Osaka

Gay Osaka Osaka Travel guide

Curation by Yasmina Rodríguez, words by Laura Tucker

Rather more laid-back than Tokyo’s samurai citizens and boasting a cosmopolitan vibe not found in Kyoto is the criminally underrated merchant city of Osaka. Awaiting under an endless skyline pulsing with neon and blown through with cherry blossom, you’ll discover ancient temples, towering futuristic constructs and more street food than you can shake a Yakitori skewer at. The warm, quirky personalities in Osaka will have you spellbound, particularly behind the Kabuki Theatre in Namba and within the niche nightlife offerings of Doyama. As well as the bears, twinks and salarymen that frequent Osaka’s cabin-sized bars, the Kansai Rainbow Parade and Queer Film Festival are annual events uniting Osaka’s most open-minded people. While face culture means gay rights issues are not often discussed in Japan, the live and let live attitude of locals makes Osaka an inviting destination for gay travellers. Wondering about what to do in Osaka? Make you trip one to remember with our curated Osaka gay city guide.

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The best hotels in Osaka

Opening our Osaka gay travel guide is a selection of the finest hotels in the city. Five stars all the way is Conrad Osaka, centrally located near Higobashi Station. With stunning views across the city, Conrad Osaka positively drips with decadence, home to exceptional facities, including a spa, wellness centre and a heated indoor pool. You’ll never go hungry either, because there are four dining options at the Conrad; Atmos for European and Asian fusion, KURA for teppanyaki and sushi, C:Grill for seafood and, most importantly, the 40 Sky Bar and Lounge up on the 40th floor for cocktails and nibbles. Another stunner, this time in the Osaka Bay district, is Sakishima Cosmo Tower Hotel. Supplying all the home comforts you could ask for, the serene location of the hotel is its key feature, three kilometres from Tempozan Ferris Wheel and 10 kilometres from Universal Studios.

Despite the challenge of stuttering this one to your taxi driver after one to many sake cocktails, Waqoo Shitaderamachi remains an exceptional choice for its quintessentially Japanese design and convenient location. Situated in Tennoji, just minutes from Tsutenkaku and Shinsekai, a stay at Waqoo is also a lesson in Japanese culture and hospitality, providing traditional tea service, air purifiers in each room and a restaurant serving Buddhist vegetarian cuisine.

Back towards the central Chuo neighbourhood, moments from the glittering Dotonbori River and the ‘America Village’ shopping district, lies HOTEL THE FLAG Shinsaibashi. Gratefully staffed with multi-lingual locals and all the usual amenities, HOTEL THE FLAG stands out for its flawless design that delivers muted modern elegance. Also in Chuo, just two kilometres from Shinsekai, is Residential Hotel HARE Kuromon providing something a little more homely. With a traditional Japanese garden and jutting roof crowning its slated entrance, a stay here will have you feeling like you are in a Miyazaki animation, at home in a new world.

Photo: Alex Block

Photo: Alex Block

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