Kinswomyn: The End Of An Era


Recently I was sad to learn that one of the better known women only bars in Shinjuku’s Nichome district will be closing its doors in February of 2014. This is sad for many more reasons than just the fact that it’s my favourite bar in the area. Kinswomyn is listed in most major guide books, such as the Time Out guide to Tokyo, so it is always full of visitors of from around the world, and you can meet some real characters on most nights that you go. Another great thing about the bar is that it attracts a clientele of all ages and welcomes members of the trans community, unlike some of the other establishments. Here’s a map of the location for those too lazy to google.


A huge poster of the first season of the L word signed by Jennifer Beals stands proudly in the corner.

The bar was founded almost 20 years ago by Tara, who I never had a chance to meet. She ran it for 10 years before passing the torch to the current owner, Tomo, whose 10th anniversary in charge is also coming up. Tomo has decided that this milestone was a good time to try something new. It’s pretty sad that there will be no one else taking over the bar, but there are still some time to enjoy it before it closes. The bar was visited by actresses Jennifer Beals and Kate Moennig when they were in Tokyo promoting the first season of the L Word. If you ask the bar staff, there’s a little photo album commemorating this.


The bar has no cover charge (You don’t have to pay an entry fee. Most bars in Japan have it.), and drinks are around 700 or 800 yen for alcoholic drinks and a little less for soft drinks. They also offer a selection of snacks that vary in price, but there are sometimes complimentary nibbles. It is a cozy venue that sits around 12-15 people, although I’ve seen many more crammed into the place when there was an event going on.  There’s no karaoke, so your ears won’t be assaulted by drunken off-key crooning, and the music is mainly remixes of current Western pop artists, although they have a selection of CDs so maybe if you ask nicely they might change it for you. There’s also a little TV that usually plays the L Word or concert footage of pop stars like Pink, Namie Amuro and many others.


Tomo and I

The bar will have its 20th anniversary party this Saturday the 19th, and a Halloween party the Saturday after (26th). Come along and make the last few months at Kins the ones to remember.


2 comments on “Kinswomyn: The End Of An Era

  1. That’s so sad to read. I was initially thinking if I should drop by or not since arriving in Tokyo this week. All my lesbian friends are out of town and I really don’t wanna go alone, not knowing Nihongo. But now that they’re closing, I’ll definitely drop by in the next days, alone or not. Thanks for the info! 🙂

  2. […] chome and making networking affordable for women in Tokyo. For more background on Kins, check out this blog from our Block 3 rep. We wish the owners and staff of KinsWomyn good luck in their future […]

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