With its high concentration of vibrant gay lifestyle offerings, the Nichōme area of Tōkyō’s Shinjuku Ward (sometimes called Nichō, ‘Two-Town’ or occasionally ‘bit-town’) is the heart of gay Tōkyō. The area is centred around Naka-Dōri Street, between the Shinjuku-sanchōme Station and Shinjuku Park, and this relatively concentrated area offers an exciting blend of gay bars, cafes restaurants and shopping, as well as gay entertainment venues including clubs, sauna and massage, various types of gay accommodation (including love hotels), and cruising spots. Nichōme is well connected with three major train and metro stations within easy walking distance (the Shinjuku-sanchōme, Shinjuku-gyoenmae, and Shinjuku stations - with Shinjuku being the world’s busiest railway station).
Most of the clubs are quite modest in size and often principally cater to regular local customers from a specific segment of the gay clientele, e.g. Bears, Lesbians, etc. Also, while many venues welcome non-Japanese customers, some welcome you if you are a guest of “jorensan” (a regular of the bar), while others explicitly bar non-Japanese from entering. There are some venues where foreigners are welcome, and they tend to be the bigger venues – and while many of the smaller venues may not be overtly unwelcoming to foreigners, travelers (including non-regular Japanese) may feel very unwelcome. The Nichō area becomes particularly vibrant during gay events such as the Tōkyō Pride Parade, the Tōkyō International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and the Tōkyō Rainbow Festival.
Apart from Nichō, other areas of Tōkyō have concentrations of gay bars, bookstores, etc. These areas include Asakusa, Ikebukuro, Shimbashi and Ueno - and up-to-date scene information can be found in the Boy’s Town Map (Otoko-machi).