Thousands marched in Tokyo this weekend as Japan kicked off its first Rainbow Week, which aims to reach out to LGBT people in the country.

Organisers of the parade estimated that 12,000 people took place in the parade on Sunday, the first in a week of events in a programme which runs until 6 May.

Organiser Hiroko Masuhara, 35, said: “This is our first attempt to link up with many groups” of sexual minorities. “The parade is a symbolic event in the Rainbow Week programme.”

Koyuki Higashi, 28, and Hiroko became the first gay couple to get married at Tokyo Disney last month, undeterred by a lack of legal recognition for same-sex partnerships in Japan.

They married in a Christian-style ceremony attended by park employees dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, along with 30 friends.

“We have an impression that we are seeing more women and various nationalities of people participating in our parade in recent years,” she said.

In a country where homosexuality is still a taboo, and saw its first openly gay politician elected last year, their wedding was greeted with enthusiasm by local gay people and activists.

Gay porn star Masaki Koh tweeted ms Higashi to say: “Your wonderful wedding will bring inspiration and hope to many people who still hesitate to take the first step. I was also encouraged that Tokyo Disney Resort was so understanding.”

Tokyo Disney said that it would allow gay couples to hold weddings in its grounds, following a Walt Disney Company policy that has been in place since 2007.