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Gay Kyoto

The Kyoto gay scene is not much to speak of. Kyoto's proximity to Osaka makes it unnecessary to have too many gay venues. The local ones are quite small. Since I have not lived in Japan for a couple of years now, I cannot guarantee that all of these places still exists. Please check things out, and update me on any changes!

Clubs/Bars

Shops

Cruising Spots

Clubs/Bars

The only club of note in Kyoto is the Metro. Click here for more details on this month's events. Clubs generally have a cover charge that includes one or two drinks.

Especially in Kyoto, bars are very small and cater to a primarily Japanese crowd. Some staff can manage in English, but if you don't speak Japanese, it's much harder to socialise. Most bars are open at 8pm. They usually have a 'set' menu of one drink and snacks for about 1500 yen.

Metro (map)
Kyoto (075) 752-4765
Keihan Marutamachi Station, Exit 2
Marutamachi-Kawabata, SE corner, Basement

The Metro is not a gay club, and every night has a different theme. There is a monthly drag queen show, however, that is quite entertaining. Visit Hello!Gorgeous for schedule details.

Apple
Kyoto (075) 256-0258
One blcok north of Shijo-Kiyamachi, on the west side of the river. It's on the 3rd floor of the Dai-ichi Kobashi Kaikan (really tacky green flooring all the way upstairs...)

This is a very friendly and foreigner-friendly bar. The master (Yuji) is not only cute, but a really nice guy. Please visit, and tell Yuji how you found out about Apple.

Azure (map)
Kyoto (075) 212-3521
2 blocks north of Shijo-Kiyamachi on the east side, 3rd floor of the Ito Bldg. (there is a flower shop on the first floor).

I've never been here, but it was recommended by a visitor to my site. Thank you!


Kyoto (075) 254-0338
In the same building as Azure (above)

I actually interviewed for a job bartending here, but they didn't seem to want a foreigner working for them. Consequently, I can't guarantee how receptive they are to foreign patrons. But give it a go, and let me know!
(map)
Kyoto (075) 551-1628
One block north of Shijo-Hanamikoji in Gion. Turn right onto Tominagacho St and it's the second building (Garnet Bldg) on the left, in the basement.
Yet another place I've never visited. Anyone who happens to go, please send me some feedback!

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Shops

Be forewarned: most gay shops are little more than overpriced porn video shops, although this trend is changing as the market opens. Also, all Japanese porn is highly censored (with 'mosaics' or little pink smudges), which begs the question, "Why bother?"

NOTE: Many shops also have 'video boxes' that double as cruising spaces, or else actual cruising spaces! If you go behind the wrong curtain, you may find yourself paying up to 2000 yen for an experience you didn't expect (which may not be such a bad thing...).

Charinko
Kyoto (075) 352-8768
3 (long) blocks south of Shijo-Kawaramachi on the east side. 6th floor of the Asahi Kawaramachi Bldg.
As described above, the video box 'Supporter' is directly in front through the curtain as you enter. The bookshop is off to the right.

Horiike Book Shop
Kyoto
On the southeast corner of Kitaoji-Omiya

This is just a typical 'mom & pop' shop, which also carries gay magazines (in Japanese). Possibly, a 'pop & pop' shop?

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Cruising Spots

I make no comment as to the safety and/or advisability of visiting these spots. I simply provide the information found in most of the gay Japanese literature.

Cine Friends Nishijin (Japanese only)
From Senbon-Nakadachiuri (west Kyoto) go one block east and one block north.
A gay movie theatre, playing not only porn but gay-themed movies as well. There is a cruising space in the basement, accessed from the back of the theatre. Admission is 1500 yen the first time, after which you become a member. Subsequent visits then cost only 1100 yen.
Kyoto Supporter (Japanese only)
(075) 352-0199
Part of Charinko Bookshop (see above).
1500 yen a pop.
Kyoto Sauna Verde (map)
A 3-minute walk northeast of Kyoto Stn on the 7th floor.
Apparently, afternoons at this sauna are 100% gay. However, since it's a regular sauna as well, one must be discreet. There are 'rooms' on the 5th and 6th floors, and the roof is open in the summer!
Aoi Park (aka. Sankaku Koen)
South of Kamigamo Shrine at the juncture of Kamo and Takano Rivers (near Demachiyanagi Stn).
The public toilet just north of the bridge and along the east side of the river are popular late-night spots for young guys out cruising.
Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace Park)
From Karasuma-Marutamachi, walk about 5 blocks east to the main (Sakai-machi) gate.
The public toilets behind the tennis court and near the pond are well-known cruising spots.
Kyoto Eki Sauna
Kyoto Tower Bldg (just north of Kyoto Stn)
Second basement
This is a public bath, which offers a towel and a bath for about 750 yen. There seems to be some sort of signal in turning over the sand timer in the sauna, but I'm not entirely clear on that. In any case, it is a good place to relax during your travels.

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