Top 15 Best Japanese Dating Apps Online 2019 – Tried and True!

Top 15 Best Japanese Dating Apps Online 2019 - Tried and True!

The thing about being overseas is loneliness gets to you. Fast. And it doesn’t help that Tinder isn’t cutting it for you anymore. (Or maybe you’re thinking about trying a dating app for the first time but are feeling a bit chicken.) You don’t know what kind of people you’re going to be paired with–will they be looking for a date, marriage, or just friendship? Will we have similar interests? Will I even find a match?

Okay, well, first, slow down. Breathe. To help you out, we tried out the 15 most popular Japanese dating apps, and picked out ones that would be most effective at finding someone a girlfriend. Members from our editing department came together and compared the following:

  1. How Serious Users are about Dating
  2. Results (How Many Likes Received & Matches Made)
  3. How Suitable Matches were (Age, Appearance, and General Atmosphere)
  4. Cost

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese dating apps.

※All apps were tested by Japanese staff in Japanese. Even in cases that the app was originally non-Japanese (like Tinder), we downloaded and tested the Japanese version.

Table of Contents

Introducing a Normal Guy in His 30s in Search of a Girlfriend

This time around, we invited Mr. Y, a normal guy in his 30s, to work with us and try out all 15 apps in hopes of finding himself a girlfriend.

Mr. Y
〈Mr. Y〉

Normal Guy

Age: Early 30s
Height: Bit over 5'8"
Occupation: Back office job at an IT corporation
Salary: Bit higher than that of a typical man in his early 30s
Education: College grad
Hobbies: Food and weight training
Comment from the man himself: I want a girlfriend. It's not like I'm desperate to get married, but if I do find someone nice, I'd like to date and, if all goes well, settle down with her some day.

If the Application’s a Spin-off of a Popular Dating Site, There’s Probably Lots of Spam and Fraud

The Longer an Application's been Around, the Higher the Possibility of Spam and Fraud

The number one rule when it comes to online dating is don’t get suckered. That means stay away from sites and applications that are full of spam and frauds. Usually, if the application’s an extension of a long-standing site, such as YYC or Happy Mail, it’s full of dupes and fakes.

What do we mean when we say “frauds”? They’re users who use dating apps, but not to look for a date (or even a fling). They swipe right and make it seem like they’re interested, but then they try to get you to join weird seminars or to wire over some cash.

If any of the following starts happening frequently, you can be sure there’s a frauds a-lurking. And as amusing as James Veitch was on TED Talks, as soon as you feel like something’s off, we recommend cutting off all correspondence.

  • People quit the room after sending just a single message.
  • You get quite a few extremely suggestive messages. (e.g. “Lately, my husband hasn’t been satisfying me at night.”)
  • You get quite a few messages about money. (e.g. “I know a way to earn cash fast.”)

How to Choose a Japanese Dating App – Buying Guide

We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the applications, but first we’d like to introduce three things you should look out for when choosing a Japanese dating app.

Just keep in mind that this buying guide is geared towards those in search of a girlfriend.

① Get an App that’s in Line with Your Purpose and How Serious You Want to Get

Over time, most dating apps take on a kind of character, depending on what kind of people use them. Broadly speaking, we’d say there are three main types of apps in the world: romantic, marriage-oriented, and casual.

Any app will have users looking for long-term relationships, but, generally speaking, different attitudes trend on different apps. Users will show different levels of commitment, wish to interact differently, and have put more or less thought towards the future.

So take a moment and think about what you want to get out of a relationship and then choose an app that answers to those needs. Below, we go into more detail about the different types of apps and how to identify them.

Marriage-Oriented: If You’re Hoping to Find Someone to Spend the Rest of Your Life with

Marriage-Oriented: If You're Hoping to Find Someone to Spend the Rest of Your Life with

Marriage-oriented apps are full of people who are looking to seriously date; their goal is to sound out potential marriage partners. If you yourself hope (even just a bit) to find someone nice and tie the knot in the foreseeable future, then use these apps by all means. But if you’re looking to hang out, no strings attached, then be wary of apps with the following characteristics.

Most marriage-oriented apps feature detailed profiles. They have numerous fields to fill out and get especially specific when it comes to questions about love and marriage. Users depict their careers, personalities, hobbies, and weekends in long paragraphs. They will also discuss deeper topics, such as their ideal relationship or household structure.

If you want to get a feel for what these apps are like, here are a few of the most popular:

  • youbride
  • marrish
  • Zexy Enmusubi (ゼクシィ縁結び)

Romantic: If You’re Looking for Love, but Don’t Want to Think about the Long Term Just Yet

Romantic: If You're Looking for Love, but Don't Want to Think about the Long Term Just Yet

Romantic apps attract women looking for actual relationships. They’re best for people who aren’t ready to think about marriage yet but are looking to be something more than sex friends. You know, you just want a girlfriend. That’s all.

These apps feature users of all ages, with all sorts of personalities. Expect people who are very keen on finding someone, who say in their profiles things like “I just broke up with my boyfriend, so I thought I’d give this app a try and meet some new people” or “If we hit it off, let’s meet up.” Still, the tone’s kept light and casual, for better or worse.

If you want to get a feel for what these apps are like, here are a few of the most popular:

  • Pairs
  • with
  • Zexy Koimusubi (ゼクシィ恋結び)

Casual: If You Want to Start off as Friends and then Maybe Have It Develop into Something Deeper

Casual: If You Want to Start off as Friends and then Maybe Have It Develop into Something Deeper

Casual apps are full of people who are looking for something noncommittal, like a drinking buddy or a sex friend. And if they find someone they particularly like, then they’ll let the relationship develop from there. So if you’re someone who’s like “I don’t want to meet up and jump straight into a marriage or a formal relationship,” then you’re best off here.

These apps usually feature super short profiles, often asking you to judge people after just a quick glance at their photos. If there is something written, it’s usually short and simple like “Looking for friends” or “Let’s just go out for a drink.” People are looking for casual meet ups and hook ups and not actively expecting anything more.

If you want to get a feel for what these apps are like, here are a few of the most popular:

  • Tinder
  • mimi
  • Tapple Tanjo (タップル誕生)

② Get an App with the Right Demographics (We Mean Age, Appearance, and Personality)

Get an App with the Right Demographics (We Mean Age, Appearance, and Personality)

You want an app filled with users you feel comfortable with.

For example, eveeve and Poiboy feature a bunch of cute girls in their early twenties, largely looking to hang out. Then there’s Zexy Enmusubi and Omiai, where you’ll find women in their early thirties, in search of committed relationships. There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, apps attract people of a certain age, style, and disposition.

We looked at what kind of users were most common on all of the apps we tested, so make sure you check that out below.

③ Get an App that isn’t Going to Empty Your Wallet

In Japan, a lot of dating apps charge men more than women, so, yes, money is a factor. Sometimes you need to buy a subscription to message those you’re paired with, and sometimes certain in-app features will cost you.

Most apps will either let you browse profiles and send likes just to people who appeal to you, or they’ll send you a bunch of random profiles, which you then have to sort through. Let’s talk about how both of these systems seek to make money, and then look at which may offer you the better deal.

Apps that Let You Browse Profiles and Send Likes

Apps that Let You Browse Profiles and Send Likes

Basically, you only send likes to people who particularly appeal to you. You browse a bunch of profiles, looking at pictures and reading descriptions; you then compare them in your mind and only send likes to those that appealed to you most. This ensures that not a single one of your likes goes to waste.

As for the number of likes you get to send–usually you receive a monthly allotment or a free few ones for daily logins. If you run out, then you have to buy extra ones. Apps that employ this feature usually charge you quite a lot for any additional likes you buy, and they don’t offer you that many likes for free.

If you’re someone that likes to pore over every inch of a user’s profile and then spend a long time mulling over who to choose, then these apps will probably offer you the better deal. In our tables, we’ll refer to this as the browse and like system.

Apps that Send You Random Profiles to Sort through

Apps that Send You Random Matches to Sort through

Here, the app sends you a bunch of random profiles, and you decide yea or nay for each. So you can’t take time to browse and only send likes to people who really leave an impression. Instead, a bunch of short profiles pop up on screen and you just go with your gut instinct; you don’t really need to think, which makes using these apps a breeze.

It doesn’t usually cost much to get the app to send you more profiles, and you also get quite a few free ones just for logging in every day. And if you were to give everyone a thumbs up, you’d be opening yourself up to the biggest number of potential dates–far more than if you had used the browse and like system.

These apps are best for people who choose partners largely based on appearance. In our tables, we will refer to this as the yea or nay system.

What Apps We Downloaded and How We Tested Them

What Apps We Downloaded and How We Tested Them

Now to introduce the 15 top-downloaded apps that we tried out and the process by which we tested them.

A quick note. This time around, we were searching for an app that would appeal to those not looking for a sex friend and not looking for a marriage partner, but rather hoping for a serious girlfriend and a relationship with some amount of commitment. Our scores and rankings reflect this bias.

<The Apps We Tested>

  1. Pairs
  2. with
  3. Omiai
  4. Mimi
  5. eveeve (イヴイヴ)
  6. CROSS ME (クロスミー)
  7. Tapple Tanjo (タップル誕生)
  8. Zexy Koimusubi (ゼクシィ恋結び)
  9. Zexy Enmusubi (ゼクシィ縁結び)
  10. youbride
  11. marrish (マリッシュ)
  12. (マッチドットコム)
  13. Tinder
  14. Poiboy
  15. Dine

We then tested each for the following things:

Test ①: How Serious Users are about Dating
Test ②: Results (How Many Likes Received & Matches Made)
Test ③: How Suitable Matches were (Age, Appearance, and General Atmosphere)
Test ④: Cost

Test ①: How Serious Users are about Dating

How Serious Users are about Dating

First, we looked at how serious users were about going on a date.

We had our normal guy, Mr. Y, send likes to 100 women he found appealing on all 15 applications. We then looked at what users wrote on their profiles, the kind of pictures they uploaded, and how they communicated with Mr. Y. We finally graded each application on how much effort users were willing to make to find and meet potential romantic partners.

We’d like to remind you that since we were trying to determined the best app on which to find a girlfriend, we were checking for users that were committed to starting a romantic relationship; they could neither be too serious (e.g. looking for a marriage partner) nor too light (e.g. looking for drinking buddies and/or sex friends).

The Big Takeaway: Zexy Koimusubi and Omiai Featured the Most Users Really Looking for Romantic Relationships

The Big Takeaway: Zexy Koimusubi and Omiai Featured the Most Users Really Looking for Romantic Relationships

We found that women in search of a boyfriend tend to gravitate towards Zexy Koimusubi and Omiai. These apps had two big things in common: their profiles were neither too detailed nor too short, and content was neither too deep nor too casual–it was in that Goldilocks zone.

There weren’t any fancy features, like communities or compatibility tests, nor did the apps drop any huge questions on you, such as how your household’s structured or how you envision married life to be. Everything was short and simple, and even people just getting into online dating should be able to navigate the app easily.

You can get a general picture of users just by reading their profiles, and most of them are pretty proactive about sending likes, so Zexy Koimusubi and Omiai are perfect if you’re looking for someone nice to date.

Mr. Y
Normal Guy
Mr. Y's comment
A lot of women on dating apps tend to be passive, waiting for the guy to step up and find a topic to talk about, but on Zexy Koimusubi and Omiai, I met a lot of people who actively tried continue to the conversation.

I could tell they were serious about dating because they suggested new topics to discuss or asked tons of questions—all in an effort to get to know their partners better.

Test ②: Results (How Many Likes Received and Matches Made)

Results (How Many Likes Received and Matches Made)

Next we asked Mr. Y, our normal dude in his thirties, to tell us how many likes he got on each app and then how many people he was actually paired with.

We tried to be as consistent as possible. He used the same picture and filled in his profile the same way on each application; he also logged in about once or twice a day and sent out 100 likes daily. On his profile, we had him make clear that he was looking for a romantic partner.

Now, we understand that results vary greatly from person to person, so we didn’t take Mr. Y’s personal numbers into consideration when compiling our ranking. But we hope this’ll give you a rough idea of what a super average guy in his thirties can expect to get out of each application.

The Big Takeaway: with was the Only Application where Mr. Y was Left with No Likes and No Matches

The Big Takeaway: with was the Only Application were Mr. Y was Left with No Likes and No Matches

Mr. Y went through all the same motions–used the same picture, filled out his profile in the same way–but, for some reason, with was the only application that wasn’t able to earn him any likes or find him any matches.

with has a unique way of pairing up its users; it gets you to take personality and compatibility tests, then allows you to send “likes” to people with the same results for free. Unlike the majority of dating applications, you won’t be able to get many likes or matches until you’ve completely filled out your profile and learned to use a bunch of different in-app features.

Therefore, if you like taking compatibility and personality tests, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy with; if you find it a pain, then you won’t enjoy it.

Mr. Y
Normal Guy
Mr. Y's comment
If I hadn't been popular on all the other apps, then I would've thought it was a problem with me. However, I did get likes on other platforms, even if it wasn't a whole lot—so I can't believe my experience with with. (laughs)

But it taught me a lesson. Before becoming a premium member, I should've done the trial or at least tried all the free features first so I could see if the app would actually earn me likes or pair me up with anyone.

So yeah, even though all the money I put toward my premium membership went to waste this time around, I'll just tell myself I paid for the lesson learned. (laughs)

Test ③: How Suitable Matches were (Age, Appearance, and General Atmosphere)

How Suitable Matches were (Age, Appearance, and General Atmosphere)

Next, Mr. Y pretty much told us what he thought about the users on each app.

Now, we understand that tastes and preferences regarding age, appearance, and personality will differ from person to person, so we also didn’t take these results into consideration when compiling our ranking. But again, we hope that Mr. Y’s impressions will give you an idea of what you can expect from each application.

The Big Takeaway: When It Came to Sincerity, Women on Zexy’s Apps were Way Ahead of the Pack

The Big Takeaway: When It Came to Sincerity, Women on Zexy's Apps were Way Ahead of the Pack

Mr. Y found women who used Zexy’s apps to be sincere. Many were in their twenties or thirties, looking for a committed relationship, and generally came off as serious (as in not frivolous) and sincere. They were women you’d want to seriously date.

There weren’t many pictures that were odd or suggestive or profiles that were messily done. Mr. Y liked that most pictures were of the users smiling and were taken by other people either while they’re out with friends or just going through their day.

As for appearance, most women were cute or pretty and uploaded pictures that weren’t too over the top–nothing from purikura (those photo booths that triple the size of your eyes), for instance, or apps that add blush and puppy ears on to you.

Mr. Y
Normal Guy
Mr. Y's comment
There's a sense of trust that comes with the brand name Zexy. After all, they run a well-known company (helps with wedding planning and publishes a popular magazine), so it makes sense that people that are more serious would choose to use Zexy's dating apps.

Other apps had a lot of girls who weren't really interested in romance and only signed up to kill time, and it made me feel stupid, getting so serious. On Zexy's apps, however, I didn't run into too many people who were just there to kill time, and I liked that.

Test ④: Cost


Next, we looked at how much each app would cost you.

We took into consideration how much a monthly subscription would cost, the app’s features, and how many free likes you received and then weighed that against the results Mr. Y (your supremely average dude) got out of each app.

Again, because this test had to do with Mr. Y’s personal results, we didn’t let it affect our ranking. We just hope it’ll be of help to you next time you’re looking to download a dating app.

The Big Takeaway: As Long as You Know the Ropes, You Can Meet Tons of People for Free on Tinder

The Big Takeaway: As Long as You Know the Ropes, You Can Meet Tons of People for Free on Tinder

Generally speaking, if you’re looking to get serious and get as much out of an app as you can, then expect to spend about 5000 yen (~$50) a month on both subscription services and extra likes.

However, Tinder lets you send 120 likes every 12 hours for free. Its messaging service doesn’t cost anything either. As long as you’re patient and know your way around, you might be able to meet someone nice for free.

By the way, Poiboy has something called a POI SCORE, which is an index of how popular you are. Earn a POI SCORE of over 4.5, and use Poiboy’s messaging service for free. So if you’re confident that you can appeal to Poiboy’s main users–that is, women in their late teens to early twenties–then you might find this app a steal as well.

Mr. Y
Normal Guy
Mr. Y's comment
This is just FYI, but as an average dude in his thirties, I thought that Zexy Enmusubi offered the best deal.

You get 30 free likes (to send) just for registering. Then, on the first two days you log in, you get five free likes and on the third, you get ten, and this pattern repeats itself. You can get another 80 likes if you sign up for premium membership. Because you get so many likes, you can freely send out likes and not need to worry about running out afterwards.

I also received more likes and matches on Zexy Koimusubi than on most other apps—and people I was paired with were more keen to continue the relationship. This app really made me feel like I was getting my money's worth.

The Final Verdict: Top 15 Best Japanese Dating Apps Online 2019

Now to introduce the 15 best Japanese dating apps available online. Keep in mind that we ranked apps based on how effective they’d be at finding you a nice girlfriend.

※As these are Japanese apps, the links will take you to the Japanese AppStore and Japanese Google Play store.

15. Diverse.Inc PoiBoy

Price: Free

Unless You’re Good Looking, This App Will Leave You out in the Cold

This is an app where women choose men. Profiles are so simple, you might as well have nothing at all. Female users will send men likes largely based on their profile pictures; if you aren’t photogenic, you might not get paired up at all. Therefore, unless you have some confidence in your physical appearance, you’re better off using some other app.

Type Casual Average Age Late Teens – Early 20s
Appearance/Personality Assertive, Flippant Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) Over 30: 4300 Yen; Under 30: 3400 Yen (Women: Free)
System Yea or Nay Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 3; Matches: 3
Serious about Love? D

14. Mrk & Co Dine

Price: Free

For Those Looking to Eat out with Beauties. If You’re Looking for a Romantic Partner, You’re Barking up the Wrong Tree

This app is full of women looking to be treated to an expensive dinner. Unless you’re a man with both looks and money, you probably aren’t going to find true love here. The female users are all quite attractive themselves, so if you’re looking to have a nice dinner at a nice restaurant with a beautiful women, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

Type Casual – LF a Sugar Daddy Average Age 20s – 30s
Appearance/Personality Attractive, Beau Monde Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 6500 Yen (Women: 6500 Yen)
System Yea or Nay Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 5; Matches: 3
Serious about Love? D

13. CA MOBILE, LTD. mimi

Price: Free

Full of Women Just Looking to Kill Time. Didn’t Really Produce Results

There just weren’t many women actually looking for romance. Most female users just wanted to kill some time, which made Mr. Y feel like he was wasting his. He matched with just one woman and exchanged LINEs with her, but she turned out to be someone working in cyptocurrency and kept inviting him to seminars.

This painful experience caused Mr. Y to lose trust in the administration and monitoring of the app as a whole.

Type Casual Average Age Early 20s
Appearance/Personality Flirtatious, Flippant Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 3900 Yen (Women: Free)
System Yea or Nay Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 24; Matches: 1
Serious about Love? C

12. Tinder Inc. Tinder

Price: Free

Den of Libertines. Consider Yourself Lucky if You Meet the Occasional “Normal One”

This is the haunt of attractive but sexually assertive women. Mr. Y was hoping to find just everyday women who would be like, “Oh, I thought I’d give Tinder a try because my friend recommended it to me,” but they were few and far in between. Be patient and consider yourself lucky if you find someone who isn’t quite so over the top.

Still, as long as you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to meet a lot of women and never have to open your wallet.

Type Romantic – Casual Average Age 20s – 30s
Appearance/Personality Assertive, Casual Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 2200 Yen (Women: 2200 Yen)
System Yea or Nay Results (2 Weeks) Receives Likes: 2; Matches: 2
Serious about Love? D

11. Diverse.Inc youbride

Price: Free

If You’re Seriously Looking to Get Married. Actually, It’d be Rude to Use this App unless You were Seriously Looking to Get Married

This app features extremely detailed profiles and will ask questions on how your household’s structured–whether or not your have siblings or still live with your parents–and have you lay out in detail your values regarding marriage. It’s perfect for those looking to tie the knot.

Actually, you’d be going remiss if you met up with someone and didn’t see them as a potential wife. If you’re planning on using this app, make sure you have marriage somewhere in your sights.

Type Marriage-Oriented Average Age 30s – 40s
Appearance/Personality Average, Earnest Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 4300 Yen (Women: 4300 Yen)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 5; Matches: 2
Serious about Love? C

10. MatchingAgent, Inc. Tapple Tanjo

Price: Free

Tons of Cute Girls, but Not Many are Looking for a Serious Relationship

There were lots of cute girls, so Mr. Y had a lot of fun sorting through the random pictures Tapple threw at him. However, few of them were really looking for relationships. Hardly anyone put effort into their profiles, and even when he was paired, most women had two or three conversations with Mr. Y before getting bored and losing touch altogether.

Type Romance – Casual Average Age 20s
Appearance/Personality Cute, Casual Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 3900 Yen (Women: Free)
System Yea or Nay Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 16; Matches: 2
Serious about Love? C

9. marrish marrish

Price: Free

An App for Those Seeking to Remarry, which Attracts Quite a Few Single Mothers

This is a dating app geared towards those seeking remarriage. There were a comparatively high number of single mothers, and while single women who’ve never been married did exist, when Mr. Y looked for women who were “below 32, living in Kanto, a non-smoker,” the search results returned almost no active users.

So, if you’re an average dude in his early 30s, there might not be many women you’d want to send likes to.

Type Marriage-Oriented Average Age 30s – 50s
Appearance/Personality Arch, Earnest Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) In-App: 3400 Yen; Online: 2980 Yen (Women: Free)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 4; Matches: 5
Serious about Love? B

8. Playmotion, Inc. CROSS ME

Price: Free

Filled with Assertive Women who Want to Meet the Same Day

This app’s also pretty unique; it has features that pair you up with people you’ve passed, just in the street, or with those that can meet that very same day. Most users are more casual, looking to have fun rather than to build a serious relationship.

The app also uses up a lot of data and can get pretty laggy. Sometimes, you have to wait five to ten seconds after sending a like, which means the possibility of missed chances and building frustration.

Type Romantic – Casual Average Age 20s – 30s
Appearance/Personality Frivolous, Casual Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 3800 Yen (Women: Free)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 30; Matches: 6
Serious about Love? B

7. Market Drive Inc. eveeve

Price: Free

Lots of Nice People on Here. Now, if Only They were Active

Mr. Y found it comforting that many woman on this app were average, both in their appearance and general demeanor. But while Mr. Y found a lot of women he’d be interested in meeting, there were so few active users that he didn’t even use up the free likes he got for signing up.

Users must also be approved upon application. Sometimes, you’re asked to send in multiple portrait photos, which means approval can take up to 24 hours. And it kind of sucks to finally talk yourself into trying out a dating app, only to be told you can’t use it right away.

Type Romantic Average Age 20s
Appearance/Personality Average, Relaxed Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 3600 Yen (Women: None)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 4; Matches: 3
Serious about Love? B

6. Match Group, LLC

Price: Free

A Unique App where the Women Actively Message the Men

We aren’t sure about apps from other countries, but women on Japanese dating apps are comparatively quiet. However, on, even if you don’t do anything, you’ll probably get a few messages from interested women. Most users were quite proactive about finding a new partner, and you could tell that they really read your profile from the long messages they sent.

However, age-wise, users were on the higher end of the scale, so it may be that more are looking for marriage partners rather than potential boyfriends.

Type Marriage-Oriented Average Age 30s – Early 40s
Appearance/Personality Average, Earnest Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) 5000 Yen (Women: 5000 Yen)
System Browse and Like & Yea or Nay Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 22; Matches: 10
Serious about Love? A

5. IGNIS LTD. with

Price: Free

For the Younger Crew. The Key to Success Lies in Whether You can Use and Take Advantage of the Personality and Compatibility Tests

This application is full of compatibility and personality tests, all supervised by the celebrity mentalist, DaiGo. We don’t know if it’s because they enjoy these types of things, but the app featured a lot of energetic young women.

Like on every other app, you have to complete your profile and send likes; in addition, if you don’t take full advantage of all the extra features with offers, you won’t be able to find a match. If you like personality tests and want to entertain yourself with extra features and maybe find a romantic partner while you’re at it, then with is a good place to be.

Type Romantic Average Age 20s
Appearance/Personality Varying, Energetic Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) In-App: 4100 Yen; Online: 3400 Yen (Women: Free)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 0; Matches: 0
Serious about Love? A

4. Recruit Marketing Partners Zexy Enmusubi

Price: Free

Perfect if You’re Looking to Date with the Possibility of Marriage. No One’s Too Aggressive about Tying the Knot

Everyone’s probably already heard of Recruit–it’s one of Japan’s leading firms. Well, they run Zexy’s marriage-oriented app. We say marriage-oriented, but no one is too aggressive about tying the knot. It’s more like they want to date and then get married once they find “the one.”

Most girls who Mr. Y got paired up with responded to his messages, and it was rare that someone would suddenly cut off correspondence or ignore him. Profiles featured in detail views on love and marriage and hopes for the future, so by the time you’re paired, you’ve sounded each other out already. Therefore, you could also say this app is really efficient.

Type Marriage-Oriented Average Age 30s
Appearance/Personality Down to Earth, Earnest Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) In-App: 4900 Yen (Women: 4900 Yen); Online: 4298 Yen (Women: 4298 Yen)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 11; Matches: 6
Serious about Love? A

3. eureka,Inc. Pairs

Price: Free

You’ll Probably Find Someone, as Pairs Boasts the Most Users in Japan. Beginner-Friendly and Features Users that are Neither Too Serious nor Too Flippant

Pairs has over 8 million users, making it the most popular dating app in Japan. And with a great number of users comes a great variety of users, so you’ve got a good chance of finding someone who’s suited to you.

There were many people who were new to the online dating scene or started on a whim–either because they don’t really get a chance to meet people in their day-to-day lives or a friend recommended it–but it’s not like they weren’t committed. Users were just casual and light-hearted in their interactions, and we mean that in a good way.

The app and its features are easy to use, so it’s perfect for beginners. If you’re looking to try your first dating app, then you can’t go wrong with Pairs.

Type Romantic Average Age 20s – 30s
Appearance/Personality Varying, Average Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) In-App: 4100 Yen; Online 3480 Yen (Women: Free)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 7; Matches: 2
Serious about Love? A

2. New Marketing Co., Ltd Omiai

Price: Free

Full of Pretty Girls Looking for a Serious Relationship. If You’re One that Falls for Good Looks, then This App Will Make You Fall

This app was released in February of 2012 and has a long-standing reputation.

Most users are in their late twenties or thirties–that age where you’re kind of thinking about marriage–and are quite commited. They aren’t looking for marriage partners, per se, but they’re hoping for romantic relationships that could possibly blossom into marriage if they go well. Mr. Y also found all the women pretty.

Likes, however, run out quickly, so you’ll probably be making a lot of in-app purchases. Most apps just ask for just a single like per user, but on Omiai, you’re made to sent five or even ten likes to popular users. You also don’t get that many free likes just for logging in. So if you want to meet top users–who usually have both looks and drive–be prepared to spend.

Type Romantic – Marriage-Oriented Age Late 20s – 30s
Appearance/Personality Cute, Earnest Premium Membership (For Men, 1 Month) In-App: 3900 Yen; Online: 3480 Yen (Women: None)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 10; Matches: 3
Serious about Love? A+

1. Recruit Marketing Partners Zexy Koimusubi

Price: Free

If You’re Serious about Romantic Relationships… Not Only are Users Sincere, but the App Itself is Kind to Your Wallet

We don’t know if it’s because this is another app that the huge corporation, Recruit, is behind, but most women on this app are sincere and quite earnest about finding a romantic partner.

Profiles are completely filled out, paragraphs informative and questions answered, and many female users that Mr. Y messaged took the lead in conversation and suggested things to talk about. There were way more women who were serious about seeking romantic relationships on Zexy than on all other dating apps.

You also get plenty of free likes, so you can send them out without worry. There’s 30 likes just for singing up, then you get more in repeating three-day intervals: five on the first and second day and ten on the third. You also get 80 more likes if you sign up for premium membership, so it’s unlikely you’d have to buy extra likes, especially with premium membership.

Type Romantic Average Age 20s – Early 30s
Appearance/Personality Sincere, Earnest Premium Members (For Men, 1 Month) In-App: 3900 Yen (Women: 120 Yen for the First Time); Online: 3480 Yen (Women: 108 Yen for the First Time)
System Browse and Like Results (2 Weeks) Received Likes: 11; Matches: 5
Serious about Love? A+

Lessons from a Dating App Guru

Finally, we sat down with Mr. T, who’s been on the online dating scene for over eight years and has met up with over 200 women. He told us how to increase your chances of getting a date.

We then combined Mr. T’s advice with the opinions of a typical female user, who spent two months trying out all 15 applications we mentioned above. We’re pretty sure we have something to say that will be of use.

Get a Female Friend to Judge All Your Profile Pictures

Get a Female Friend to Judge All Your Profile Pictures

If you aren’t sure what to use for your profile picture, then ask a female friend for her opinion. In Japan, at least, it’s widely accepted that the same picture will leave a different impression depending on the sex and intentions of the viewer. If you want to know what a girl who’s looking for a date would possibly think, ask a female friend.

If you don’t have any close female friends to ask, then imagine the kind of pictures a woman you’d want to date would like. For example, if you’re looking for a girlfriend who loves to drink, then try uploading pictures of yourself with some nice sake, or if you want a girl who’s into fashion, then upload a picture of yourself wearing tasteful clothing and accessories.

This almost goes without saying, but pictures where you can’t see the subject’s face are shady. Doesn’t matter how little confidence you have in your looks, by uploading a picture where you can see your face, you’re showing other users you’re serious about dating, so do it.

Along the same lines, don’t use a group photo as your main or only picture because there’s no way of telling which one you are. Finally, try not to upload selfies or pictures taken with photo-editing services like SNOW because most people are disillusioned and know that that doesn’t actually look like you.

On Your Profile, Make Sure to List Hobbies and Things that You Like

On Your Profile, Make Sure to List Hobbies and Things that You Like

Don’t know what to put on your profile? Start off with things that you like. Humans enjoy being around those who are similar to them; plus, if you know what you have in common, it’ll be easier to chat once you’re paired up. And the more things you list, the more things you’re likely to find in common with other users.

It also helps to talk about what kind of person you are and what kind of job you do. This helps other users to know you, gets them interested, and fills their minds with questions about you.

Send Messages at around 9 PM to 2 AM

Respond to Messages at around 9 PM to 2 AM

If you’re looking for a response to your message, then start chatting during times when people are likely to be alone.

Everyone has different schedules, but pretty much the best time is after work, when most people are just chilling in their rooms or fooling around with their smartphones in bed. To get more specific, the best time frame would be from 9 PM to 2 AM, and then you can fine-tune once you learn more about the other person’s lifestyle.

Some applications will also offer “boosts,” a service that temporarily makes it easier to be paired up with other users. If you run across one, we recommend also using them during this time frame.

Smokers are Not Popular. Sorry, but You’ve Got to Put Down that Cigarette

Smokers are Not Popular. Sorry, but You've Got to Put Down that Cigarette

We actually had another average guy testing these apps, but he received so few likes and was so rarely paired up that we were able to get no data and we had to scrap that part of the project altogether. We then gathered the female members of our editing department and discussed possible reasons, and out of those, the most convincing was “It’s because he smokes.”

Most applications let you designate preferences and narrow down your search results. So many people who don’t like tobacco leave smokers out of their results. That means that, if you’re a smoker, doesn’t matter how good-looking or smart or funny or rich you are, you’re already out of the pool of possibilities before people even get to look at your profile.

So if you’re confused as to why you aren’t getting any matches and you’re a smoker, then we recommend you quit smoking. There’s no way around it.

How to Succeed All the Way from the First Date to the Confession

Getting paired up on an app is only the first step to finding yourself a girlfriend. You’ve got to date and finally confess. Keep in mind that dating practices in Japan and America are different, and, yes, while there’s always exceptions to the rule, it’s widely assumed that you aren’t a couple until the kokuhaku※1 or confession (you know, that “I like you. Please go out with me!” thing).

So no matter what your country of origin is or whether you’re confused about when to invite a girl on a date or where to go, here’s some advice on how to sail smoothly from first date to confession.

※1 告白: confession

Invite Her on a Date a Week after You’ve been Paired up

It's Best to Invite a Woman on a Date about a Week after the App's Paired You up

Wait a week after you’re paired to invite your partner out on a date. Invite her out too early, and she might think you’re yarimoku※2 or just looking for a hook up. If she does agree to meet really early, there’s actually a good chance that she’s yarimoku or engaged in some kind of fraud.

But you also shouldn’t wait too long to ask her out either. If you just keep dragging out the conversation, chances are that she’ll eventually lose interest and give up on you. And if you get too into it when chatting online, then there’s a chance you’ll run out of topics when you actually meet. Balance is key here.

※2 ヤリモク:looking for a hook up (short for yari-mokuteki, yari meaning “do,” which is slang for sex, mokuteki meaning purpose)

Ask Her for Her LINE Right After You’ve Figured out When the First Date Will be

Ask Her for Your LINE Right After You've Figured out When the First Date Will be

In Japan, almost everyone uses LINE, a messaging and texting service. Try asking for hers right after she’s agreed to the first date.

All you’ve got to do is casually add “We might need to suddenly contact each other on the day of, so mind if we exchange LINEs?” and she probably will think nothing of it. Actually, we really recommend exchanging contact info because LINE’s free calling service is helpful when you’re trying to find each other at the station.

If you’re just chatting, then the dating app’s messaging service is more than enough, so when asking for someone’s LINE, it’s always safer to have some kind of reason. If you suddenly ask for her LINE out of the blue, there’s a chance that she’ll think “Oh, doesn’t he just want my LINE because his membership’s about to expire?” so we wouldn’t recommend it.

For the First Date, Take Her out for Lunch or Tea at a Cafe

For the First Date, Take Her out for Lunch or Tea at a Cafe

We really recommend having your first date at a cafe and going in either for lunch or tea. There’s a couple of reasons why we think that’s better than dinner or going for a drink at night.

  • It’s way cheaper.
  • Should you find that you have nothing to talk about, it’s easier to bring the date to a conclusion.
  • She won’t think you’re just looking for a hook up.

Actually, if you end the date while you’re both thinking “There’s still things I want to talk about…” which roughly equates to “I want to meet up and chat again,” then inviting her out for a second date gets even easier. You only stand to gain.

Invite Her out on a Second Date as Soon as Your First Date’s Ended

Invite Her out on a Second Date as Soon as Your First Date's Ended

If you had a lot of fun on your first date and want to meet again, then make sure you invite her out again on the very day you had your first date.

In both Japanese and English, we have the following saying: “Strike while the iron is hot.” It’s completely true. You want to invite her out on a date while she’s still reveling in how much fun she had with you.

You can invite her out as you’re parting ways. Just ask her “How about we go to (insert place here) next?” and if she seems up for it, tell her “Then let’s decide dates later on LINE!” Even if you don’t have the guts to do it in person, send a LINE after then first date, first thanking her and then asking if she wants to go out again.

Confess on the Third Date

Confess on the Third Date

If you’re going to confess, do it during your third date. By your third date, you’re still in that honeymoon phase, but you’re also starting to know each other, so it’s pretty ideal.

During the first date, you’re kind of judging whether or not you two even have a chance. The second date, you’re trying to understand more about each other as people and figuring out how you feel. Then, on the third date, you’re starting to work out how your relationship will develop in the future, so it’s that sweet spot that’s neither too late nor too early.

The more dates you have with no new developments, the more she’s going to think that there’s nothing between the two of you and the higher the chances of her losing interest. Until you’re officially a couple, it’s best to have a purpose and goal for every date you go on, at least to a certain extent.



We dragged in Mr. Y, an average guy, downloaded the 15 most popular dating apps, and, with Mr. Y’s help, tested them all. We also had him send likes to 100 women on each dating application, which comes out to a total of 1,500 likes sent.

Some other things we noticed. It’s important you find apps that turn out a bunch of active users in the search results, after you’ve set your preferences and everything. No matter how nice the girl or how much you like her, if the last time she logged in was a week or even a month ago, then she’s not going to reply.

So before you dig your wallet out and pay for a premium membership, make sure to try at least one search and make sure there’s plenty of active users you’d want to meet. Best of luck!

Original by Ayumi Sato; Translation by Jasmine Li

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