For most foreigners, gay Tokyo means Shinjuku 2-chome, but for Japanese, and many Japanese-conversant foreigners, Tokyo's gay scene extends considerably further.
The biggest concentration of gay bars in Tokyo outside of Shinjuku Ni-Chome is in Shinbashi, just south of Ginza.
Unlike Shinjuku, the gay bars in Shimbashi do not form a tight enclave. They are also generally smaller and effectively reserved for (Japanese) regular customers. Also, Shinbashi is definitely for the more mature set, the average age group being 35-50 years old. This makes for quite a different vibe from the predominantly youthful Ni-Chome.
I was in Shimbashi on the weekend. It is easily accessed. The area is served by the following railway lines: Japan Rail Yamanote Line, the Ginza Subway Line, the Asakusa Subway Line, and, via the nearby Shiodome Station, the Rinkai Line, and the Oedo Subway Line.
With a group of friends, we called in on Town House Tokyo. Town House Tokyo has been a gay Shinbashi presence since 2003. It is big for a Japanese gay bar, cheap at 500 yen a drink, popular (especially on Fridays, when we went), friendly, has karaoke, and theme nights, including regular underwear-only nights. The staff is welcoming and attentive, making sure you always have a drink, and the free and easy seating/standing arrangement means the chance to chat up is always there.
As with most Japanese gay bars: no photo taking - thus our pictorial coverage (at top) being limited to the outside entrance - the stairs at right.
Read more about gay Shimbashi.
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