Newcomers to Japan often dream about visiting the neon-filled metropolis of Tokyo, but if you’re an LGBTQ traveler looking for a more laid-back, scenic mixture of old-world and modern-day Japan, Kyoto is the city to visit, and the Hotel Granvia Kyoto is the best place to stay.
Connected to the train station, Hotel Granvia Kyoto sits in the heart of the city, within reach of its bustling nightlife, the historic Gion District and an array of breathtaking temples and castles — a total of 17 World Heritage Sites — all nestled within the bamboo-thicketed hillsides.
The hotel itself offers modern elegance and convenience, with a plethora of restaurants and bars, fitness facilities and numerous day tours. You can go antiquing in Kyoto’s artisan shops, explore the world of the geisha (old-world Japanese courtiers) or even spend the day as a ninja.
The hotel became noted among LGBTQ travelers back in 2006 when it became the very first hotel in Japan to join the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, IGLTA, the world’s largest organization dedicated to LGBTQ tourism. Now all of the hotel’s concierge staff wear rainbow pins on their uniforms so that their support of LGBTQ guests is visible to all. When the hotel is made aware that a same-sex couple is visiting, they are greeted with a rainbow paper crane as a welcome gift.
The Hotel Granvia Kyoto also became world-famous in 2014 as the first hotel in Japan to officially announce its hosting of same-sex weddings. Included in the hotel’s gay wedding package is a ceremony at the historical Shunkoin Temple, traditional kimono wedding attire, a customized floral bouquet with a touch of Japanese elegance and a reception dinner at Shiokoji Rakusui, the hotel’s private restaurant.
The hotel was also the first in the nation to put up a gender-inclusive bathroom sign in its lobby bathroom as a way of welcoming transgender guests. Other hotels in Japan have since followed suit.
So whether you’re visiting Japan for the first time or returning to enjoy Kyoto in an up-close-and-personal way, there’s no other hotel in Japan that offers such a perfect respite for relaxation and romance than the Hotel Granvia Kyoto.