The Hiroshima Dating Scene

ByJustin Hanus
May 29, 2024

The Hiroshima Dating Scene

Hiroshima, like many cities in Japan, is a blend of traditional cultural norms and more modernized and westernized lifestyles. If you live in the city and are single, you can find plenty of opportunities to meet both local and foreign prospective partners. In addition, there is no shortage of things to do or places to go. However, it pays to be aware of some of the local dating norms. Here is an overview of what to expect from dating in Hiroshima.

Japanese Dating Etiquette

Dating in Japan has modernized a lot in recent decades. Arranged marriages used to be commonplace but nowadays most people choose their own partners, some may live together and have children without marrying, and same-sex relationships are becoming more accepted. Marriage rates have been declining recently although they are still higher than in many western nations.

Expats dating in Japan can expect things to move along at a fairly slow pace, perhaps slower than they may be used to. Indeed, early dates can feel more like meetings between friends and group dates (gokon) are common. It can take several dates before things become official or intimate. Once you do reach that point, you may get a love confession (kokuhaku) and you can also expect your partner’s family to play a key role in your relationship if they live nearby. For example, regular family get-togethers.

Dates in Japan can take place in numerous types of venues, for example restaurants, bars, concerts, parks or art galleries/museums. Traditionally, men would initiate things, asking for the date, arranging things and paying the bill. However, things tend to be more evenly split nowadays. Behavioural and clothing etiquette is quite conservative. Dress nicely and don’t start up contentious conversation topics or arguments. Another thing to remember is that public displays of affection (PDA) are not as common in Japan as in countries such as the US, France or Spain, usually restricted to holding hands and gentle pecks on the cheek.

How to Find Dates in Hiroshima

One of the most popular dating methods these days is online and through dating apps. In fact, a 2022 study found that most Japanese newlyweds now meet each other through apps. Popular websites and apps in Hiroshima include:

  • Pairs – one of the most popular dating apps in Japan, although it’s in Japan and you have to pay to use it
  • Tinder – global app famous for its swipe left/right function, available in both Japanese and English
  • OKCupid – dating website popular in many countries, where people can find matches based on compatibility regarding personality and interests
  • Omiai – another popular Japanese app with a detailed screening process to try and weed out abuse of the platform

If you don’t fancy digital dating, you could rely on older tried-and-tested methods. For example:

  • Meeting people through work, friends or family
  • Joining local expat groups in Hiroshima if you would like to meet people from your own country
  • Local interest groups, for example by checking Hiroshima-based groups on Meetup
  • Visiting the bars, pubs and clubs in Hiroshima’s downtown area
  • Attending the regular Hiroshima Gokon Party

Popular Dating Venues in Hiroshima

Hiroshima has some great dating spots where couples can enjoy themselves and get to know one another. These include:

  • Shukkeien Garden – beautiful 17th century Japanese garden where you can wander and admire the scenery or sit in a lovely teahouse
  • Okonomi-mura – food village in Naka ward where you can try 25 different types of Japanese pancake (the name translates as Okonomiyaki World)
  • RIHGA Royal Hotel – if you want to impress, you can head to the sky dining restaurant that offers great city views
  • Hiroshima Museum of Art – if you fancy a bit of culture and want to chat about Hiroshima’s art history
  • Bar Alegre – classy cocktail bar where the friendly bartenders will put you at ease

日:Muramasa, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Justin Hanus editor

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