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Japan is a universe unto itself—a tiny country that combines ancient history with unprecedented innovation. Our tour begins in Osaka then takes us to Kyoto (which is now technically part of Osaka, to give you a sense of the island’s density). After bowing to the friendly deer in Nara Park, we continue to Tokyo—the biggest megacity of them all. So grab your Hello Kitty backpack, choose your Pikachu, and loosen those stretchy pants…between the street food, cooking class, public markets and gourmet restaurants we’ll eat so much Japanese food it will be anything but kawaii.
Kon’nichiwa. Welcome to Osaka. And thank you for joining our gay Japan tour. Things kick off with a Group Meeting at 6PM where you can meet your guide and fellow travelers. After our Welcome Dinner you can make it an early night or grab a drink with the group at a local gay-friendly bar. Please note: an arrival transfer is not included in this itinerary, however detailed instructions for transportation to the hotel will be included in your trip documents.
For our first full day we’ll wake up to a morning tour of essential sights like Osaka Castle and Kuromon Ichiba—the local market that’s equally popular with top chefs, home cooks and tourists. Enjoy lunch on your own or with fellow travelers then rest up in the afternoon. Tonight we head to the neon lights of Dotonbori for a street food tour, where you may taste kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers), okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) and takoyaki (octopus balls).
Oh my Bambi—this might be the cutest start to any day. We’re off to Nara city, where you can ‘fawn’ over a thousand docile deer that live in its namesake park: the animals politely nod to request a treat, and are at ease with all their admirers. Here you’ll also find Todaiji—one of the Seven Great Temples of Buddhism—and Kasuga, the family shrine of the Fujiwara clan. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For lunch we’ll slurp savoury ramen noodles, then check out Nijō Castle. After checking into our new hotel a group dinner is included.
Today begins early with a taxi ride to Fushimi Inari, a shrine beloved for the hundreds of distinct red torii arches that line the main trails. Following breakfast back at the hotel more photo ops await. We’ll visit Arashiyama—the city’s towering bamboo grove—and three Buddhist temples: Tenryuji, Kinkakuji, and Kiyomizu-dera. In the afternoon we’ll wander through Gion, where we’ll look out for colourful geishas wandering through the narrow streets lined with traditional wooden merchant houses. Tonight you can make your own plans for dinner or join the larger group. Since we have a lazy morning tomorrow, why not check out Kyoto’s gay scene?
Grab brunch at your leisure —we don’t converge until 12:30PM for a samurai experience. You’ll learn about the warriors, dress up in costume, and even wield the traditional sword. Our last activity before an afternoon break will be Zen Meditation. Tonight we’ll go shopping at Nishiki market, then head to a cooking class to prepare our own dinner with some delicious sake.
Today we continue to Hakone on the Shinkansen, aka Japan’s bullet train. Why not enjoy a Bento Box for lunch onboard? Our only plan this afternoon is a walk through the Open Air Museum. With sculptures by Picasso and Henry Moore it lets you encounter art in a park-like setting. We’ll stay in a traditional ryokan inn tonight, where you can partake in a steamy onsen (a traditional Japanese hot spring/bathing experience). Please note: if you have tattoos that can’t be covered with a bandage or swimsuit/t-shirt, there is a chance you will be denied entry to the onsen.
We’re off to Tokyo with a stop at Lake Ashi en route. We’ll even ride on a colourful pirate boat. It gives excellent photo opportunities of Japan’s highest volcano: Mt Fuji. Once we arrive in the world’s biggest super city and check in to our hotel, consider joining us for an optional dinner in the Shinjuku entertainment district.
Today we are going to see some of the most impressive sights in Tokyo, so ensure your batteries are charged and you’re prepared for the madness. The Imperial Palace is where the Emperor resides, and is built on the site of the former Edo Castle. Asakusa is a more traditional neighbourhood, and walking through here gives one a sense of what Tokyo felt like a few years ago. If you want to join us for an optional ramen lunch, nothing beats a bowl in authentic Japanese surroundings. Finally, after tonight’s dinner in Shinjuku, we’ll enjoy a gay sake bar tour.
For our gay Japan tour’s final full day, we’ll take Tokyo’s wonderfully efficient public transportation to visit the Meiji Shrine, set amidst a 70-hectare forest. From here we can wander through colourful and cute Harajuku, and see the madness of Shibuya, an entertainment and business district that’s home to the world’s two busiest train stations. Our Farewell Dinner tonight marks the official end of this historic tour. All we can say is Doumo Arigatou!
As the last day of our tour, no activities are planned and you may depart at your leisure. Please note: a departure transfer is not included, but your group leader will provide clear instructions to get to the airport of choice.
My husband and I went on the Out Adventures – Japan tour for our honeymoon and it was fantastic. We had never traveled out of the country before, and Robert and his team handled our 1,000 questions with the patience of saints. Their documentation and organization made the process simple and painless. Once we arrived, we were blown away. Japan is a truly a beautiful country. After we met with our group and our helpful and sweet guide, Joe, we were off on our adventure. Before we knew it, were eating prawns the size of our forearms in a street market in Osaka, finding our inner peace in a Zen garden in Kyoto, watching the sun rise over the mountains in a traditional Japanese onsen, to bar hoping in Tokyo. It was a marvelous trip. The lodgings were fantastic, the food was excellent and we visited so many beautiful sites that our phones ran out of room for photos. We cannot recommend this trip enough!
Japan may be a tiny island easily traversed by solo travellers. But cracking into the local culture and grasping a deep understanding of the notoriously shy Japanese people is, well, a challenge. Enter Joe, our handsome new Japan guide.Read More
Japan has a fascinating homosexual history, from open-minded Buddhists to promiscuity, alleged sex cults, and even Gay Samurai.Read More
Stefan Arestis, co-founder of the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys, joins our hosts on today’s super kawaii Tokyo episode.Read More
Japanese customs are notoriously complex. To avoid ruffling feathers, we’ve put together a cheat sheet for travellers visiting The Land of the Rising Sun.Read More
Today’s Gay Travel Podcast episode discusses the pros and cons of travelling solo or with a friend/group.Read More
Struggles with body image can turn little gay holidays into big mental marathonsRead More
Landlocked Laos offers a taste of Southeast Asia as it once was. Learn about our favourite gay experiences in this unique destination below.Read More
The Tourism Board of Thailand’s new LGBT campaign isn’t just an example of sticky fingers. Here’s why the country is a true LGBT ally.Read More
While these trips typically attract gay men, all genders are welcome, and we encourage friends and family to join the fun as well.Learn More
All accommodations on Out Adventures tours include breakfast and are located in areas central to our activities. All amenities are examples only, and may differ from hotel to hotel.
Please Note: Hotel rooms in Japan are very small, so expect very little extra space. Solo travellers sharing a twin room should expect fairly tight quarters.
4-Star Hotels: Very comfortable and well-decorated rooms along with quality amenities such as a stylish restaurant and/or bar, a fitness centre, and a pool/sauna. Customer service is very good, and there is usually a concierge.
3-Star Hotels: Very comfortable and simple rooms along with amenities such as a restaurant and/or bar. Customer service is very good, and there is usually a concierge.Learn More
This trip is fully booked but cancellations occur. If you’d like to be contacted if space opens up, please click “Book Now”, select the appropriate departure and you will be prompted to provide limited information.
If you are a solo traveller willing to share a room with another solo traveller, please select Shared/Twin Room when booking this tour.
If you are a solo traveller interested in booking a private room, please select single supplement when booking this tour (based on availability). If you are willing to share a room with another solo traveller, please select Solo Shared.
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