Gay Gyaru/Gyaruo

This is part of the Japan Vida series, discussing certain parts about living in Japan.


:sparkle2: love hotels
:sparkle2: the ask anything post (dating and being a gaijin)
:sparkle2: shopping at 109 and general Japan shopping
:sparkle2: japan and friends

The hair is fierce!!!

First of all… they exist!

Many of my friends are gay guys and we all head to Shinjuku Nichome together on the weekends. I’ve been to gay bars, lesbian bars, gay events, lesbian events and more… Shinjuku Nichome is pretty much the only open area for gays and lesbians to act and be themselves. It’s only a very tiny block, but some fun is to be had inside. Homosexuality although having historical roots within Japan, now is very unwelcome. For more modern info: please read the Homosexuality in Japan wiki with tons of gay slang information.

Nichome – the gay and lesbian district

Nichome is a small block stacked with gay and lesbian bars, clubs, and host/sex clubs.  There is not one dedicated lesbian club unlike Arty Fartys and Artys Annex which are the same gay club but 2 streets apart. Every club stamps your hand after you pay a drink/entrance fee and you are free to come and go as you please. So often many people camp in front of the conbini Sunklus and get conbini alcohol and drink outside. It makes the evening much cheaper. There’s even a park with swingset that you can go and drink in. So many people are usually wandering the streets from conbini to club or bar to club. This allows for a ton of people watching.

How many gals regard gays and lesbians

I was talking with my one*spo staff Kie and an old one Non-chan, I was buying some accessories to go out that night so they asked where I was going and I told them Nichome. Even though Nichome literally means “2nd block” and numbered everywhere in Tokyo, people usually know exactly where you mean without having to say Shinjuku Nichome. Both were shocked and amazed I had gay friends. They didn’t preach a hate of gay people, more just felt that gay people have their world and straight people have theirs. This happened with some other gals, too.

This doesn’t mean all straight gals don’t love Nichome. My best Japanese friend loves her gay boys and we met at this tiny 7 seat bar in Nichome.

Gay Japan is not Gay anywhere else…

Gaydar is a thing of the past. American gaydar does not work at all in Japan. This goes especially with males. All the effeminate gestures and metrosexual overload makes a man straight in Japan >_< It’s often the beefy crew-cut guys in Japan that are gay <_<;; It used to be that if you wore Abercrombie and Fitch you could tell a guy was gay because  you had to import it. Now that A&F have opened a shop in Ginza, that’s out of the window.

Lesbians in general

Lesbians stick to roles. It is absolutely rare to see two lipstick lesbians together in Japan. If I do, I usually assume they’re friends out together. There is a definite pair off between butch and femme roles. So if you’re dressed like a gyaru with typical gal clubwear expect to get hit on by the butch type. The butch type in Japan often makes you question guy/girl when you see them at first.

Of course the gay and lesbian community is not just gay and lesbian but also has transgenders and bisexuals involved. Nichome also has the fag hags as well (which are termed okoge. Okama means burnt pot and is a slang for fag in Japan. Okoge is the burnt rice stuck at the bottom of a burnt pot. Cruel huh?).

Gay GyaruO

Despite the rumors I rarely see gay gyaruo who are not working as gay hosts (and yes gay host bars exist). Since Kabukicho is close by when hosts walk by it’s hard to tell if they’re heading to Kabukicho from their host dorm/home around Nichome or if they’re actually in 2chome. I have seen two Oraora gay boys who seem couply who often go to nichome. But they are so tanned, when they talk the pink of their lips and gums just glows because they’ve turned as crispy as possible. I wanted it to be hot, but it wasn’t. There are a few, but much less and much less organized than the gyaru lesbians.

Gyaru lesbians and Dance parties

Gyaru lesbians mostly stick to their circles. However their are friends or pairs walking around as well. It’s obvious some work in Kabukicho either as hostesses/girlbars/massage because of their Agejo hair and dress preference, also they tend to show up after typical last train closing hours. There are gals who enjoy dressing in gyaruo style and one particular hottie has a nice giant VANQUISH belt to top off her gyaruo look.

One thing to note: Gay gyaru have no nails. If you don’t know why, then you don’t need to know why ^_^;;

If you go, do not expect to see a ton of lesbian gals roaming. I have seen 20 tops in Nichome.

Gals mostly show up to event nights. Girlfriend is the most popular and it’s at bar Hijouguchi which is head every last Saturday of the month. Hijouguchi has several other event nights including a gay electro night that is obscenely fun and a dandy event with great costumes (nothing like a guy with a nude colored speedo and gazelle horns on his head taking your money at the entrance).

You may run into b-gyaru Ikumi, who speaks fluent English. She and her b-gal posse are very nice.
Other event nights have fun things such as “speed dating” which is really nampa time (pick-up time). When you enter you are offered the choice of wearing a heart. This heart as a number and then you write your name on a heart and enter neko or tachi. Neko and tachi for gay male sex usually involve the giver and receiver, instead for Japanese lesbians Tachi means butch and Neko means femme (edit: corrected). It can also be a sexual term meaning active vs. passive during sex. Sexually there’s also the term Riba is short for ribaashiburu, meaning they can top or bottom for sex. Also, there’s a check box for if you’re looking for friends/lovers/both.
Then you dance the night away with a heart on your chest (make sure to keep it taped on, or bring a safety pin. They fall off often while you dance or push around people to move in the club). After the night is over you check your number’s envelope and see if you got messages. Or if you see a hottie, send them a message ^_^~
Events often have crappy music, but they’re still a fun event. One event night has four dancers that ride the 2 1/2 poles located throughout (the one half pole is from ceiling to bar). All the girls are skilled pole girls and they often have themed outfits. They also walk around and all identify themselves as lesbians so if you want to chat them up, feel free to. They’re quite nice. One of them, a Chinese girl, supposedly teaches pole dancing and she’s gotta be the best I’ve ever seen on a pole. Girl has skills and flexibility not often seen outside of Cirque de Soliel. It’s hella amusing to see the bulldyke types standing front row to poles to look at the girls. It looks like an actual strip club with pervert row that way <_<;;

All the girls at lesbian events are looking for people. Sure some come with friends and they’re not actively looking, but most come open.

Nichome is home to the most per-gaijin ratio I’ve seen outside of Roppongi (the famous foriegner club district). Sure sometimes you feel like you’re in a gaijin bubble, but that often means people in Nichome are more welcome to speaking and interacting with gaijin. So in a dating context many are open to foriegners. If not most of them go to small Japanese only bars (sure they’re bar doesn’t say no-foriegners, but they are usually holed away in tiny spaces which foriegners wouldn’t go looking for fun).

Recommended places:

So if you want to see and meet lesbian gyaru then only go on event nights. However, Shinjuku Nichome is fun on most weekends. Arty Fartys and Artys annex are both fun to go to (if not entirely way too packed from 1:00 to 4:00) and unless its an event, it only costs a drink which is usually 600 yen.

My peep’s favorite bar is Adezakura. Known for its giant double red doors, it’s near Arty’s Annex. It’s lesbian until 2:00 and then goes mixed. Jin runs the place and she’s both super nice, pours ample drinks, and enjoys gaijin in her place. She’ll also pull up any music you want to hear.

Rehab mostly weekends has happy hour which lasts from 8:00-10:00. It’s directly behind Sunklus in the alley up the stairs on the 2nd floor. There’s a signboard advertising it right below the place. It’s a new place, so not often that full. The happy hour is 1000 yen ($11.00 USD) and it’s all you can drink. Apparently they don’t do shots anymore, but if you ask for any alcohol on the rocks they’ll give it to you. So it’s essentially a shot <_< They also have couches and tons of gay photo books to either stare in awe or giggle at. Best to go in a group.

Me between club and bar, swinging in the park in Nichome.
What you never swung in Mar*s garters before? heheehe

As a note all of the pictures were found on Girlfriend website. I am definitely not trying to out those who don’t want to be outed.


  1. Goldenwolf
    January 4, 2010 / 11:15 pm

    It looks like you have a person on your back in the last picture kinda creepy!

    And this is a lot of interesting stuff I never really knew about gay-japan thank you for sharing! i love your blog!

  2. Mitsu
    January 4, 2010 / 11:20 pm

    LOL I guess that's what happens when swings + camera + two people + bad lighting. It's one of my favorite pics from Japan though. It was fun to able to act like a kid in a park enjoying simple things while still in gal clubwear <3

    January 5, 2010 / 12:59 am

    cute picture on the end!! but the two sets of legs do look freaky!!!

  4. megan
    January 5, 2010 / 2:30 am

    Though the information isn't really useful for me, this is a really informative post! Very nicely written too.

  5. Twinkle Magic Star
    January 5, 2010 / 4:37 am

    Very interesting post, I've often wondered about gay life in Japan!

  6. yuriyurichan
    January 5, 2010 / 1:46 pm

    ah love this post! so waited fo that!

    the nails the nails the nails !!!
    its so hilarious!! :3

    def gonna try a club.

    oh goood, and the heart speed dating idea is sooooo sweet :3333

    hothot garter pic btw :D

  7. Kat
    January 5, 2010 / 6:35 pm

    I was actually wondering about the nails! XD Thank you for answering that for me.

    This article was an interesting, good read. I already knew a bit about the gays in Japan thanks to cultural studies, but I was very curious about gays and lesbians on the Gyaru scene. I think it's interesting that they pair off with a butch and a femme since it's pretty much like that in my home town. Sucks for me because I like other girly girls. ;o;

    Anyway, I might be going for a short visit to Japan soon so I'm glad I know some fun places to go thanks to this blog. Thanks again!

  8. Lanna
    January 5, 2010 / 10:24 pm

    Cute photo at the end,you look very happy:)
    Interesting post too.

  9. vilemercury
    January 6, 2010 / 3:02 am

    Awesome article~! :DD
    I lawled at a bit of the "gay" Japanese terms on Wiki~ xD

  10. Brianna
    January 6, 2010 / 3:03 am

    Interesting post though it doesn't apply to me ^^ I'm just curious but do you have pics of gay gyaruo or the name of a gay host club/gyaruo club? I didn't think they existed to tell you the truth X). I'm just wondering because I have a gay friend and this would be interesting to explore if he came to Japan ever lol

    I really love your blog by the way. It's really informative and always interesting! :D

  11. Ligaya
    January 6, 2010 / 6:54 am

    This is very, VERY informative and educational. Brava! Thanks for this!

    Also, permission to share on Plurk (@ligayaharuka) and Twitter (@ligayadiwata), not on FB though I'm not sure I can turn off Twitter-MySpace connection for this particular post. Thanks again!

  12. Mitsu
    January 6, 2010 / 5:29 pm

    Brianna: None of clubs really have websites. A friend of mine works as a bar boy in one of the clubs (instead of a girl's bar) and he's not gyaruo at all, more just a young guy with a good smile. Most of the hosts though are not typical host style. Some do, but I find more to be regular looking. The most hosty host club is one on the 2nd floor across from Annex, I don't know the name since I've never been just see the more-host-type coming out of it sometimes. They are not like the hosts in Kabukicho and don't do catch. Instead they expect word of mouth to keep them going.

    There's more than that, but stay away from King of College. It's more a sex bar for guys for take-out sex.

  13. doll
    January 8, 2010 / 4:06 am

    Yuriyurichan wrote:

    oh, and what i wanted to ask,
    did you ever try that speeddating :D ?
    (friends/date/else) if so, how was it?

    oh,and what defines u as a neko? is it just the boyish looks or can it be as well your acting?
    like taking control/dominant (dunno how to better say in english?)
    ah, im really more than fan of the 2barbiedolls couple image =P lol

    Mitsu reply:

    I did as a gag. I felt a little bad doing it since I have a man and we’re very happy. I tried it, but my tag fell off dancing a minute later and it was lost. I was quite sad (which led me to recommend safety pins here >_< ;;). A friend of mine's stuck and she got a few notes ^_^

    Honestly I'm unsure. I think it is more s&m (not sadomasochism) but the control/dominant.

    • Nana
      February 7, 2010 / 11:30 am

      Neko = butch. Butchs generally have boy-ish style [not especialy gyaru, it’s in general. Do you meet Shane, of L word? She is a butch], but it’s not a real regret. What define it is one thing in special = butch are sexually actives, most of then are never passive, some of them are, rarely.
      Tachi = generally ‘normal’ and feminine girls, as called as ‘femmes’, in ocident. They can be passive osr active sometime, but with a butch, most times are the ‘sexually passive’.
      I LOVE this post. And the first pic, omg *-*

      • December 10, 2011 / 10:11 pm

        You got it wrong, hehe. Neko are the girly girls and tachi = butch. Such a pity they don’t usually do girly girls couples…

  14. doll
    January 8, 2010 / 5:12 am

    Ligaya: Sure! Please link to this article and not the one on the old website <3

  15. Abbie-Chan
    January 8, 2010 / 3:06 pm

    Wow, thank you so much for this article! As a gyaru who is very interested in the gay/lesbian/bisexual subculture in Japan, I found this article to be great and informative! I think the lesbian gyaru are adorable. <3

  16. silk
    February 8, 2010 / 12:01 pm

    That was very interesting to read, and, of course, informative. Thanks a lot~
    Gay photo books sounds interesting. Wanna see it, too :cry:. Actually, everything sounded so fun!

  17. March 30, 2010 / 3:13 pm

    Wow, I have to say I had no idea about the gay/lesbian scene in Japan, but this is incredibly interesting, and I have to say, i’m SO surprised how.. ‘segregated’ it all is?
    Nichome seems like a really fun place to go, I wanna go there when I’m in Japan (someday I hope XD)~

    Thanks for posting x

  18. April 6, 2010 / 10:30 pm

    omg. i love your blog so much! thank you. haha. i had fun reading a lot of your posts.

  19. Bibi.
    May 26, 2010 / 9:07 am

    Thanks for this interesting post! It’s really well-written and with lot of examples and attractive ideas.
    You do seem to enjoy youserlf in these places!^___^
    I intend to come back to Japan and as I’m lesbian, I would really like to try this kind of places!^^
    Are they really nice/easy places to get in even if you’re an alone foreigner? Cause I can understand the contrary of course: for most of foreigners, me included, have not a perfect japanese at all, and that scares me a little to try it in fact!^^;;
    Anyway Thank you so much for all your advices!

  20. tinkerbell
    June 30, 2011 / 7:28 pm

    Thank you so much for such an informative post! As a lesbian and an (aspiring) gal and a soon-to-be Japanese resident, this is really useful stuff!

  21. Yori
    July 15, 2014 / 10:54 am

    Thank you so much for this post, it has been really helpful for me since i’m a lesbian aspiring gal and want to go in Japan soon.
    I do have a question, about the nails. So yes, of course I understand why Lesbian Gyaru don’t have nails. But are they still considered as gyaru in the gyaru community ? What if, somehow a lesbian gal decides to get nails (not extreme)? Will other lesbian gals recognize her as a lesbian gyaru or a straight ? Is there lesbian gals with nails actually ? Thanx in advance for eventually an answer.

    • Mitsu
      July 21, 2014 / 2:40 pm

      It’s been a while since I’ve been to nichome and the presence of what totally visualizes as someone as gal has really gone done across Japan. All gay gals I knew didn’t have nails.

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