The 5 Best Dating Sites in Japan (What I Learned)

actress_from_japan

Actress from Japan (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Here is the quick list of the top five dating sites in Japan. I’ll go into more detail in my reviews later in this article.

  1. JapanCupid
  2. Tinder
  3. Pairs
  4. Omiai
  5. Tapple

Japan has quite a few dating sites and apps that are worthwhile and have a decent number of members. If you are determined to find a Japanese sweetheart, you definitely can succeed. You will have to work hard and prepare for the inevitable rejections, but that is a small price to pay for having a cute Japanese woman on your arm one day.

Should you decide to sign up for the online dating sites I recommend below, be sure to read member profiles carefully as you might come across a lot of fake profiles.

Usually, I can spot these profiles pretty easily. A woman who has only one picture posted, is wearing a tight bikini and making an overly suggestive pose are usually clear signals to steer clear. Another clue of a pretender is a woman who has a poorly written profile. As a general rule of thumb, the more boring the profile, the more boring the person.

japanese_actress

Japanese Actress (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Without further ado, here are my detailed reviews of the top five dating sites and apps in Japan.

1. JapanCupid.com

JapanCupid is the best dating site in Japan. If I only had money to spend on one site, this is the site that I would spend it on. If you do a search of women in Tokyo between the ages of 18 and 35 who have been active on the site within the last 3 months, you will find over 750 active profiles.

japan_cupid

Japan Cupid

Japan Cupid went live in 2005, as a niche dating website under the Cupid Media Network. As part of this network of over 30 niche dating sites, JapanCupid benefits from a simple, clean website design and useful, battle-tested features.

Due to its targeted niche, JapanCupid is not as large of a service as other Asian dating sites (e.g. AsianDating), and finding English-speaking members seems more difficult here than on other niche sites. But with JapanCupid’s handy message translation tool at your side, you won’t have too much trouble. Overall, if you’re looking for a Japanese match, you’ll benefit from using this site.

Sign up Process

You could be signed up and chatting with JapanCupid singles in the time it took you to read that last paragraph. Begin with your name, gender, email and a password, or sync up your Facebook account.

To finish, fill out a brief About Me section, describe your ideal partner, and your sign-up is complete. At this point, you can either finish filling out the rest of your profile, or you can get to searching for matches. If you decide to move forward with an unfinished profile, know that you’ll be asked at times to fill out more of your profile before moving forward.

How to Locate Potential Matches

There are two possible search options for finding a match: searching and browsing. You can narrow down your search to a more manageable number by specifying criteria such as age, location, education, marital status, religion, and even their star sign.

JapanCupid will also recommend potential matches to you, based on the criteria you specified when signing up. You can browse both these recommended matches and your own searches in different ways, with different options for how much of each profile you will see, and how they are sorted (Newest Members, Photos Only, etc.)

How to Communicate with Other Members

If you’re looking to actually communicate with other members on JapanCupid, you’ll need to upgrade to a Gold/Premium membership. Communication options are limited as a Standard member. You can message freely with premium members, but, between other Standard members, you’re limited to “showing interest”, sending blocked, unreadable messages, and adding profiles to your favorites. None of these features lead to conversation, unless of course one of you upgrades to Gold or Platinum.

Once you do bite the bullet and pay, you are well rewarded, with Instant Messaging, audio, and even video chat available to you. With these options, you can communicate with any member.

Unique Site Features

JapanCupid has a number of unique features that contribute to this site’s ease of use and power in matching you with compatible profiles. First off is the detailed personal profile, packed with opportunities to differentiate yourself from the pack and ensure that JapanCupid’s recommended matches will be just what you’re looking for.

Next, there are powerful and varied search features to help you narrow down your search for a perfect match. Finally, the anti-spam measures are excellent, ensuring that all the profiles you connect with are genuine.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Standard – Create profile, upload multiple photos, browse, search, and send interest to profiles, communicate with paying members
  • Gold – All of the above, plus: Communicate with all members, audio/video chat, Instant Messaging, ad-free browsing, anonymous browsing
  • Platinum – All of the above, plus: Rank above other members in searches, doubled profile space, VIP profile highlighting, Platinum-exclusive search features, advanced matching algorithms, message translation

Dating is a Numbers Game

As I mention in my book, just like the real world, there will be men or women who you will not click with or who don’t respond to your messages (or just disappear).  There will be men or women who might only be interested in helping you to part with your hard-earned cash. That is life.  Just keep sending out messages and reach out until you find the person you are looking for and get success.

As is typical with online dating, expect a response rate of around 1-10% depending on how good your profile is. (response rate = people who will respond back to you to whom you sent an introduction message).

2. Tinder

Tinder

Tinder

You’ve probably heard of Tinder even if you’ve never used the dating app. Not only is Tinder immensely popular with users and is now a part of pop culture. You’ll hear Tinder tossed around by comedians, in movies, on TV, and elsewhere.

Tinder was arguably the first to bring dating apps to the mainstream. It’s still one of the easiest to use, but if you use the free plan, there are some limitations. Paid accounts offer a lot of great features but can get expensive.

Sign up Process

Sign up is quite straightforward and takes only a few minutes.
First, download the Tinder app to your phone. You can also sign up through the website Tinder.com.

From there, you’ll select signing up with Facebook or your phone number. Instructions are easy to follow and self-explanatory. And don’t worry, even if you sign up with Facebook, Tinder claims that they never post to your profile.

Tinder doesn’t give you a lot of room to write profiles, but this forces people to think about what to say.
FYI, you may find it easier to set up your profile on the website rather than your phone.

How to Locate Potential Matches

Tinder doesn’t offer many filtering options for matches. However, you can click on your profile icon…settings…Discovery settings and filter matches by location, distance, age, and gender identity.

From here, you’ll swipe right if you like someone, swipe left if you don’t. The lack of filter options means you may be shown a lot of people you’re not interested in. At the same time, limited options make the app less complicated.

How to Communicate with Other Members

If you want to connect with someone, both you and the other person need to swipe right. From here, you’ll get a notification that it’s a match. Then, you can use Tinder’s in-app platform, which works like text messaging, to message each other.

You can’t send pics or files, but you can connect your Instagram account. These limitations can be a hassle, but the messaging platform is easy to use and seems reliable.

Unique App Features

Tinder has the most users in many areas, which is arguably the app’s key distinguishing feature. There are simply more fish in the sea on Tinder.
By now, many other apps have copied Tinder’s formula. Tinder did a few things that revolutionized online dating, however.

First, Tinder only lets matches communicate, which reduces the fear of being rejected or ghosted. Second, it made reviewing people crazy simple. Whether you swipe left or right, you can easily and quickly go through profiles.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

Tinder offers a free plan. Unfortunately, the free plan is limited. You can only swipe right 100 times a day and don’t get access to many advanced features. The free plan also features ads, which can get intrusive.

With Tinder Plus, you get unlimited right swipes, super likes, 1 boost per month (more people see you), passport (match with people outside of your area), and rewind (recover a profile if you accidentally swiped left).

Tinder is constantly looking for ways to encourage people to sign up for the Plus plan and bombards users with offers and messages to upgrade. The Plus plan is worth the money if you want to match with more people, but the upselling can be annoying.

Even if you get a Plus plan, Tinder will try to get you to sign up for Tinder Gold, which costs even more. Tinder Gold gives you access to Plus features plus a few more things, including the ability to see who’s already liked you, and daily top picks.

Both Gold and Plus are ad-free, which is especially nice.

3. Pairs

Pairs

Pairs

With more than 10 million members, Pairs is one of the most popular dating apps in Japan and has grown a lot in a short period of time. Easy to navigate, singles can search other users and like each other leading to further discussion and possible romance. Pairs has been most popular among the younger generation and has been used for casual dating and hookups as well as love and serious relationships.

Sign up Process

Users can sign up through their Facebook account or their mobile phone. You can fill out basic information and what you’re looking for in your match and write up to 1,000 words about yourself.

However, if you just want to upload a photo and not fill out any other profile information, that is fine, too. The app is very flexible in what you can and cannot do, and its layout is organized. After you are done, Pairs will verify your account. Once verified, you can start searching.

How to Locate Potential Matches

Using the Discover tab, you can search for what you are looking for in your desired mate. You can filter the results by how far away they are away from you, their age, what type of relationship they want, and more.

After you filter your results, the app will show you all matches nearby in your regional range. It will also show you pictures of singles, and you can choose whether to like them or not.

To see further information about another member, just click on their photo. Matches are displayed based on your mutual friends that you have on Facebook.

Pairs has a limit on how many males or females you can like per day and in total before you run out of likes. You can send up to five likes per day, and you get a total of 30 likes. However, once you purchase a membership, you can send unlimited likes.

How to Communicate with Other Members

You are only allowed to send one message to another match with a free account. All other messages you wish to send require a premium account.

You also cannot give out your email or phone number on your first message as Pairs will block it, and you could be kicked off the app. You can also meet users and message them in the Community section of the app (talked about below in the unique features).

Unique App Features

The features of Pairs that stand out include the following:

  • Community section: One of the best features on Pairs is its Community section. Here you can join different clubs and discuss things that interest you and others on the site. You may find a single male or female who has similar views as you and common interests. You can then send them a like and message them later on.
  • Ashiato: This setting allows you to see which users browsed your profile. Ashiato means “footprint”; in other words, you can see the footprints left on your profile from others.
  • Strict security: There are no bots on Pairs and administration carefully goes over each profile in order to remove fake accounts. That being said, some users still have found a few fake profiles here and there.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

By purchasing a membership, you get access to the following:

  • Send unlimited messages to your match
  • See how has visited your profile and how many visitors you’ve had view you
  • Get read receipts to see whether a user has looked at your profile
  • Get more likes so you’re not limited in how many males or females you can like.

What makes Pairs enjoyable is how easy it is to use and its flexibility. There are no crazy games or strange things about it like other apps use. You filter what you want, you search for what you like, and you can connect.

That being said, you will need to purchase a membership in order to really do a lot of the things you want to on the site. Also, you do need to speak Japanese. A translation option would be nice in the future, but for now, it’s strictly a one-language site.

4. Omiai

Omiai

Omiai

Omiai aims to connect users who are serious about long term relationships and possible marriage. Whereas many apps out there are geared towards casual dating and hookups, Omiai is the opposite. The app is free for women and matches people based on their Facebook profiles and mutual friends list.

Sign up Process

To register, download the Omiai app and then login using your Facebook account. You will need to fill out basic profile information, such as name, age, and gender, and then fill out more advanced and detailed options such as income, body type, education, and nationality.

You will also have the opportunity to fill out what you are looking for in your ideal mate. The verification process is strict and is monitored every 24 hours to prevent fake profiles from being added.

How to Locate Potential Matches

You can search other profiles by setting up your filters to narrow down what you are looking for. You can filter by age, region, gender, and much more (see unique app features below).

You can also see when users last logged in, so you aren’t sending messages to someone who no longer is an active user. Some users have found the site a bit complicated to navigate, and you must know the Japanese language in order to use the app as it is purely in Japanese.

How to Communicate with Other Members

Messaging is free for women, but men must pay for an account in order to communicate with women. This gives women more of a guarantee that men are serious about dating.

Unique App Features

The best feature is Omiai’s filter option. You have the ability to zero in on what you are looking for in your match. You can filter by income, body type, education, hobbies, and so much more.

In all, there are 24 different areas you can filter by, including nationality; so if you are Japanese looking for an American man or woman in Japan, you can do that.

Omiai is strict with fake profiles. They have 24-hour security on the site, and all profiles must go through a strict photo verification process before being approved. Omiai also participates in the “Marriage and Marriage Support Project” which aims to match singles and increase the marriage rate in Japan.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

By buying a premium membership, you can do the following:

  • See if your match read your message
  • Send gifts to matches you are interested in
  • You can match and message other members

Omiai is strictly intended for those living in Japan or in Japanese regions around the world. It gets high marks for distancing itself from other Japanese apps that are targeted strictly for casual dating.

Omiai wants to pair people up for the long term and help them find their future soulmate. By providing lots of profile details and strict filters, it hopes to accomplish this.

5. Tapple

Tapple

Tapple

Designed by a famous IT company in Japan, CyberAgent, Tapple is a dating app that matches users based on their hobbies. Instead of filling out a profile or swiping to find other users, you are uniquely matched based on common interests such as cooking, movies or sports.

According to data released by Tapple, 7,200 people find lovers through Tapple each month, while 4,500 users register each day. With over 5 million registered members, Tapple has boasted a total of over 2 billion matches, making it one of the largest sites in Japan.

If you are looking to visit Japan, plan to move to Japan, or are already living in Japan, Tapple might be a great option to find new connections or meet your future partner.

Sign up Process

To sign up for Tapple, you will need to do so in either Chinese or Japanese. It is possible to sign up with your email or Facebook.

Your next step is to outline your name, birth date, and gender as well as a few other questions in Japanese or Chinese. Finally, choose a password, agree to the terms, and upload a photo.

How to Locate Potential Matches

On Tapple you do not choose your own matches, but rather select hobbies and interests in order to be matched with other members. Although it will be in Japanese or Chinese, there are photos to help you select these hobbies and interests.

Choose from options such as social media, playing instruments, concerts, playing games, watching television, art, fashion, exercise, cooking, or eating. You must choose at least five to continue.

The next section is the subcategories. Some of these are in English, but you can also use a translation app if you would like to do this more accurately.

On your home screen, you will then be able to view other members who have selected the same hobbies or interests as you, and swipe left to pass, or right to show interest.

How to Communicate with Other Members

After sending likes to other members, you will need to wait to be matched in return. As a woman, you will need to wait to be sent a message, but as a man, you will have to pay in order to send that message to a woman who has sent you a “like”.

Unique App Features

Match based on hobbies: Whether you are interested in cooking, sports, or Youtube, you can connect with other singles that are interested in that too. 

Special Picks: Each day you will be given four special picks who match your hobbies and interests. You can decide if you want to send one of them a free super like. 

Outing function: This function allows you 24 hours to speak regarding a common interest or hobby, and expects you to meet within that 24-hour period. If you do not fulfill your outing, the conversation will be deleted.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

There are two options for memberships on Tapple, either the free plan or paid plan. As a woman, the entire site is actually free, but as a man, you must pay monthly to send any messages.

Choose one month, three months, six months or one year at a time. The price will gradually decrease per month the more you purchase at one time.

Although Tapple is free for everyone to sign up and match, the only way to actually speak to another single, or meet for an outing, is if the man pays to send the woman a message. Without one member being on a paid level, there will be no messaging, only matching.

Further Reading

  • Worldwide Online Dating Site Reviews: Be sure to check out my country-by-country reviews of the best online dating sites in the world.

  • Worldwide Moving Guide: Everything you need to know in order to plan your move to 65+ countries around the world.

  • Worldwide Jobs Guide: If you are interested in working in this country, be sure to check out my posts on how to find jobs in this country and other countries around the world.

  • Worldwide Apartments Guide: If you are interested in renting an apartment in another country, take a look at my articles on how to find an apartment in various countries around the world.

About Addison Sears-Collins

Hey! I'm Addison Sears-Collins, the founder of Visa Hunter. You can learn more about me here. Connect with me by liking my fan page on Facebook, connecting with me on Twitter, or check out my website Automatic Addison where I build robots and embedded systems.

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