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Besides bars, the area is also home to restaurants and cafes, shops, saunas, hotels, "host bars" (bars where patrons can meet hustlers), massage parlours, and brothels of varying sizes and legality. Establishments vary in size, but many are limited to ten or fewer seats.
The Doyama SceneEdit
Much like in Tokyo, bars here are usually themed towards "types" - bears, salarymen, young guys etc. Many of the gay bars in Doyama do not permit female customers. The few lesbian bars that can be found do not permit male customers. Mixed venues are few.
At most bars in this area, patrons usually sit at a counter and chat with the bartender. Karaoke is also popular, and gay monthly and pornographic magazines can be read at many establishments as well. Those who visit these small bars are usually regulars; since many bars operate on the bottle-keep system, many customers may have their own bottle at their favourite bar. Loyalty to bars is returned by the bars organizing outings to onsen, hanami parties, picnics, gay sporting events, and so on. Many bars maintain large photo albums of customers, for customers, often taken at such events.
While most bar owners ("Mamas" or "Masters") are accommodating to new customers and to non-Japanese, the scene is largely geared towards regular, Japanese-speaking customers, and some venues discourage or prohibit non-Japanese from entering, regardless of their Japanese language abilities. A handful of establishments, in contrast, specifically target foreigners with advertising and information in English. These include Bar Physique and FrenZ Bar. While most bars have a cover charge system, these do not. Frenz is the only gay bar in Osaka owned and operated by a foreigner. They have also recently opened a dance bar, called [FrenZY], in the same building.
With the advent of the internet and less segregation, Doyama is seeing a downturn in visitors. While weekends are busy, foreign visitors should not expect the same numbers as one would expect in a city of this size in the West.
While Tokyo and Sapporo have been the site of numerous gay pride parades over the past decade, Osaka has lagged in this regard. Finally, October 22, 2006 saw the inaugural Rainbow Parade, with more than 900 participants marching from Nakanoshima Park to Motomachi-Naka Park, near Namba Station. The second Rainbow Parade took place on October, 28 2007, with organizers reporting approximately 1300 participants. The next parade will take place in October, 2008.
Mash (Men and Sexual Health Osaka) organize a yearly event called PLus+ promoting aids awareness. Taking place in Ogimachi Park, close to the Doyama area, there is entertainment and drinks available. Organisers etimate more than 10,000 people participated in the 2007 event.
In 2008, the event falls on Sunday, October 12.
- Gay rights in Japan
- Homosexuality in Japan
- Shinjuku ni-chōme, Tokyo
- Gay Japan News
- List of LGBT events
- GayJapanNews Bilingual
- Rainbow Parade homepage (Japanese)
- Tokyo Lesbian Wrestling
- NHK TV programme Haato o Tsunago- Gay & Lesbian
- Mash Plus
- Gay Japan in Gayving