Dating in Japan as a Foreigner | A Guide to Sites & Culture

Beal Cathy
11 min readJan 23, 2024
Dating in Japan as a Foreigner

Dating in Japan is a unique and complex cultural experience for both locals and foreigners. Japanese dating customs often involve a more formal and traditional approach, with an emphasis on respect, politeness, and modesty.

Many Japanese people use dating sites and apps to meet potential partners. These platforms allow users to connect based on interests, values, and goals, and often involve a more serious commitment than casual dating. In addition to online dating sites, many people attend matchmaking parties or “konkatsu” events, where they can meet potential partners in a more structured and supervised setting.

For foreigners interested in dating in Japan, it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions, and to be open to the different dating dynamics that may exist. Understanding the nuances of Japanese dating culture can help navigate relationships and make meaningful connections in this unique and fascinating society.

Online dating in Japan: The most popular dating apps and sites

In recent years, online dating has become increasingly popular in Japan, with many people turning to dating apps and sites to find a bride, love, friendship, or casual relationships.

As technology continues to play a significant role in connecting people, online dating apps have become a convenient way for individuals to meet potential partners.

In this article, we will explore the most popular dating websites in Japan, providing an overview of their features, user base, and how they have impacted the dating scene in the country.

Whether you’re a local resident or a foreigner looking to connect with Japanese women, these platforms offer a diverse range of options to meet and interact with a like-minded Japanese partner.

From traditional matchmaking to modern swiping, the world of online dating in Japan continues to evolve, and the following information will guide you through the landscape of digital romance in the Land of the Rising Sun.

SakuraDate

SakuraDate

SakuraDate is a new dating website for Asian women and men who want to date them. It focuses on serious relationships and marriage. The user base is rapidly growing. Now, it’s 170K monthly visitors. This website has the potential to become a leading platform in the online dating market for this niche.

It has paid features, such as sending letters, audio & video messaging, Say Hello feature etc. There’s no SakuraDate app at the moment, but the website is mobile-friendly.

EasternHoneys

EasternHoneys

EasternHoneys is a leading online dating platform launched in 2019, specializing in connecting individuals with Asian partners for meaningful relationships. The website offers a user-friendly interface, making it easy for members to navigate the platform and find potential matches.

With its advanced communication tools, members can easily connect with others through messaging, video calls, and more.

One of the key features of EasternHoneys is its extensive database of verified profiles, ensuring that members can browse and connect with genuine individuals. This added security and authenticity make it a trusted platform for those seeking a serious relationship with an Asian partner.

Whether looking for love, companionship, or marriage, EasternHoneys provides a safe and reliable space to meet like-minded individuals from Asian backgrounds.

EasternHoneys is a great option for those interested in finding a partner from Asia, offering a user-friendly interface, advanced communication tools, and a large database of verified profiles.

OKCupid Japan

OKCupid Japan offers a unique dating experience with its intricate profile-building process, allowing users to showcase their personality, interests, and values in great detail. The platform’s personality matching system uses scientific algorithms to match users based on shared interests and personality traits, increasing the likelihood of finding meaningful connections.

One of the standout features of OKCupid Japan is its availability and inclusivity for the LGBT community. Users can specify their gender and orientation, and the app offers options for a diverse range of identities, making it a safe space for everyone to connect and explore relationships.

The app’s scientific algorithms analyze responses to in-depth personality questions, determining compatibility on a deeper level. This ensures that matches are based on more than just physical attraction, leading to more meaningful and long-lasting connections.

For those looking to find genuine connections in Japan, OKCupid provides a platform with a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to matchmaking, making it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a more meaningful dating experience.

Tips for using dating sites in Japan for foreigners

  1. Choose the right dating site: Look for dating sites that have a good reputation in Japan and cater to a diverse range of users, including foreigners.
  2. Create an attractive and effective profile.
  3. Include photos that reflect your interest in Japanese culture.
  4. Learn some Japanese: While not mandatory, knowing a few Japanese phrases can show your interest in the culture and make it easier to communicate with potential matches.
  5. Understand cultural differences: Be aware of Japanese dating customs and etiquettes, such as the importance of respect, punctuality, and indirect communication.
  6. Be respectful: Show respect towards the Japanese culture and traditions, and be mindful of your behavior and language when interacting with potential dates.
  7. Be open-minded: Understand that dating norms and expectations might differ in Japan, so it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to learn and adapt.
  8. Emphasize qualities such as punctuality and cultural understanding to show that you are a good match for potential Japanese partners.

Offline dating in Japan for foreigners

Offline dating in Japan for foreigners can be challenging due to cultural differences and language barriers. Japanese society places a strong emphasis on traditional values and manners, which can make it difficult for foreigners to navigate dating customs and expectations.

The language barrier can make it challenging to communicate effectively and build meaningful connections. Foreigners may also face potential prejudice or discrimination because of their nationality or race.

Despite these challenges, there are opportunities to meet and connect with Japanese people through social events, language exchange groups, or dating apps specifically designed for foreigners.

Building a strong support network, being open-minded, and actively learning about Japanese culture can increase the chances of successful offline dating experiences in Japan for foreigners.

Best ways for offline dating in Japan for foreigners

  • Join local hobby or interest groups to meet like-minded individuals, as shared activities can be a great way to connect.
  • Attend social events, parties, or festivals where you can mingle with Japanese people and have the opportunity to strike up conversations.
  • Explore language exchange programs or language schools, as these can provide an opportunity to meet locals interested in cultural exchange and potential dating.
  • Offline dating options in Japan for foreigners are GoukonGoukon, also known as group dating or speed dating. It is a popular offline dating option in Japan for foreigners. It involves a group of friends, usually an equal number of males and females, meeting up for drinks and socializing. This allows individuals to meet and interact with potential partners in a relaxed and casual setting. Goukon is considered a great way for foreigners in Japan to expand their social circle and have the opportunity to meet new people outside of their usual social circles.
  • There are several offline dating options available for foreigners in Japan, such as Machikon and Shumikon. Machikon refers to “machiai” (meeting) and “konkatsu” (marriage hunting), where singles gather at a designated location, such as a shopping street or event space, to meet potential partners in a casual and social setting. Shumikon, on the other hand, is a combination of “shukatsu” (job hunting) and “konkatsu,” where singles participate in organized events or activities specifically designed for the purpose of meeting potential partners. These offline dating options provide opportunities for foreigners to interact with locals and potentially find romantic connections in Japan.

The Dating culture in Japan: Japanese dating customs

Japanese bride

When it comes to dating in Japan, there are unique customs and traditions that have been shaped by the country’s rich history and cultural values. From the significance of omiai (arranged marriages) to the modern trends of online dating and “konkatsu” (marriage hunting), Japanese dating culture is a fascinating blend of tradition and contemporary influences.

Understanding the ins and outs of Japanese dating customs can provide insight into the complexities of romantic relationships in this East Asian nation.

Hookups and casual dating are taboo

Hookups and casual dating are often regarded as taboo in Japan due to the country’s traditional dating standards and societal attitudes towards physical intimacy. In Japan, traditional courtship involves a gradual progression towards a committed relationship, and physical intimacy is seen as something reserved for established couples.

The pressure to conform to these traditional norms can make hookups and casual dating stigmatized, particularly for Japanese women.

However, there has been a gradual shift in attitudes towards hookups, especially among younger generations. The acceptance of hookups as a part of life is increasing, reflecting a more liberal approach to dating and relationships.

For those seeking casual fun, alternative dating routes such as online dating apps and social events catered to singles can provide a less stigmatized way to meet like-minded individuals. These alternative routes offer a way to connect with others outside of the traditional dating scene and may be more accommodating to those seeking casual relationships.

While hookups and casual dating may still be taboo in traditional Japanese society, there are alternative routes available for those looking to explore casual relationships.

Relationships have an official “Start” Date

In Japanese relationships, having an official “start” date holds significant importance. This date marks a clear declaration of romantic interest and serves to eliminate any grey areas in the relationship. By establishing a specific start date, both individuals are acknowledging their commitment and intention to pursue a romantic relationship with each other.

Failing to make a clear decision in a relationship, especially with someone from a traditional background, can have potential consequences. In Japanese culture, where traditional values and customs hold great significance, ambiguous or unclear romantic intentions can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

This lack of clarity can cause friction in the relationship, leading to a breakdown in communication and trust. It can also result in disappointment and hurt feelings for both individuals involved.

The official “start” date in Japanese relationships signifies a clear declaration of romantic interest and eliminates any grey areas. Failing to make a clear decision in a relationship, particularly with someone from a traditional background, can result in negative consequences and strain the relationship. It is essential to respect and adhere to the cultural norms and expectations when navigating romantic relationships in a traditional Japanese setting.

No PDA (Public displays of affection)

In Japan, public displays of affection (PDA) are uncommon due to cultural norms and social reasons. Privacy is highly valued in Japanese society, and individuals are expected to maintain a sense of personal space in public settings. This emphasis on privacy extends to romantic relationships, leading to a discomfort with the idea of displaying affection in front of others.

There is a lack of a public moral sense regarding PDA, as it is generally considered inappropriate to make others feel uncomfortable by openly expressing intimacy in public.

Compared to couples in the West, Japanese couples are more reserved and rarely engage in PDA. While Western couples may openly hold hands, kiss, or hug in public, Japanese couples tend to show affection in subtler ways, such as through discreet gestures or expressions of care.

Cultural expectations regarding PDA in Japan can be seen in the limited physical contact between couples in public, as well as the avoidance of overt displays of affection. Personal experiences may include feeling self-conscious or embarrassed when witnessing PDA in Japan due to the societal norms and expectations.

The cultural norms and social reasons behind the lack of PDA in Japan reflect a strong emphasis on privacy and a general discomfort with public displays of intimacy.

Full day dates

Full day dates in Japan hold significant cultural importance as they allow couples to spend quality time together and strengthen their bond. The length and content of these dates are often influenced by the value placed on harmony, respect, and attentiveness in Japanese society.

Factors such as the limited availability of free time and the desire to make the most of the day also contribute to the length of these dates.

Common activities involved in full day dates include visiting shrines or temples, strolling through scenic gardens, enjoying leisurely meals, and exploring cultural landmarks. Additionally, couples often engage in activities such as shopping, attending a tea ceremony, or experiencing traditional arts like calligraphy or pottery making.

Full day dates are an important aspect of Japanese dating culture as they provide an opportunity for couples to bond through shared experiences and strengthen their emotional connection.

It also allows them to escape from the demands of daily life and focus on their relationship, ultimately fostering deeper intimacy and understanding. Full day dates play a crucial role in nurturing and celebrating love in Japanese relationships.

Stay at home dates are just as fun

Japanese couples often enjoy stay-at-home dates by engaging in activities such as cooking together, watching movies, playing games, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home. This reflects the cultural difference between Japanese and Western couples, as Western couples often prefer to socialize outdoors and enjoy activities such as dining out or attending events.

There are practical reasons behind Japanese couples’ preference for home dates as well. Going out in Japan can be quite expensive, and staying at home allows couples to save money. Japanese couples often prioritize spending the whole day together, and staying home provides the opportunity to do so without the distractions of the outside world.

Ultimately, stay-at-home dates provide Japanese couples with the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and strengthen their bond in a comfortable and intimate setting. This demonstrates the cultural differences in how couples in different parts of the world prioritize spending time with their partners.

Relationships in Japan: The do’s and dont’s of Japanese Dating Culture

Relationships in Japan

In Japanese dating culture, it is crucial to understand the rules and regulations that govern the dating scene. One key aspect is the concept of ‘Goukon’, which refers to group dating events, and ‘Konkatsu’, the practice of actively seeking a Japanese woman for marriage.

When navigating the dating scene in Japan, it is important to respect cultural norms and customs. This includes showing politeness, humility, and respecting personal space. In addition, it is essential to be mindful of the importance of traditional gender roles and expectations in relationships.

Do’s:

  • Show respect and politeness to Japanese women
  • Be upfront and honest about intentions
  • Show genuine interest in the other person’s culture and traditions

Don’ts:

  • Displaying public affection is generally frowned upon
  • Rushing into physical intimacy
  • Disregarding traditional gender roles and expectations

By respecting and understanding the cultural norms and practices of Japanese dating, individuals can navigate the dating scene successfully and build meaningful connections within this unique cultural context.

Final thoughts: Every date is different

In Japan, the defined nature of relationships helps ensure longer and healthier connections. The talking stage before a date is taken seriously, allowing individuals to establish mutual interests and expectations beforehand. This sets a solid foundation for the relationship and reduces misunderstandings, leading to more successful and fulfilling connections.

During a date, being observant and genuine is crucial. This means paying attention to your partner’s likes, dislikes, and body language, and being authentic in expressing yourself.

Each date is unique and depends on the individuals involved, making it essential to adapt and be open to new experiences. By valuing these key aspects, relationships in Japan are nurtured and strengthened, with a greater focus on understanding and accommodating each other.

This article can contain sponsored content. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and exercise their own judgment before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.

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