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Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, White Day (Japanese Valentine’s Day where guys give back to women), your anniversary, or a romantic couple’s trip, Japan is the perfect country for a getaway for two. It’s a country with culture built around events for two or more people, and couple culture reigns supreme. After all, Christmas in Japan is probably more romantic than Valentine’s Day and White Day combined!
A vacation in Japan is already a pretty cool trip to go on with the one you love, but let’s up the excitement and make it even more romantic! To help you spend some extra romantic time with your special someone, I’ve compiled fourteen incredibly romantic things to do in Japan for couples.
Romantic Activities for Couples in Japan
Spend the Night at a Ryokan and Enjoy a Private Onsen Bath Together
One experience that should be on your Japan bucket list, especially your couple’s bucket list, is relaxing in an onsen bath! The Japanese onsen experience can be a public bathhouse where you get naked and bathe with strangers in steamy hot spring water or a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that offers either a public or private bath.
However, ryokans are very different from the usual inn, hotel, or bed and breakfast. The rooms have tatami or bamboo flooring, there are futons for sleeping on the floor instead of in a bed, and they provide yukata (summer kimono made out of cotton) that you can use to walk around the ryokan and to walk to the public baths. Ryokans also usually include an elaborate dinner served in your room that has multiple courses of traditional Japanese foods called kaiseki, but this is often for couples or groups (sorry, singles).
The best way to book a private couple’s ryokan getaway is to make sure the ryokan offers kashikiri. Kashikiri (貸切) simply means “reservation,” and any accommodation or bath that is labeled kashikiri can be reserved for private use. So, when booking a ryokan, there are two options you can look for: a room with a private bath, or a room at a ryokan with a public onsen bath that can be booked for private use.
Four of some of the most stunning ryokans with private baths or baths for private reservation are Kinnotake Tonosawa ($$$$), Hotel Kananso ($$$), Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan ($$), and Hakone Yoryu ($). Each ryokan is only 2 hours away from Tokyo by train and can be visited for a two-day trip from the big city.
Private onsen baths are also great for visitors who have tattoos. Tattoos in Japan are still pretty taboo because of their association with the Japanese mob, so many ryokans and onsens require you to cover your tattoos or may just outright refuse you. Reserving a private bath allows you to enjoy that wonderful part of Japanese culture without dealing with the stigma that goes with other people seeing your tattoos.
Pick Super Sweet Strawberries Together
Fruit in Japan is expensive—I mean, super expensive. Go into any Japanese grocery store and you’ll realize your dollars, or yen, don’t go far when it comes to buying fruit even if the fruit is in season. That’s why the best way to enjoy Japan’s delicious seasonal fruits and enjoy something romantic with a special someone is to book an all-you-can-eat fruit picking activity. While you can do fruit picking almost all-year-round depending on the season of the fruit, I highly recommend picking strawberries if visiting Japan in the spring or early summer.
When you go strawberry picking, you’ll have about 30 minutes to one hour to pick ripe strawberries directly from the vine and eat until your heart’s content. You’ll also get a cup filled with condensed milk to dip your strawberries in, because if you’ve ever visited Japan during summer festival season, strawberries are almost always served drizzled with sweet condensed milk as a sugary dessert.
From Tokyo, you can take a day trip to Dragon Farm in Chiba, Ichigo no Sato Farm in Tochigi, Kawago Strawberry Field Sujino in Saitama, or Kamakura Kanko Ichigo Farm in Kanagawa. Prices range from 1,500 yen to 2,500 yen ($15-$25 USD).
Enjoy Luxury Afternoon Tea
Something that I will always recommend is afternoon tea. In Japan, afternoon tea is not just for the British, it’s a wonderfully luxurious affair that is usually themed for the season. With Japanese afternoon tea, there are cute desserts and finger-foods, tea or mixed beverages, and a luxurious atmosphere that will make you feel super fancy.
Of course, with luxurious atmospheres come luxurious prices. Afternoon tea typically ranges from 3,500 yen ($35 USD) at the cheapest to 20,000 yen ($200 USD) at the highest. Usually, the more expensive, the better the view, so if you want to enjoy tea overlooking Tokyo or Mt. Fuji, you’ll have to pay a little more for it. I’ve experienced affordable and more expensive afternoon tea, and both have their perks. The more affordable afternoon tea is better for a budget, but the more expensive afternoon tea that overlooks the city is a once-in-a-lifetime breathtaking experience.
Deliciously romantic afternoon tea in Tokyo that I recommend are at Arman Hotel (overlooks the Imperial Palace), Hotel Chinzano (famous for its extensive gardens), Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills (featuring a beautiful skyline view of Tokyo Tower), and The Strings Omotesando’s Zelkova (a personal favorite, and it’s affordable).
Dress Up for a Couple’s Photo Shoot
Another amazing cultural experience that you can have in Japan is dressing up in a traditional kimono or yukata, and having a photoshoot to save those awesome memories. A Japanese kimono is an intricate robe traditionally hand-made of silk, and the designs were often hand-painted or carefully printed, too. These robes are usually worn for formal occasions and ceremonies, but as those formal occasions began to prefer Western formal wear for the dress code, many kimono enthusiasts wear the robes, obi (belt), tabi socks, shoes, and other fixings as their everyday style or hobby clothing.
The art of putting on and wearing kimono, called kitsuke (着付け), is a super detailed art and involve intricate dressing rules that are hard for people to grasp right from the start, so it’s best to go to a store that sells kimono and does kimono dressing as their business. There, you’ll also be able to pick out accessories for your hair and robes to bring the look together. The stores are usually located in areas of Tokyo or other big cities that have famous traditional areas, and these areas are perfect for finding and choosing your shooting locations.
If you’re not into the more traditional Japanese dress up, then you can also dress up Disney Princess style by visiting Lockheart Castle in Gunma Prefecture (about 4 hours outside of Tokyo). Lockheart Castle is a European-style castle built in the countryside of Gunma, and they offer their grounds for both weddings and photo shoots. You can rent ball gown dresses and tuxedos from there, or you can pack your own dreamy princess dress and run around the grounds like a character right out of Bridgerton.
A photographer that I especially recommend for both couple and individual kimono photo shoots is Stasia, better known as InKimono on Instagram. She does amazing photography and owns her own vintage kimono shop in Asakusa. If you book with her, you’ll not only be able to wear beautiful kimono, but you’ll get a full lesson on kimono because she herself went to school to learn the craft. She gets booked up fast, though, so it’s best to book in advance.
Go to a Love Shrine and Get Matching Couple Charms
Maybe you’ve heard of Japanese temples and shrines, but did you know about the love ones, too? Japan is not known for its romance when you compare it to more classically romantic destinations like Paris, France or basically all of Italy, but it can hold its own, for sure. Because couple culture is so important in Japan, it’ll be impossible for you not to notice that almost everyone’s got someone to hold hands and be lovey-dovey with! Statistics say that Japanese people in their 20s and 30s don’t want to get married and have children right away, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dating.
What better way to ensure a strong bond with your special someone? Love charms (enmusubi, 縁結び)! Young couples (think teens and early 20s) often have matching pink and blue love charms dangling from their bags. You can get these love charms from basically any shrine or temple in Japan, but to get the full blessing of the love gods, it’s best to go to a temple or shrine that specializes in love blessings. There, you can pray for relationship success, buy matching charms, and write a message to each other on an ema. Heck, I’ll be honest, I’ve even bought a love charm in Japan!
Some temples and shrines even have bells that you can hold hands and ring together. The tradition is that if a couple rings the bell together, they will be bound together forever. One of the most popular love bells in Japan is the Bell of Ryusen on Enoshima island. You can take a day trip to this lovers’ destination and enjoy the beach in that area, or take a short train ride to neighboring Kamakura and make couple rings.
Other than the love bell on Enoshima, some popular love temples and shrines are Jishu Shrine near Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, Nonomiya Shrine in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine in Shimane, and Hikawa Shrine in Saitama.
“Couple rings” may just be an Eastern Asian trend, but they’re like promise rings and wedding rings combined. Although there’s no wedding involved when it comes to these rings, both partners wear the matching rings and show the world that they’re a couple. If you’re into showing your love to the world, making couple rings with your partner is a great way to do just that and spend some quality time together. You can make couple rings in Kamakura, near Enoshima, and it’s a great day trip from Tokyo, or you can make them right in the heart of Harajuku!
Watch the Sun Set Over the City
Just about every city looks magical during sunset, and Tokyo does not disappoint. The city knows how awesome its skyline is, so there are many great observation decks and high rise buildings to go to (some are even free) and catch a breathtaking glimpse of a sunset over the city.
If you want to see the Tokyo Skyline with Tokyo symbols like Tokyo Tower and Skytree, then go to Shibuya Sky (a super tall viewing deck above Shibuya Station), the Sky Deck at Mori Tower, or the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory. All of these locations except for the Metropolitan Government Building require a ticket for entry, but entry is under 3,000 yen ($30 USD).
If you just want to watch the sunset over Tokyo, but you don’t care to have Tokyo Tower or Skytree in your view, then I recommend going to those observation decks instead! Both Tokyo Tower and Skytree have special night viewing times in which they turn down the lights and make the atmosphere super cozy. In fact, Tokyo Skytree has a restaurant and a bar that starts at 5:30 for dinner.
Be sure to check when the sun will set and the weather conditions before making plans to visit any of these locations for the clearest view of the sunset and city.
Cruise Around Yokohama Bay at Night
There’s something about a cruise at night overlooking an iconic cityscape that is super romantic. The cool night air and sparkling lights of the city create a perfect backdrop to a romantic dinner and maybe even some dancing under the stars. A cruise on Tokyo Bay is perfect for just that! Tokyo Bay connects Tokyo to Yokohama and Odaiba, and it offers some of the best bay-side views of Kanto’s cityscape icons such as the Rainbow Bridge, the Red Brick Building in Yokohama, and the Odaiba Statue of Liberty. From Tokyo Station, it takes about an hour to get to Yokohama’s Minato Mirai (where most boats and cruises disembark).
Even better, you can mix a romantic night on the Bay with a unique culture experience by booking a cruise on a yakatabune. A yakatabune (屋形船) is a traditional Japanese wooden restaurant boat decorated with lanterns and colorful lights. Although boats in modern times are made with more durable materials, the boats have kept their traditional shape and are even considered a UNESCO World Heritage.
You can book a cruise directly with a cruise company like Reserved Cruise, or you can save some language hassle and book on Klook. To do the more cultural tour in a yakatabune, check out the websites of Shinagawa Yakatabune Funasei or Yakatabune Fukagawa Fujimi.
Have a Picnic Under the Cherry Blossoms or Autumn Leaves
Can you imagine a picnic during the spring or fall, when the temperatures are just right—not too chilly, not too hot, under pink cherry blossoms or vibrant orange fall leaves? Sakura (cherry blossoms) and koyo (autumn leaves) are the most popular seasons in Japan for good reason: they are the perfect settings to enjoy almost-magical, natural scenery for a limited time. Plus, Japan has so many amazing parks, Japanese gardens, and shrines or temples for you to spend a day enjoying both of those sights.
Picnic culture is big in Japan, and you’ll often see many couples and groups of friends enjoying nice weather at parks while drinking alcohol and eating good food. Fair warning though, both cherry blossom and autumn leave seasons don’t last long before petals and leaves begin to fall. The peak time to see cherry blossoms is in March, and November for autumn leaves.
Some of the best parks to enjoy a picnic at are Ueno Park (Tokyo), Yoyogi Park (Tokyo), Shinrinkoen (Saitama), Hiroshima Peace Park, and Momijidani Park near the famous red torii gate in water (Miyajima).
For a picnic at the park, bring a picnic mat if you aren’t comfortable with sitting on the ground. During cherry blossom season, you can get special limited-edition picnic mats only available at Starbucks Japan. While you’re at it, try out their seasonal drinks, too! If you’re not into Starbucks, UberEats and other food delivery services do deliver to parks, or you can try out some local convenience store favorites like sushi and egg salad sandwiches.
Wear Couple Clothes and Go to Disneyland or DisneySea
Standing in line for hours at an amusement park may not be anyone’s ideal date or romantic getaway, but dating culture in Japan dictates that amusement parks are the perfect place! Disneyland, and by extension Tokyo DisneySea (which is exclusive to Japan, by the way), is extremely loved in Japan, and couples will plan a full day including matching outfits to go to these parks. You definitely don’t have to coordinate your clothing if you go on a date at Disneyland or DisneySea, but I do recommend matching Disney headbands for super cute couple pictures as souvenirs.
Both parks are very crowded during the weekend and holiday season, so if you want to avoid long waits and big crowds, I recommend you visit during the weekday or during off-season when the weather becomes a little chilly in November.
An alternative to Disneyland and DisneySea for visitors who are in the Kansai area is Universal Studios Japan, lovingly called “USJ,” in Osaka. The park is also just as crowded as Disneyland and DisneySea, but a little more affordable, and they have fan-favorite themed areas like Minions, Harry Potter, Spiderman, and Nintendo World (which opened in March 2021).
Take a Jinrikisha Ride around Traditional Japan
Riding in a Japanese-style rickshaw, a jinrikisha, around Asakusa in Tokyo, Gion in Kyoto, Kawagoe in Saitama, or Higashiyama in Ishikawa may be one of the most touristy things you can do in Japan, but why not?! Many couples, families, and friends—tourists and locals alike—try a jinrikisha ride at least once, especially in the traditional areas of Japan while wearing a kimono. It’s a near-complete immersion in the Japanese traditional culture, and the jinrikisha men, often very fit and tan guys, have some of the best personalities and conversation. In fact, a jinrikisha ride is basically a tour by a local, so take this chance to ask him about some of his local recommendations (if he speaks English/your language, or you speak Japanese).
I suggest that even solo tourists try a jinrikisha ride at least once during their time in Japan, but I especially recommend it for couples as it can be very romantic, especially in the Arashiyama Bamboo forest surrounded and shaded by tall bamboo stalks, or in the less-populated little Kyoto of Higashiyama in Ishikawa. You’ll usually find the jinrikisha guys in more touristy areas, and they might even call out to you on the street! The rides are usually from 10 to 30 minutes for about 3,000 yen ($30 USD) for one person.
Before coming to Japan, you may want to take some souvenirs from your country with you like some postcards or small trinkets. If you meet some very nice Japanese people along the way who you strike up a conversation with or get help from, I’m sure they’d love to receive a parting gift. They may want to give you something in return for your souvenir, but that’s just Japanese gift-giving and receiving culture!
Enjoy an Art Aquarium or Planetarium
You’ve probably seen those amazing TeamLab light exhibits in many blog posts about Japan and all over social media, but have you ever heard of an “art aquarium?” If you haven’t, during your visit in Japan is the perfect time to go! The Art Aquarium Museum in Nihonbashi (Tokyo) was once just a yearly installation, but it became a permanent living, breathing art exhibit in 2018. The two-floor museum features fish tanks of all shapes and sizes that showcase Japanese culture and architecture while mixing vibrant colors, music, and beautiful varieties of colorful fish. Because the key feature of the installations is how the light dances with the fish, it is completely dark—except for the lights decorating the tanks—as you walk through the maze of the floors, creating a disorientating yet ethereal experience.
Tickets can be bought online through their Japanese or English website, or you can purchase them at the museum, but I advise you to buy them online in advance.
Spend the Day on a Romance Train
The Sagano Romance Train in Kyoto runs all throughout the year, but the best times to enjoy this open-air train ride is during spring and fall. Winter and summer are beautiful seasons, too, but it’s a little too cold in the winter and a little too hot in the summer to really enjoy the ride. Spring and fall not only have milder temperatures, but there are cherry blossom and maple trees all along the tracks of the train through the mountains of western Kyoto.
The train ride is about 15 minutes, and you can reserve a ticket in advance online or at most train stations in Kyoto. The train leaves from Saga Torokko Station, which is also a train museum, conveniently located next to Saga-Arashiyama Station (the station you’ll probably want to get off at anyway if you want to see the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and surrounding area).
Want even more romantic ideas? Some other incredibly romantic things to do in Japan for couples that I didn’t mention are seeing light illuminations (like the Nabana no Sato in Mie), taking a cooking class, and doing a sake or whiskey tasting tour.
I hope these fourteen things help you and your partner have the most romantic time in Japan whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, a honeymoon, an anniversary, or even if you’re just visiting Japan because it’s always been your dream! Is Japan on your list for a romantic couple’s getaway? Let me know in the comments below!
Explore More of Japan
Interested in seeing more of Japan? You can find more travel guides, itineraries, tips and photography of Japan in the Japan archives to plan your next trip.