Tokyo, a city filled with possibilities, exciting experiences and a massive population of over 13 million. If you have just moved to this amazing city or are planning to in the near future, the thought of meeting people and making new friends is one which is exciting but also daunting.
Despite there being so many people out there to meet and share new memories with, it can be hard to put yourself out there or know where to start. That’s why we want to try and make this experience both easier and fun. Check out our top suggestions on the different and simple ways to meet new people:
① Meet People Instantly Through Social Media and Apps
Social media is a powerful tool in helping people to find new relationships and connections. It has made it easier than ever to meet and talk to new people instantly. Currently, apps like Bumble are super popular among young people living and working in Tokyo.
Although it is primarily a dating app, there is a section for meeting and connecting with new friends. This is a great option for those who get nervous in bigger group settings as you just simply swipe on someone who looks interesting to you and start messaging. You will find many Japanese and international people using the app so you are likely to find someone with similar interests and a personality type to you!
Most people on these apps are genuine, making them mostly safe. Though you do still need to be careful when meeting up with someone new for the first time. If you do decide to meet up with someone you met from the internet, remember to first meet them in a public area and let someone else know what you are doing.
Alternatively, you could try and search for a group on Facebook or a page on Instagram to join. If you search for groups or pages about people living in Tokyo, you are bound to find lots of different ones filled with people looking to make new friends or giving advice on upcoming events. A better option for those who aren’t as keen on messaging people one-on-one as you can just scroll through and comment on a group post.
② Join a Language School or Group To Meet International People and Improve your Language Skills
One of the most effective ways to meet other international people is by joining a local language school or a group. This is because you will be able to find people with a similar passion for Japanese culture in addition to improving your language ability.
There are many language schools across Tokyo to choose from, with many of them being located around the Shinjuku area. Most of these schools do cost money and can get quite expensive depending on the amount of classes you take. Though it is definitely an investment worth making if you are willing too!
If paying for a language school isn’t an option for you, then you may want to consider searching for a local group which you can join instead. A quick Google search will lead you to a long list of different language groups made up of people of different ages, interests, and hobbies. Tagging along to one of these language exchange events will most likely also give you a better chance of making new Japanese friends. Meetup.com is one of the main and best sites for such language groups, with some of their events including bilingual yoga and an international party in Shibuya.
③ Attend a Club or Circle At Your University
For students studying at one of the Tokyo universities, joining a club or a circle is highly recommended. If you are unfamiliar with the difference between a club and a circle, a circle is a group based around a common interest in hobbies whereas a club is more closely linked to the university and is for those wanting to seriously pursue a type of sport. Therefore joining a circle is the better choice if you are wanting to make friends in a casual setting.
Most universities offer a wide range of circles including those based around sports, film, and academic subjects. Language barrier may be a slight issue as a lot of these circles are mainly made up of Japanese students but there are specific circles which have a mix of both Japanese and English speakers!
In the case that you have already graduated and have come to Japan for work or travel, then you could instead consider joining a more general club or group in Tokyo. For instance, if dance is your thing, there are tons of dance classes available in the city, ones which warmly welcome international people and teach them in English.
④ Head to Events or Hotspots Where Locals Hangout
Consider heading to some events or hotspots which local people are known to go to. With the summer season coming up, there are so many outdoor events to go to including matsuri and firework festivals. Here, you have the potential to strike up a conversation with someone new while experiencing the wonderful culture the city and Japan has to offer.
If you are someone who enjoys a night out, then nightclubs such as CÉ LA VI are renowned for being a hotspot where you can meet many international and Japanese people who are in their early to late 20s. Friday and Saturday nights are the best to go out on, with many of the popular hangout spots for young people being Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Takadanobaba.
With Tokyo having finally returned back to normal, people are more keen than ever to get out there and meet new people! There is no better time or place for you to do the same.