Japanese Dating Culture: What Foreign Men Should Know

Emma Brown
6 min read4 days ago


Dating culture in Japan has many differences from the one in Western countries. How do Japanese couples date? What do girls expect from their boyfriends? How to understand a Japanese girl is into you? Find below.

The most common Japanese dating customs

Here’s what you should know about dating in Japan.

Japanese Dating Culture


The stage when one person “confesses” he/she has feelings towards another person is significant and rarely omitted. Whilst Western couples start with learning each other better by going out and spending time together as a couple, the Japanese hang out just as friends. But then they have this turning point which defines the start of their relationship.

It helps to avoid misunderstanding. For example, in the West, couples may have a different opinion as to if they’re actually dating, just hanging out together, or even have serious relationships. You’ll never have that with a Japanese girl as until one of you shares the feelings, she won’t think you’re dating at all.


Public display of affection isn’t encouraged in Japan. In fact, the rules are quite strict, especially if you’re a foreigner who came from America, Australia, or any European country and is used to a different culture. While it might be totally fine to show feelings when there are people around in your country, kissing in Japanese culture in public is regarded as something vulgar. Couples may hold each other by hands though, but even this innocent gesture can be criticized if you’re in a small town. Not to mention smooches, too intimate hugs, making out, etc.

Why does this happen? Why is the difference so big? Firstly, the Japanese are very reserved. And they never want to make someone feel uncomfortable because of them. They also know such behavior makes them look like they lack a public moral sense. No local can let that happen. Secondly, Japanese people believe privacy is very important and try to protect what they have from others. So they keep personal life behind closed doors.


Who pays the bill in Japan? It’s impossible to give the answer to that question as it all depends on various factors like daters’ age, the region they live in, their own ideas and opinions on traditions and equality phenomenon. But, the tendency is the following — the more youthful generation prefer to go Dutch.

Surprised? You probably thought the Japanese are very traditional and women expect men to pay? But the modern world dictates new rules. Today the young Asian women are brought up with the opinion that sharing everything fairly makes dating more mature, partners equal, and it improves personal relationships. They just feel it’s the right and more logical thing to do as women today are as financially independent as men. However, many guys prefer to pay no matter what the girl says. Some women appreciate it and regard it as a compliment.

Peculiarities of dating and marriage in Japan

Does Japanese dating always lead to marriage? How to understand your relationship is serious enough and your girl is ready to wed you?

Dating and marriage in Japan

Being older means to be more marriage conscious

When the Japanese reach their mid-twenties, they start thinking about marriage and family. After they graduate and find a job, they become much more interested in long-term relationships. The reason is obvious. Why should they waste time dating a person who doesn’t seem like a life-long partner?

Such an approach is pretty different from the Western one. It appears as Westerners tend to date (often for years), move in together, and only after that, marry. Sometimes such couples settle down to married life after 5–10 years of being together. Japanese people are more conscious about the marriage thing. Society doesn’t approve couples living together without having a registered marriage.

Meeting parents means you’re planning to marry

If you’re American, Canadian, British, it should be okay for you to meet your local partner’s parents almost the first day you know each other. In a word, it isn’t that big of an occasion, rather a formal thing. However, it’s the opposite in Japan. When people start dating there, they rarely tell their parents about it. Why?

All because there’s an important tradition in Japanese culture. When you ask your partner to meet your parents, you give a sign your relationship is on its way to marriage. Clearly, it isn’t about all the couples. Some women have a very strong connection with their parents and may tell them everything, explaining what stage of relationships they’re in currently. Some girls may share that only with mothers as fathers are usually stricter.

Arranging marriages

It’s called “Miai” in Japan. It’s something similar to matchmaking that was some time ago very popular in the West. In fact, it still occurs from time to time. It’s all about introducing a single man and a single woman, so that they start a serious relationship. It’s not exactly an arranged marriage. At least, not in a way people usually perceive it.

It’s just an opportunity people create to meet a marriage-conscious person. About 7% of marriages in Japan are arranged via Miai. Today, it doesn’t involve parents. But previously, the families of the candidates were active participants.

📍Learn More: Pros And Cons Of Marrying A Japanese Woman

Differences between Japanese and Western dating culture

Let’s see more examples of what’s different when dating in Japan and in Western countries.

Group dating

It’s very common in Japan. Yes, it also occurs in America and Europe, but it’s not a custom really. Western daters can go see a movie, grab a bite to eat, go to a party together, but usually, they go on dates in pairs, not in groups.

But group dating in Japan has even got its own term — goukon. That’s what commonly happens first before pairs know each other better and a date happens between just two of them. Why is it so popular? Largely because it’s less stressful. Remember your first dates? How do you usually feel? And how would you feel if there was your close friend around? And when you’re on a second date with your Japanese girlfriend, you feel more relaxed.

Expressing feelings

The difference is that Americans and Europeans expect a more direct, verbal expression of feelings and emotions. Public display of affection is okay for them, so they think physical contact is something normal. Japanese, on the other hand, appreciate nonverbal interaction.

So if you date a Japanese girl, don’t get frustrated when she doesn’t feel comfortable when you’re too expressive or straightforward. Try to talk quietly and maybe sometimes talk a bit less. But what she’ll love is you start texting her more asking how she’s going and telling her how your things are.

Beautiful Japanese Woman

Tips for dating a Japanese woman

Here’s a shortlist of important rules and recommendations to follow.

  • Never be late. The Japanese take punctuality very seriously. If you’re late for your date, she’ll think you aren’t respectful. So it’s always better to prevent a catastrophe and at least text her you’re being late.
  • Plan your weekend date. One of the Japanese dating customs is to spend the whole weekend day with your date. Go to a theme park, visit the shopping center, have lunch or dinner.
  • Have a stay-at-home date. Another very common way of spending time together. If you both have a day off, why don’t you just go nowhere but rather watch a good film, cook something delicious and special, have a hearty talk, or play video games?

📍Learn More: How to Date a Japanese Woman Successfully?

Your Japanese dating experience

Dating is never that easy in any country. It’s often tricky, sometimes stressful, but always has something pleasurable. All the peculiarities and differences mentioned above are generalizations that, of course, have their own reasons and basis. But everything depends on every single person.

Usually Japanese women are open to dating foreign men and this experience is quite enjoyable for both. If you trust your intuition, follow simple recommendations, and remember a few cultural peculiarities, it’s doubtful you have any big challenges. So go get it!



Emma Brown

I’m Emma Brown and I work as an international dating coach and help solve relationship conflicts and write articles about dating and relationships.