year, just a little northwest of Tokyo in the town of Saitama, you’ll find a sapphic paradise called Dyke Weekend. 

Just picture this: nestled in the lush green heart of Saitama’s Musashi-Ranzan, it’s been serving good vibes and even better conversation for over three decades. This semi-annual getaway is a melting pot of queerness, a safe haven where lesbians and bisexual women from all walks of life converge.

Every Dyke Weekend has much to offer in terms of workshops and activities. Explore the intricacies of your Venus in Aries at astrology workshops, or maybe you want to get more handy and carve your own hanko (traditional seal). Dyke Weekend has it all, got you covered, and the organizers are also very open to suggestions. 

BBQ by the river, arts and crafts, soul-stirring performances—it’s a mélange of fun, laughter, and learning. And, of course, there are parties to meet and connect with other WLW in the area

Learn more about Dyke Weekend 2024 on the website here.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride, a march of celebration

Source: Reuters

At Tokyo Rainbow Pride, you’ll come across what you can come to expect from pride celebrations: a parade, a celebration, a festival, non-profit organizations, and public figures marching through the streets. 

But in Japan’s capital, expect it to be bigger and better: Tokyo Rainbow Pride is the biggest Pride event in Japan and one of the largest in Asia. 

Typically taking place in April every year, this is a great time to meet other LGBT+ people and sapphics. Perhaps the best lesbian date in Tokyo would be to attend a musical performance, drag show, or other cultural event during this weekend of celebration. 

Despite Japan being relatively conservative on certain social issues, Tokyo Rainbow Pride is generally well-attended and has increased in scale and visibility over the years. 

Many attendees appreciate it as a space where they can express themselves freely and support LGBTQ+ rights. People march in Japan because they believe equality is still possible. So the Tokyo Rainbow Pride slogan goes – “Press on till Japan changes!”

Rainbow Reel Tokyo for film lovers

Promotional poster for the 31st Rainbow Reel Tokyo. The color scheme is yellow and green, with drawings of characters on the beach doing different activities like playing music and fishing.

Source: Rainbow Reel Tokyo

Every July, Tokyo hosts the Rainbow Reel, which is now coming up on its 31st year anniversary in 2023.

Originally known as the Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, its new name reflects the more diverse themes covered in the films screened during this event. Bisexuals, transgender folks, and all other strokes of the rainbow can see themselves in these spotlighted films. 

This event takes place over the course of several days, typically in July. If you want to join and of course, bring your film buff partner for the perfect lesbian date in Tokyo: you can find tickets on the Rainbow Reel Tokyo website here.

What lesbian dating is like in Tokyo

While the legal protections don’t extend to those that cisgender heterosexual couples have, social life can still be as fulfilling and rewarding as a sapphic person in Tokyo. 

When it comes to lesbian dating, there are some best practices that we think are applicable no matter where you are.

 Consent and communication are key, always, and we’ve previously broken down what to expect in lesbian relationships and hookups.

But what makes lesbian dating different in Japan? It requires understanding cultural nuances and differences. 

While public displays of affection aren’t as common in Japan, this doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of affection or interest. And while language barriers can be challenging, they also provide an opportunity for bonding through language exchange. 

Don’t let it stop you from reaching out and connecting with other sapphics in Tokyo! 

Another way to get familiar with what being LGBT is like in Japan is to watch the queer media that’s out there about the experience! 

There is a 2019 documentary called Queer Japan that explores just that: local LGBT+ Japanese culture. In this documentary, you get an inside look at staple businesses like Gold Finger and activists in the queer scene. 

And Back in 2016, Elliot Page co-hosted the hit Vice show Gaycation and the first destination? Japan! In this documentary show, they explore LGBT+ spots and explore the experiences of local LGBT people.

And, of course, we’ve got the 10 best lesbian animes you should start watching if you’re more in the mood for fiction! 

Japanese phrases to use on your first lesbian date in Tokyo

Did you know that the HER app is available in several languages, including Japanese? If you’re feeling like you want to get a jump start on language exchange, you can try some of these phrases as you slide into those DMs.

Putting yourself out there in a different language and culture is a slippery slope: be sure to run any creative pick-up lines by a native speaker who will be able to tell you if something doesn’t really make sense or is downright inappropriate. 

Here are some harmless ones you can try out both online or on your first lesbian date in Tokyo! 


(Anata no egao, boku no kokoro o akaruku shimasu yo.)

Translation: Your smile brightens up my heart.


(Anata ni deaete, boku wa hontou ni rakki- da.)

Translation: I’m really lucky to have met you.


(Anata no utsukushisa niwa me o mihirarubakari desu.)

Translation: I’m amazed by your beauty.

So what do you think? Are you ready to put yourself out there, change your language settings on the HER app, and get to finding other WLW in Tokyo to go out with? 

At the very least, we hope you can get more comfortable and familiar with the LGBT+ community of Japan! 

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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