↑ Return to Fukuoka City

Gay/Lesbian Fukuoka

Whether you’re a full-fledged family member or just looking to explore a different segment of the society, Fukuoka does have some bars catering to the queer community.

Gay bars are concentrated on a street block in Sumiyoshi [map], an area located roughly between Canal City and Tenjin. Leave your preconceptions at home; in Sumiyoshi, you won’t find any huge dance clubs or DJs.

Rather, you’ll find small, everyday Japanese-style bars, the only obvious difference being the lack of women. Expensive drinks, sexual-innuendo snacks and loud karaoke is the standard fare here. Certain bars cater to certain types of people, with distinctions varying from hair length to age group.

Being a foreigner, you might not feel at home anywhere, but enter with an open attitude and the locals will embrace you.

Sumiyoshi is easily accessible on foot from Hakata Station. From the Hakata-guchi exit, walk straight towards the main street ahead of you. Turn left and walk to the end of the block, passing the large Hakata Post Office on your left. Cross the intersection and turn right onto Sumiyoshi- dori. Walk straight away from Hakata, with ANA Hotel across the street on your right. You’ll come to a Royal Host restaurant; walk straight, take the third left, and you’ve arrived at the heart of Fukuoka’s gay community.

Gay Fukuoka

Overall is a great place to start your night. One of the first bars on the right hand side of the street with friendly bartenders that are used to foreign faces. Beers 900 yen but include karaoke. Maps of the area’s bars are available.

Dai-Dai is half a block down and is a rather large, dimly lit venue. Things get packed for Saturday’s Gay Bingo around midnight. Prizes range from your very own keep of shochu, to “articles” which will make it difficult to play bingo with a straight face back in school.

Shichimencho, further down on the left, is a popular spot where the arrival of a gaijin might cause the customers to suddenly become preoccupied with their keitai, but the staff will treat you like one of the guys.

Bayolooks like an insurance office, but inside you’ll find welcoming staff and a bar that caters to guys on the chubby side. A very friendly spot, towards the end of the street on the left.

One final note: Most of the bars have their own sports team composed of regulars. If you become a frequent face you could be invited to their next game, be it soccer, rugby or badminton. You’ve been warned!

Lesbian Fukuoka

Fukuoka’s lesbian scene may bring about some surprising introductions as well. From girly-girls with high heels and short skirts to gender-ambiguous dykes, Fukuoka has it all. Since alternative sexualities are typically closeted in Japan, there’s not much sense of gay pride and it’s often difficult to find out what’s going on in the community. Check out the bars listed below and you’ll discover that Fukuoka actually does have a thriving, if somewhat small, lesbian scene.

@Home is for karaoke enthusiasts! You’ll be greeted by the @Home toy dog, no doubt wearing one of its many cute outfits. The staff speaks some English. On Thursdays men are allowed if accompanied by a lovely lady. Four times a year this bar hosts a night for queer ladies over the age of 30. The 1000-yen seating charge includes one drink, usually 600-700 yen. From the Apple store on Nishi-dori turn right. Walk past Mos Burger and the Core 21 sign. @Home is on the 4F above 7- Eleven on the left. Tue-Sun 8pm-2am. Oka Bldg 4F, 1 2-18-13 Kego, Chuo-ku. Tel 092-733-6555. http://www.h7.dion.ne.jp/%7Eat_home/

Doez Dose is a gay-friendly bar that is open to anyone and everyone. One of the only places in the city visually displaying their gay pride, the chic interior is decorated with rainbow flags and other trinkets. The owner speaks English and the bar has popular English queer magazines, papers and books for your perusal. They also host an annual Queer Film Festival, women’s weekends and have a float in the Hakata Dontaku festival. Once a month they hold a discussion group for sexual minorities of any age, providing a safe and supportive environment for the LGTBQ community. 300-yen seating charge and drinks 750-1100 yen. From the KFC on Nishi-dori continue straight towards the Apple store. Turn left at the 7-Eleven near the Diesel store. Doez Dose is in the basement of the building on the right-hand corner. 6pm-4am. Tel 092-752-3600. http://room38k.kir.jp/Doez-Dose/ top.html

There are also semi-regular club nights usually held on Sundays. These events are advertised at the bars listed above, or you can check out the CRUSH girls’ website at http://ip.tosp.co.jp/ i.asp?i=crush06