Photo By: queeralbum_kms
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Osaka
Population
8,804,806

Kansai Rainbow Festa

Good food, good people and a fun-loving atmosphere... exactly what the region is known for.

  • 2018: Oct. 6-7. The parade starts at 1 p.m. on the 7th.
The people of Osaka are always looking for a reason to party and what better way to ring in the fall season — a time when nature itself turns various shades of the spectrum — than a celebration of pride? Since 2006, the gray concrete metropolis gets painted rainbow once a year to celebrate the Kansai Rainbow Festa.

Osaka is one of Japan’s few places where a prominent [LGBTQ] movement is on the come up.

Osaka is one of Japan’s few places where a prominent lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer movement is on the come up. Doyama, the Kansai region’s gay district, is located near the Osaka’s central business hub and Osaka was the first city in Japan to allow same-sex couples to foster children. However, both the city and the nation have a long way to go when it comes to the recognition and rights of the LGBT community.

Kansai Rainbow festa

Photo by: HOTEL GRANVIA KYOTO Rainbow goodies from the 2017 event.

Kansai Rainbow Festa & parade

The Kansai Rainbow Festa, one of the biggest of its kind in Japan, is an all-day (and sometimes weekend-long, depending on the year) event helping to bring acceptance and awareness. Plus, it’s a great time. The event was initially deemed the Kansai Rainbow Pride Parade (like the Tokyo pride event each spring) and simply featured a spirited march from beautiful Nakanoshima to the busy Namba. Bystanders looked on with a mixture of confusion and curiosity at this flamboyant and unusual display of queerness in a country where such a thing isn’t hated so much as not flaunted or even really discussed.

What started with several hundred participants now welcomes almost 5,000 annually and takes place in Ogimachi Park. The yearly march both starts and ends in the park, with performances and events before and afterward. Paraders show off by strutting down the famous Tenjinbashisuji shopping street and shakin’ it by popular amusement center HEP 5 in Umeda.

Photo by: Rainbow Festa Executive Committee Join the fest every fall in Osaka.

Anyone can join the parade, which had over 700 participants in 2017. Paraders dress in drag, wear colorful wigs, sport rainbow-colored accessories and carry signs. There is a zone for those who don’t want to be photographed, though the number of people who opt for this area grows smaller every year. To join the parade all you have to do is show up on the day itself.

In addition to the parade at Kansai Rainbow Festa, there are performances, food stalls and information booths. Local establishments like lesbian bar WaaGwaan serves up vegan food. Hotel Granvia Kyoto hosts a same-sex marriage consultation booth and others offer legal help, job hunting advice, information about gay travel and lessons in sign language about LGBT topics.

Editor’s note: GaijinPot Travel launched its LGBT travel section in 2018. If you’d like to contribute articles/photos, please contact victoria@gplusmedia.com.

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Things To Know

Fees

Participation in the event is totally free!

2018 event

This year’s celebration is Oct. 6 and 7, 2018. For updates on the yearly event, please check their official website: http://rainbowfesta.org or their facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/rainbowfesta.kansai/). Both are in Japanese.

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒530-0025 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Kita-ku, Ōgimachi, 2 Chome−1−7

By train

Ogimachi Park is located on the north end (Kita) of Osaka City. Take the Sakaisuji (brown) line on the Osaka Metro to Ogimachi station or take the JR Osaka Loop line to Tenma station and walk about three minutes. The park is easy to spot thanks to the unique Kansai TV building located on site.

Where To Stay

Hotel Daiki
  • Kita-ku Tenjinbashi 4-9-5 Osaka-Shi, Osaka 530-0041
  • 7.8/10
  • 0.1 km
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