If you’re looking for a connection, that special someone, how about trying dating apps in Japan? We introduce the most popular dating apps in Japan currently, while also introducing the experiences of people who have actually used them!
First Posted: Nov 10, 2022
Updated: Mar 8, 2023
Table of Contents
- Popular Dating Apps in Japan
- How do you choose which dating app to use?
- General Advice for Foreign Nationals Thinking to Use Dating Apps in Japan
- To Close
Popular Dating Apps in Japan
Using apps to meet people has become much more popular in recent years in Japan, so much that it’s not really “hush hush” anymore to mention that you met someone through an app.
According to a survey by Meiji Yasuda Seimei (Life Insurance), 1 out of 5 couples (22.6%) that got married this year in Japan met via dating apps, taking first place in the survey and beating out "through work" and "through school" for the first time.
※Yahoo News, "5人に1人が「マッチングアプリ」で結婚 出会いのきっかけ「職場」や「学校」抜き首位に"
But as a result of their increasing popularity, there have been so many new dating apps, so where to even start?
Here are the most popular dating apps in Japan by number of users. (as of March 2023)
Pairs is the largest and most popular dating app in Japan with over 10 million users.
Most people are looking for serious relationships and future marriage partners.
It has many success stories thanks to the sheer number of people using the app, as well as its community feature which makes it easy to meet people who have the same interests, such as watching movies, fine dining, etc.
Cost: 3590 a month for men; free for women
Majority of users: late 20s and 30s, but has a wide range of users
Tapple has over 6 million users and is continuing to grow more popular. It’s known for being easy to use, easy to express interest (through “flicks” rather than swipes) and start a conversation. You can also set up dates easily with your matches with Tapple’s “odekake kinou” (going out feature).
Cost: For basic plan, 3700 a month for men and free for women. Other paid plans for men/women available, price also depends on device.
Majority of users: people in their 20s
Omiai means an arranged matchmaking with someone, so this app “arranges” the meeting for you. It’s also geared more towards people looking for a marriage partner than something casual. Omiai has over 5 million users and says they successfully matched over 80 million couples.
Cost: 4800 for a 1 month plan for men; free for women
Majority of users: people in their 20s~30s
With over 4 million users, this app is popular with young people, including university students. While users might not be looking for marriage, they are more likely to be looking for a stable partner. You can take the in-app personality tests to see what kind of people you are best matched with.
Cost: 3600 yen a month for men; free for women
Majority of users: late teens to early 30s
Tinder is a familiar name around the world perhaps, and it’s caught on in Japan as well. However, if you plan to use Tinder in Japan, note that it’s used a little differently here. Of course, you can find people looking for a casual one-night thing, but there are also people who use the app to make friends, connect with other like-minded people, and to find a serious partner as well. It has 4 million users with paid membership, but 7 million overall!
Cost: Free for everyone (with paid membership available)
Majority of users: people in their 20s~30s
Other Popular Dating Apps and Sites in Japan
The ones listed above are the top 5, but of course there are many other options.
Bumble (more popular with foreign nationals but starting to get more popular in Japan)
and many many more! It sometimes takes a little time to figure out the best one for you.
How do you choose which dating app to use in Japan?
Since there’s so many apps with various features and such, it can be quite daunting to even get started, especially if it’s your first time using dating apps, either in Japan or altogether.
We asked several people about their various experiences with dating apps to hear what they had to say.
Just Try the Popular, Reputable Ones Out
Some people simply just try out the major ones to get a feel for the app, how to use it, and what kind of people are on it.
“Most apps are free for women, so it’s a matter of just trying them out and seeing which one is easy to use for you, and what the options are like. It also feels safer and more comfortable to use apps run by larger companies”
Another person answered the following when asked how they chose which app to use:
“Ads, reviews, just downloading them to try them out before deciding”
while another person shared the following:
“I based it off a couple factors. One is based on what I am looking for (e.g. a serious relationship or hookup) and then also the reputation of the app. I tended to use apps that were recommended by friends who have used them or apps that are popular (i.e. generally more people are on there so more chances of getting matches). Also whether the app has a reputation for having success (based on my purpose for using it).”
By Price, Age Range and Features
As mentioned above, a lot of the apps have a monthly price for men, and not that cheap either, while generally being free for women. It makes choosing the app a more serious affair, so it’s important to see what you can get for the price you pay.
For example, despite being the most popular app, one person mentioned that Pairs doesn’t give you as many “likes” to use for the initial price you pay, meaning that you would have to pay more to get more “likes” to use, whereas Tapple has more “flicks” (their equivalent of “likes”) available for the initial price.
However, Tapple tends to be a more casual app than Pairs, so it really depends on what you’re looking for.
Age and What Kind of Relationship You Want
Age range of users doesn’t determine what kind of relationship a person is looking for, but if you have a general age preference, that can be important for choosing which app you use.
But the most important thing is being clear what exactly you are looking for.
As another person shared,
“I've had most success with Tapple and generally have a good impression. It can be a bit of a hit and miss in terms of who you match with as some people are not looking for something serious. There are also sometimes people on there for 'business' so I would be careful in terms of that (e.g. hosts who want you to go their club).”
Certain apps are also more intuitive than others, and have features geared for different kinds of personalities and lifestyles, so it also depends on what kind of app you’re looking for
Something to use every day? Certain apps require an initial response within 24 hours
Based on location / easy to meet up? You’ll have more options in larger cities / more populated areas
Mostly for direct messaging? Or getting to know people in groups first? With many of the popular apps, you can join groups based on your interests, so it’s easy to find people you have things in common with and easier to strike up our conversation, which was helpful to one of the people we talked to
General Advice for Foreign Nationals Thinking to Use Dating Apps in Japan
Are you thinking of dating Japanese people? Or other foreign nationals? This can determine which app you use. While many foreign nationals tend to try out Tinder and Bumble first for being familiar, some of the Japanese apps - Pairs, Tapple, etc. - have an option to filter by where you’re from, so don’t be afraid to try out those as well.
Here’s what some had to say about their experiences:
“For foreign nationals who want to use these apps, I would generally say go for it but you do have to have a reasonable understanding of Japanese and you are less likely to find bilingual speakers (on the Japanese apps).”
“It seems difficult if you don’t know basic Japanese to communicate. And regardless of nationality and app, there’s always weird people so be careful.”
“I really think it depends on what you are looking for and your level of Japanese. Apps like Tinder and Bumble will be better bets for those looking for other foreign nationals or Japanese people who are bilingual. If you are looking to date a Japanese person, then I would focus on apps that are popular here like Pairs and Tapple.”
We hope this article introduced the basics of what popular dating apps in Japan are like and what experiences using them might be like.
However, each experience is unique, and it may take some time to find the best app and person/people for you!
With that, here’s some final advice and encouragement by those who have used these apps!
“It’s convenient to use apps, but make sure to have at least a decent conversation with people before you meet up with them!”
“Dating apps can be a really great way to meet people and I don't mean just in a romantic way. I used Bumble's bff function to meet friends and that really helped me create connections as a new person in Tokyo.”