November 20, 2018
by Ema Maeda
According to a survey by the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Research Institute in 2016, LGBT accounts for about 8% of the total population. Based on estimate, about 1.92 million people or 8% of the 24 million foreign tourists, 1.92 million people, traveling to Japan in 2016 can be inferred to be LGBT people. It is considered that Japan has many attraction: high quality services like facilities, culture, tradition, arts and foods and those potential make it one of the leading tourist destination in the world attracting LGBT travelers. This article will help LGBT guests to feel comfortable with a stay in Kyoto. This article introduces you to Hotel Granvia Kyoto and Rinn.
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
This hotel directly connects to JR Kyoto Station, “Hotel Granvia Kyoto” boasts outstanding convenience in because it is easy to access anywhere you go. Guests arrive through a modern entrance which stands out for its sophistication and proceed to their rooms, which are perfect for adults to relax and spend time while visiting Kyoto. Since 2006, it has become a member of IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association / International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) that supports tourism of LGBT, and it is said to be a pioneer of the Japan traveling industry. Currently, Ms. Shiho Ikeuchi, director of Hotel Granvia Kyoto Sales Promotion Office, serves as Japan Ambassador for IGLTA.
They do not have a special plans for accommodation, but if a LGBT couple identifies themselves as such in advance, they will put a welcome message with folded cranes of 6 colors, and for customers who stay on anniversaries, they will prepare a pink heart cake. However, these will only be available as requested by the LGBT couple in advance.
Also, in autumn of 2015, they changed the sign of the universal toilet in the lobby to the notation “Gender Neutral Bathroom” so that the transgender can use the toilet without hesitation. It is a so-called “anyone’s toilet” sign, but this is the first installation as a domestic hotel in Japan.
The Rinn hotel group has 35 hotels in Kyoto. These hotels all welcome LGBT guests. These hotels are a type of Machiya, traditional wooden townhouses that are long (deep) and narrow, and so tourists can experience “only-in-Kyoto”. The hotel management wants their guests to experience the daily life of old Kyoto. Toward that end, they have tried to recreate rooms that capture the spirit of ancient Kyoto, but with modern amenities.
On January 10, 2018, all members of the staff in Rinn group learned the Hotel Granvia Kyoto’s services and manners for LGBT and prepared for acceptance of these guests.
Guests can rent a single Machiya, which is a bungalow, unconnected to other guests, so that you can stay without having to worry about other guests or surroundings.
Inside the hotel, there is a sign that offers a friendly welcome to LGBT guests, and all hotel staff are well-trained so they are always concerned not to be rude to LGBT people.
Lastly, Kyoto are really trying to be open-minded to the LGBT community, Kyoto city supports “diversity response” which accepts various tourists such as Muslim and LGBT, “marketing survey” using AI and IoT (Internet of things), and also supports aiming at foreign tourists improvement of satisfaction and support for strengthening capture of inbound demand throughout the city. Other services that Granvia began with the temple of Rinzai sect in Kyoto City, Shunkouin and handling of LGBT’s wedding plan for foreigners began in this April. Because gay marriage is not approved in Japan, it is said that there are many inquiries from overseas with a package of 7,700 yen for 2 people with wedding expenses and transfer, rental of costumes.
Hopefully, LGBT tourists can feel relaxed and welcome when they visit Kyoto and increase more services which focus on these people.