Interface Drama, Vol. 2: longing. Shows screenshots of different interfaces.

Hi, I'm CJ. I'm a bilingual nonbinary masc (they/them, he/they if you're nasty) guy who has lived in Japan for the past eight years. Four of those years have been out as a nonbinary person, and several months of those have been as a nonbinary guy taking testosterone.

You might have noticed that information in English on being transgender in Japan is limited to talking about the draconian laws Japan has for changing one's gender marker. As of writing, Japan is going through a monumental shift in law that, hoepfully, will both legalize same-sex marraige and gain broader acceptance for the trans community.

But what about visiting as a trans person? What about surviving—no—thriving here in Japan?

This guide is a compilation of questions I get from travelers to Japan and information from fellow queer and trans folks living here in Japan. It also pulls from Stonewall Japan's 2016 guide on being trans in Japan, written by my friend Skyler, and from Gabriel's personal blog (circa 2008) which is still used by trans men as a fashion guide.

Warning: this guide is heavy on the trans masc side as I identify this way. If you are an English-speaking trans woman/non-binary person who is actively taking estogen in Japan, please get in contact with me. I want different perspectives than my own.

I want to travel to Japan | I am living in Japan

For visitors

Is it safe to visit Japan as a trans person?

Yes. Believe me, you'll be clocked as foreign before you're clocked as trans. In you don't speak Japanese, most folks in major cities are tourist-friendly.

Hot springs are still highly-gendered, though. I recommend you book a kashikiri onsen if you want to visit hot springs, since this allows you and your partner(s) of any gender to exclusively use the hot spring for a certain period of time, without worrying about male/female or social norms.

Please read up on hot spring ettiquete in Japan before you go.

As a personal recommendation, Nyuto Onsen (乳糖温泉) and in particular Ganiba Onsen's Karakonoyu in Akita is mixed-gender. It's one of my favorite places to go to in Japan in winter.

Ni-chome in Shinjuku is Tokyo's LGBTQ district. Some places are strict about gender codes; others are not. Places that are English-friendly will be less strict about gender codes.

WAIFU, in fact, was made as an alternative space to GOLDFINGER, as some years ago they caused a stir in the trans community by barring a trans woman entry from a "women-only" party. The owner has since acknowledged her mistake, apologized, and changed the bar policy to include trans folks.


Toilets are pretty gendered here, so be aware of that. In Tokyo, there are "daredemo toilet" (universal toilets) but they are less common than gendered toilets. Cafés like Tully's, Starbucks, Komeda, Doutor and Excelsior in Tokyo typically have single-stall restrooms for those who are looking for a more private place to go. Make sure you buy a drink before you use the restroom, though.

For residents

According to a study by Asher & Lyric, Japan ranks 88 on the list of protections of employment, legal and medical trans rights.

What this means for residents:

  • 2's CABIN is an FTM bar. It has a location in Ni-chome (the annex) and a location outside of Ni-chome (the main bar). The bars are small and permit smoking inside. These bars are where I got the majority of my FTM medical info; folks are super friendly and happy to share. It's not uncommon to buy the staff a drink.
  • Thank you for your time, and we'll see you again this week!