Dating culture in Japan is vastly different from other countries, things are just done differently, with very different expectations regarding behavior and honor in Japan. What is normal and expected in Europe, the U.S. and most westernized countries, is out of bounds in Japan, and likely to get you in trouble. Japanese culture, for dating and all other things, is relatively unique, and very traditional. It’s this way of being however, that gives the allure and charm to having a Japanese partner, essentially, they are incredibly loving and loyal, due to their culture.

Most people coming to Japan for any length of time, and wishing to date, have the expectation that things will be easy. Japanese people are very cute, kind hearted, and easy going. While those traits are incredibly common, there are also huge issues regarding trust.

For a Japanese woman, or man for that matter, to start randomly talking with a stranger, is almost unheard of. It is exceptionally rare.

Even more rare, is to share contact information with someone they have never met, and have zero common connections with.

Safety And Harmony Are Core To Life In Japan

Japanese people tend towards safety, security, and harmony. As such, they generally only progress beyond a casual hello with people they know they can trust. Which basically means, people with whom they share common friends or acquaintances. In turn this means, you need to know, and be liked, by people they know, if you wish to date them.

The Japanese dating scene is nothing to just plunge into, doing so will likely have you feeling rejected very quickly, and wanting to stop. With the right knowledge, and through respecting how things work in Japan, then dating in Japan, and by extension finding true love, or even finding your soulmate, can become extremely possible.

Knowing How To Navigate Japanese Dating Culture Is Essential If You Want To Find Love In Japan

Japanese Dating Culture

A Japanese Person Must Know You First Before Agreeing A First Date

Yes, it is rare for Japanese women, or any Japanese person, to go on a date with a stranger.

Things in Japan, for all the technological wonder that exists, do move more slowly, and have their roots in older traditions. Japan itself is now getting more acknowledgement as likely being the oldest country in the world, with the longest, most well established culture. Even linguistic elements are being found dating back to pre-Egyptian times.

Though while many countries have shifted as time progressed, Japan has held close to ways it knows works. While other countries have found themselves devolving as their cultures and traditions change.

Even to this day, public displays of affection are rare and generally speaking frowned upon in Japanese society. As a further point on this, an actual first kiss is a very serious step for Japanese couples, indicating deep romantic feelings and a desire for a serious romantic relationship. Because of this, it is exceptionally rare for a first kiss to happen on a first date, usually many dates will have happened before a Japanese couples kiss. Even then, they may never kiss in public. That is just how relationships and dating in Japan are.

Japanese Dating Culture Is Different Because Japanese Culture Is Different

Before Dating In Japan Ensure You Understand Japanese Culture Properly
Japanese culture has long placed importance on honor and loyalty, these things are still viewed with paramount importance in modern Japanese society. They are also greatly valued within the dating culture as a result.

Honesty and respect are other expectations within Japanese society. The country is essentially founded on a common belief that people will be good to each other, and treat each each other respectfully. In the main this holds true, walk around, or spend time in any big metropolitan area or city in Japan, and you will see many signs of this being the case. Places are clean, well maintained, and people move around with minimal fuss, without causing problems for each other. Go into almost any cafe, fast food restaurant, ramen shop, or other establishment, and you will see it is almost impeccably well kept.

Japanese Culture Has Changed Minimally

Japan is still very Japanese. While there is a proliferation of western culture into entertainment and some elements of food, only around 2.2% of the population is from overseas, and few Japanese people speak English, even if they do understand some. This has helped Japan retain a high level of cultural integrity, plus Japanese people tend to be proud of being Japanese, their country, and everything about it, with very few wishing to create any change from how it currently is.

Things are done slowly, yet reliably. Governments schedule projects that will take 20 or more years to do, knowing that they will happen, and the population knows with high levels of faith that those projects will be fulfilled. Thus leading to high levels of reliability, and expectations of reliability across everything as a result.

In many ways this is just the tip of the iceberg, the depth of culture and societal values is incredible in Japan.

How Japanese Culture Impacts Finding A Partner In Japan

A Wild Affair And Casual Relationships Are Very Much Taboo In Japan
Because Japanese people are used to, and expect order and propriety, those values and expectations cross over into dating culture too.

Japanese people tend to seek partners who they know will be loving, caring, kind, and very definitely reliable.

Conflict is avoided to the greatest possible extent, both on a societal level and a personal level. So anything which is deemed to cause challenges where harmony is concerned, is carefully avoided, this can often include issues around religion. While most Japanese people do have a spiritual side, and have strong values that are considered conservative, they generally keep away from religious doctrine, and being dictated to regarding how they should worship or live based on a religious system. As such, people of one religion usually stick together, as the opportunity to find a partner not of that religion is remote.

Honesty And Trust Are Core To Japanese Culture And Dating

Honesty and trust are major values in Japan that impact on ability to find, and then begin dating, with a potential partner.

Without common connections, it is impossible to know if someone can be trusted. While people do know that they can trust those around them, it is to a certain extent. They can feel assured that they can safely walk the streets, use their phone on the street without issue, and be more or less safe whatever they do. However, there is a suspicion of strangers that wish to talk and meet, with great concern as to what they really desire. This causes Japanese people to refrain from talking with strangers, and certainly from sharing contact information.

Confinement To Existing Social Circles Causes Dating Limitations
On Valentines Day Giving A Friend Chocolate Can Mean Just Friendship

As such, people are confined to limited social circles in terms of dating pool when finding a partner. Something else which impacts this is the way relationships in the workplace are greatly frowned upon in Japan, they are seen as a no no. The wellbeing of the company is more important than the welfare or desires of the individual, so if people who work together start dating, and it is discovered, they generally hit an end with their careers. Again, this is partly a trust issue. If they do marry, one will be expected to leave anyway. Though if they breakup after a while of dating it does cause many issues, especially if they were on the same team, and the disruption to the business is seen as largely unforgivable.

Group Dates And Connecting With Others Who Have The Same Interests

A Japan going on group dates is relatively common for a number of reasons. For one, it takes pressure off the couples who are meeting, essentially they are part of a group that is out having fun together. In part this is due to the perceived safer environment from being with friends. The knowledge that everyone present has at least one mutual friend fulfilling needed points on trust.

These are in a way relatively casual dates, where trust can be built with relative ease. Plus, they are an easy way to bring in single friends that those organizing the dates believe would get along well if introduced to each other. Thus creating more happiness and a larger social circle for all.

Activities often include going to a theme park, hiking, or a casual dinner at an izakaya. In summer, some groups will go to the beach, with places like Shirahama in Wakayama, Suma near Kobe, and Kamakura Zaimokuza beach being popular places to enjoy having some safe fun for those attending.

These group dates are common for those in their mid twenties who have been talking with friends about challenges finding a partner, though for those with minimal connections such social gatherings are often out of reach causing them to seek a good marriage agency in order to get introductions.

Dating In Japan Takes Time And Sometimes A Very Long Time
In general, dating also takes a long time in Japan. People take their time. It can be weeks before the first kiss, for couples of all ages. More intimate contact, and certainly sleeping together, usually only occurs once a couple has become serious, often either having gotten married, or at the very least agreed an intent to marry with each other.

Japanese women and men take time getting to know each other properly, understanding how their characters work together, where challenges can or do occur, before becoming physical.

Physical Affection Comes Slowly For Japanese Couples
Japanese Culture Has Strict Views On Public Displays Of Affection

When people do push for physical affection early on, it generally sounds alarm bells, and has them at the very least questioning motives, if not just outright ending the relationship.

Finding a reliable partner has been an issue dating back through the ages in Japan. While the vast majority of people are reliable, Japanese people seek to find the perfect match from day one. They have zero desire to mess around, meeting lots of people, dating them, dealing with heartbreak, then moving on and stating again. This causes things to be done very differently with dating in Japan compared to other countries and cultures.

Traditional Values In Japanese Culture And Society

Japan is a very traditional country, and the population in general likes it that way. Most Japanese girls dream of having a family and raising children, something in stark contrast to many western nations.

An extension to this is the dim view most take on tattoos. Within Japanese culture, the use of tattoos was historically confined to those involved in illegal activities, onsen forbade people with tattoos from entering their premises, and very few had them as a result. Since the rugby world cup in Japan in 2019 the attitude has shifted slightly due to the number of high level sports people with tattoos. While some Japanese boys, and a few girls, now have them, most keenly avoid finding partners with them, something which can affect a person’s suitability as a client for most marriage agencies in Japan.

Cultural Impact On Dating Apps In Japan

Use Of Dating Apps And Speed Dating Is Rare In Japan Due To Trust

Dating apps, as with most technology, have proliferated worldwide. Though as most marketers understand, different things work in different countries. One dating app which is very commonly used in western countries for casual dating, is practically a failure in Japan due to cultural differences, instead being used on rare occasions by people looking for friends or gym buddies.

The common images that people use in western cultures within dating apps, would cause instant rejection in Japan. Japanese people have, in the main, zero interest in hook ups, instead they want something loving and lasting. The vast tendency is to be with their true love, enjoying what gradually turns into a long lasting relationship. While various western dating apps do pertain to be bringing love, the people using them often create a very different experience, plus the number of fake accounts caused an instant revulsion for Japanese people, even among the younger generation.

Japanese Dating Apps Are Less Automated Than Western Ones

Successful Japanese dating apps are formulated around the traditional Omiai way of doing things, with introductions being arranged before contact details are shared between potential partners.

For a Japanese dating app, or one from any other country, to work successfully, the users in Japan have to know that everything is being handled honestly, and reliably. This includes everything from handling of user information, data, and records, through to the service provision and accessibility, plus without question, that everyone with a profile is a real, genuine person, who is looking for the same thing as everyone else, love.

This leads to a hybridization between the more automated dating apps of western cultures, and the traditional nakodo, a Japanese matchmaker, approach of Japan with Omiai and marriage agencies. Leading to a situation where detailed background checks are required by the best and most popular dating apps, with these being done manually in order to ensure they are done properly.

Successful Dating Apps Are Usually Part Of A Larger Service

Most marriage agencies are members of one of the large federations in Japan, with the federation often maintaining an app version of their portal. Thus many in Japan who do use a dating app, are doing so as a result of their registration with a marriage agency.

Another important point on this, is that the apps which bring greater dating success levels rarely give direct contact between members, that is, members are unable to message others having just looked at their profiles. Instead, the Japanese dating apps help people to find a potential match, with whom they can then request an Omiai, or introduction. With direct communication only being possible after a successful Omiai. Japanese people have little to no interest in casual dating, that want to know things are going somewhere worthwhile if they are to spend time dating a person.

This leads to a situation where people take things more slowly, and date in a more considered way, rather than just seeing who is available now. In addition, it takes pressure off people, as they have time to consider what they wish to do, rather than having someone constantly messaging them and wanting attention, before they have even met.

Culture And Online Dating In Japan

The Dating Scene In Japan Is Vastly Different From Other Countries

People do use dating apps in Japan, they do also use online dating facilities. The majority of these are run by large, reputable organizations and federations, and various cities and prefectures have other initiatives that help people to meet potential partners.

The issues regarding dating, largely in the context of actually finding someone to date, are widely known in Japan. It is quite common for friends to ask new members of their group whether they know anyone they could be introduced to, and the Japanese government has long been concerned about the declining birth rate, which may other countries now share in having.

While most western countries have moved almost exclusively to apps, Japanese companies have mostly opted to keep access open via both an app and a web accessible member’s portal, keeping things flexible and convenient for their users. Japanese culture has a strong focus on convenience, the most popular apartment buildings, shops and other well frequented spots are usually within about 3 minutes walk from a train or subway station. As you get more than about 5 minutes away from a station people begin mentioning about things being inconvenient.

Hence why Japanese businesses running apps and dating sites opt to keep high levels of convenience, it is practically essential for smooth operation of their service.

Online Dating Sites Are Carefully Managed Services In Japan

High standards of professionalism and high service levels are common expectations in Japanese culture. Wherever you go, there are commonalities with greetings, showing of respect, and customer care. All of this filters through into how things are done with online dating sites too.

As previously mentioned, casual relationships are of practically zero interest to Japanese people. This is the case through the full cross section of society, Japanese men, Japanese women, young people and the older generation too. Almost every Japanese person is exclusively interested the one serious relationship that means they will be together for life, and happily so. As such, sites and apps focus heavily on serious relationships, and the vast majority on marriage and finding a marriage partner exclusively.

These things cause dating sites, along with their sister apps, to be very carefully managed. Members must adhere to the rules, with infringements being handled with gravity. Though Japanese guys understand what is proper and good, and Japanese girls know how to treat potential partners with care and respect, making issues with rules very infrequent.

Traditions Omiai And Marriage Agencies

Japanese People Take Love And Dating Very Seriously

While Japan is greatly modernized, and in 2024 has the forth highest GDP in the world, much of which is down to its embracing and perfecting of new technologies. At the same time, Japanese society still has deep love for its traditions, and the lure of Japanese culture brings in a great deal of tourism. There are few countries in the world with the uniqueness that Japan has.

Knowledge and acceptance that many of the old, established ways of doing things, cause people in Japan to keep to traditional ways. The large number, and popularity, of Japanese marriage agencies using the Omiai process which dates back to the 16th century is strong testament to this.

There have been subtle variations to how Japanese marriage agencies work, largely as a result of western influences and a desire to create greater opportunity for those seeking true love to find it more easily. In the main, the role that marriage agencies in Japan fulfill within the dating scene has changed only slightly, with most change being due to the adoption of technology.

Speed Dating Does Happen But Only With Carefully Selected Men And Women

When it comes to dating in Japan, speed dating is a rarity.

Talk to most Japanese men or women about the idea of speed dating and they will likely look at you in awe and wonder as to how such a process could actually work. Japanese people take time to ensure compatibility before dating. So the thought of rapidly moving between potential partners, with just a couple of minutes or so to get to know them, is just too alien.

That said, some marriage agencies do run speed dating events for their clients, with the difference being that they are carefully orchestrated.

Only those deemed to be compatible to a good degree are invited. These events are never random mixes. If certain clients have been struggling to get Omiai, often due to shyness, then provided there are enough with similar personalities and interests, then a speed dating event may be set up. With the agency knowing that there is a high likelihood of success due to the work they have already put in with assessing those who would be attending.

Matchmaking Is An Important Part Of The Culture For Marriage Agencies

A Casual Date Is Coffee When First Dating For Japanese Couples

Every Japanese person wishes to be with the right partner. For all the austerity, most Japanese actually hold quite deep romantic feelings, even if they rarely show it.

As a result, matchmaking and the use of the specialist matchmaking services provided by good nakodo at the more successful Japanese marriage agencies, tend to be in high demand by those who can afford them.

Characteristics Commonly Sought In Men In Japan

For a Japanese man, a large amount of his appeal is based on his ability to lovingly provide for the family the he is expected to have with has wife after they are married. Japanese girls will check carefully beyond his financial stability to also ensure that he is kind and caring. Their concern coming from the perspective of desire for a happy and harmonious life, free from hardship, so they can easily raise a family, and enjoy doing so together.

Characteristics Commonly Sought In Women In Japan

For a Japanese woman, looks are important to her level of appeal, though while cute or beautiful is often a desire from prospective male partners, it’s more the appearance of respectability which is important. Beyond this, men will keenly look for signs that ladies will make kind and caring wives, who will look after the family and raise the children.

Adherence To Japanese Dating Customs And Rules Is Carefully Checked

Cultural Differences Challenge Western Couples Dating In Japan

Japanese marriage agencies take background checks on everyone wanting to find a marriage partner seriously, and never accept any registration until they have done their due diligence on an applicant. This process can be very in-depth, and all male users of such services have to prove they are financially stable, and thus able to provide for a family. As Japanese people are very marriage conscious, and pay close attention to cultural traditions, the expectation is that after marriage those getting married will be having a family, hence the financial and employment checks.

Even ladies wishing to share details of their work, or income, have to prove any claims made.

Proof of marital status is also checked very carefully. Those involved in matchmaking have zero desire for anyone seeking a wild affair to be admitted to their service, or get anywhere near anyone the are seeking to unite in a harmonious marriage.

Marriage Agencies Do Careful Due Diligence For Good Reason

Many of these checks can sound strange at first to those from overseas, or even seem off putting, they are however very effective in ensuring the security of any potential partner’s feelings prior to meeting, and through the early stages of a relationship, as they know they are dating someone genuine.

Contact between marriage agencies and their clients is carefully maintained throughout their membership, with regular updates expected regarding both online and offline dating as relationships progress. Each Japanese couple, or international couple where one partner is from overseas, being expected to update their agency after dates, and certainly should any concerns arise, including issues around excessive public displays of affection which can happen with foreign partners.

As a result. agency staff tend to build a personal connection with their clients, and being invited to weddings is reasonably common as a result. Effectively staff involved gain a great deal of credit for helping find successful romantic interest and bringing together married couples.

The people involved in using marriage agency services are thus often happy to comply with strict rules and dating customs, as they know doing so will enable them to gain the results they desire.

How To Make Meeting Japanese People For Loving Relationships Easier

Marriage Agencies Bring Greater Success Than Dating Apps In Japan
Dating in Japan is a serious challenge, unless you can get reliable introductions to well matched partners.

Those seeking serious relationships will rarely use a dating app, and even those rare individuals seeking something more casual rarely use a dating app. Instead, they look to find someone via an introduction, have seek safety in the knowledge they can trust someone they are introduced to.

Over numerous years of running a Japanese marriage agency, and talking with clients for varying backgrounds and locations, all have mentioned dating apps as being seriously problematic, a view which is well understood by Japanese people.

Of course there are many more dating apps than there used to be, with various niche ones for those seeking a Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend. Some are more successful than other dating apps, though overall they are rarely used in Japanese dating culture.

Introductions Are Key To Success With Dating In Japanese Culture

As mentioned many times throughout this article, trust is key to every relationship, and even with the younger generation, dating in Japan very rarely occurs unless a reliable introduction friends or any agency is involved.

That introduction is a very low level first date. Essentially where a man and a female friend meet and have a tentative expression of a desire to develop something which would turn into a serious relationship.

Pushing to quickly, too early will have potential partners running away. Being mindful or a partner’s feelings is as a result an exceptionally wise thing to do for every Japanese man, woman, and foreign ones too.

Provided introductions, or Omiai, go well, then agencies will manage the exchange of contact information, and from there couples start dating properly. Going out to lunch or dinner, and doing easy going things where they can get to know each other properly.

This is just how dating in Japan works.

Finding A Good Japanese Marriage Agency

Every First Date Should Be Prepared Carefully For Dating Success

The challenge as always is finding a good service to use for anyone seeking help finding a marriage conscious partner.

Even if you spend half your weekend going through due diligence and research to find the right agency for you, it is worthwhile. The major population centers are Tokyo and Osaka, so finding either a Tokyo based or Osaka marriage agency is wise as around 98% of members are based in these locations.

Most relationships in Japan which are successful come from couples coming together in a reliable way, with support from around them. When they meet during school, family and friends provide that help and support. When couples have already started work, and moved to new cities away from their usual support networks, marriage agencies are where that support most usually comes from.

At the end of 2022, marriage agencies accounted for 15.4% of the marriage rate in Japan, making them an invaluable element of Japanese culture when it comes to serious relationships in Japan. They are essentially the foundation point for the dating scene when people lack connections due to work, moving home, or other reasons. They are also far more reliable than any dating app, hence again why Japanese people tend to carefully select the right one for them, even if greater investment is needed.

Marriage agencies often provide high levels of support, and as many Japanese people have little experience with dating or serious relationships, this level of service is again something usually deemed invaluable.

Japanese Culture Needs Careful Navigation For Success To Be Possible With Dating

Japanese dating culture is very different from what western couples are used to. The pace, the etiquette, and so many more things mean that foreigners dating in Japan can fall into traps they were unaware of. For the average Japanese person it is relatively easy, they tend to have a certain upbringing, and are aware of social etiquette and standards. Without knowledge of cultural norms, and adherence to them, dating is usually very short lived. However, when Japanese culture and etiquette are reasonably well understood, and especially if there is support from friends or a marriage agency, dating can progress smoothly and happily into a serious relationship, and from there into marriage.

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