How to Make Friends in Japan |Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

How to Make Friends in Japan

By Daliya Ali Jul 15, 2022

If you have ever moved out of your hometown, you know how hard it can be to rebuild a social circle from scratch. The process of getting to know locals and making new friends is tricky and time-consuming, especially in a whole new country. It requires you to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Read on to find out the secret on how to make friends in Japan!

Are You New Here and Stumped About How to Make Friends in Japan?

If you just landed in Japan, it might be difficult for you to know where to start. If you are anything like us, you may have thought, “where do I even go?”, “ who do I even ask first?”. Don’t worry because we’ve got you covered! Check out our suggestions on how to make friends in Japan. Here are a few ways you can meet new people:

1. Joining Facebook Groups

Facebook needs no introduction. Thankfully, this is a platform where anyone can join any online groups that they find interesting. In Japan, you can find groups solely dedicated to buying and selling goods, business networking and several different interest groups. You can find groups both in Japanese and languages outside of Japanese. You can simply search keywords on the search bar to find a group to join. If it is a closed group, don’t feel shy to request membership. But, just joining the group won’t be enough. You will need to interact with some of the members both online and offline. 

2. Bumble BFF

Now most of you might know Bumble as a dating app. However, Bumble also has an option for finding friends. Simply download the app from your app store or search for Bumble BFF on your browser. This is by far one of the easiest ways to make new friends because you know that those that are using this platform are also seriously searching for friends. You can easily find both Japanese and non-Japanese people on Bumble BFF. Furthermore, if you are a female and want to build female centered friend groups this is one of the safest options.

3. Become a Regular at an Izakaya

Izakayas are small Japanese-style bars frequented by locals and company employees. These places tend to be extremely busy since many people rush to relax and grab a drink after a long day of work. If you speak some Japanese and feel like you can carry on a conversation, you can try becoming a regular at a few izakayas near your home or workplace. 

You can opt-out from drinking alcohol and simply stick to non-alcoholic drinks while chatting with people in the bar. Becoming a familiar face is the key thing here. Being a regular will make them realize that you are not just a tourist passing by. Drinking games are also quite common in Japan, so don’t be shy to join in on the fun if you find the opportunity. 

a photo of a row of izakayas

4. Join Meetups

Meetup is another free online platform you can join to meet new people. Meetups can be organized by anyone who has a specific interest. Want to meet people for a coffee while learning how to code? There is a group for that. Want to meet people regularly for bowling every weekend? If there is no group for that, you can make one! Meeting dates and locations are set up by the organizers. This platform can help you locate people with similar interests and hobbies. 

5. Join Local Sports Clubs

Joining sports clubs and activities is one of the fastest ways to make friends anywhere. Lucky for you, there are plenty of clubs and activities you can try here in Japan. You can join anything ranging from weekend yoga at a park in Tokyo to local football clubs or even fun Zumba classes. You can find these circles online through Facebook, Meetup or even your local community center. There are always plenty of classes and activities available, so keep your eyes peeled for them in your area. 

a photo of five people having a sports meetup to go running

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6. Befriend Some Co-workers at Work ( The “Friend of a Friend” Technique)

It’s very common to find one or two co-workers that you get along with. You might hang out after work and grab drinks or even go to karaoke together. Once you have gotten to know each other well, use this opportunity and ask your new friends to bring a friend. By asking them to bring a plus one, you have opened up the opportunity to widen your friend circle and meet new people. You can host a small gathering at your home and invite your friends for drinks and snacks. Oh, and don’t forget to play games!

Making Friends in Japan Doesn’t Have to be That Hard!

Opportunities to find friends are always around the corner. But you can’t make new friends without making some effort. You need to get out there and see what is available to you!

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