In this week’s report we take a look at what the dating scene is like here in Tokyo and some places and ways to meet new people around town. We’ll also explore some Japanese dating traditions you may be interested in trying, and give advice for those serious about meeting the one.
Tokyo is a city that never sleeps and you’ll find there’s something on every night. If you want to meet new people head to places where you have to stand up and mingle. Some popular choices in Roppongi include Feria in the Grace building, 57, Geronimo Shot Bar, and Heartland.
Stacy Powell, Freelance Actress in Tokyo
For nightlife, here are few places I recommend. If you are a jazz fan, The New York Grill at the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku. It’s a little high-priced but worth it if you are looking for good music. The Roppongi Grand Hyatt is also nice, and is a little bit more mellow (compared to the Park Hyatt). We are at Roppongi Midtown’s A971, which has become a hot spot for meeting new people in the last year. I also recommend Fujimamas in Omotesando/Harajuku for something more low-key. They do every kind of event, from wine parties to beer tastings and Hawaiian Luaus. This is a great way to meet new people and network in Tokyo.
Speed dating is another option, if you’re after more than just a friend. The benefit of these mini dates is that each is only 5 minutes long. If the person is not your type you won’t have to worry about awkward lulls in conversation and can move on with your evening.
The Tokyo Speed Dating group run speed dating events on the first and third Saturday of the month at the Quest in Roppongi (at the time of writing, check website for up-to-date information). Over the course of the evening each person gets 15 or more 5-minute mini dates for the price of ¥3,500.
Ricky, Owner/Event Organizer, Tokyo Gaijins
We don’t want to have only Japanese (and no foreign) girls joining the Tokyo Gaijins singles party. I try to have at least 10 foreign women attending. We don’t want the typical Japanese-women-and-white-foreign-men-only singles party. We charge ¥3000, which includes 2 drinks, unlimited tequita shots and pizza.
If you prefer to specify your taste in a mate, try taking out a classified ad online or in your local magazine. The classified section of Metropolis, a free weekly English magazine, offers free ad space for singletons of all persuations.
If you want to try something different, take out a podcast personals. Call the Tokyo Metpod at 050-5532-5874 (in Japan), leave a message about yourself, what kind of person you’re looking for and your contact information, and when they on-air your ad, listeners who like what they hear can contact you.
Internet dating site Match.com is a way to find that special someone within the privacy of your own home. Late on love? Don’t fret–over half of the 840,000 Match.com Japan members are aged between 30-39 years old.
Japan also has its own methods of bringing potential couples together, for example through a gokon or an omiai kekkon (arranged marriage) party.
A gokon, which is a kind of group date, is a casual night out where an equal number of guys and girls get together to drink, eat and socialize in a relaxed environment. The organisers, who are often colleagues or friends, invite suitable people to join. The night often begins with casual dining and if things go well, things may proceed to round two – the nijikai – and involve a few tunes at karaoke or dancing. The idea is for the sparks to fly between at least some of the members of the small group.
Arranged marriage may be a bit too traditional for many, but it is still practiced in some circles in Japan. If you’re in the city and serious about getting hitched, there’s always the option of an omiai kekkon party – an arranged marriage party.
Similar to speed dating, an omiai party is for serious marriage contenders.
Japanese women can join a “celebrity omiai party,” where men from well-paid professions, such as doctors, lawyers, or pilots, attend. The Japanese Nakodo Association offers “high class” parties, where your income determines whether you can join or not. In addition, if you are a man, the older you are, the more you have to pay to join. Women don’t get off easy either and need a college education to take part.
People can shop around for which omiai party style suits them, whether by age, income or profession. Attendees are typically Japanese but some parties introduce foreigners, of both genders, to those looking for an international spouse. There are also a number of websites offering marriage introductions, such as Meet Japan Lady and Transpacific Marriage Agency both of which are focused on matching foreign men with Japanese women who are looking for long-term commitment.
Whether you are looking to have fun, make new friends or find a life-long partner, remember not get too caught up in common misconceptions about dating in Japan.
It’s been said that if you are a foreigner in Tokyo, it’s the best place to be a single male and one of the worst places to be a single female. All in all I think people who come here come back several times in their life because they fall in love with the city.
It’s been said that if you’re a foreigner here in Tokyo…probably the best place if you’re a guy…worst place for women…exceptions to the rule… come back because they fall in love with the city.”
To learn more about these events and more, check out our events page.
Quotes may have been slightly altered for print. For the accurate quotations, please refer to the video.
Story by Karryn Cartelle
All Rights Reserved, Spinshell Inc.
Spinshell Reports are three minute episodes of useful information about visiting and living in Japan.
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