How to Make friends in Japan

Posted on Nov. 21, 2023 How to Make friends in japan

So, you have finally settled into your new place, got into the flow of work, and have become an ALT. So, what’s next?

Making new friends!

Building connections and a support group is an important part of a healthy work/ life balance.

How do you make friends in a new country?

But it does seem a little daunting, doesn’t it? A whole different culture, a language barrier, shy locals, and the right timing. What is a person supposed to do? Fear not, with the help of modern technology and a few tips from us, we are sure you can make new friends in no time!

Overcome the Language Barrier

You are not the only one who is afraid of not being able to communicate. Japanese people are also shy and worried they will not be able to speak well and clearly. But try being open and friendly. Japanese people will approach you and feel comfortable to start a conversation with you.

Now that someone has approached you, what’s next? Most likely, others will try to introduce themselves, or ask where you are from. Try to familiarize yourself with those commonly asked questions and phrases in Japanese. That way, so that you can respond easily.

After the usual introductions, you can rely on the wonders of modern technology. This may include Google Translate or other translation apps. Using the instant voice to text translator, it makes communicating much easier.

Also, consider your body language. Using gestures can be a great help, as most gestures are universal.

Where can I make friends in Japan?

Well, besides school, there are many other places to meet people. Just like in your own country, places like local bars or pubs are always a great place to meet new people and locals. In a relaxed environment, people will feel more confident to strike up a conversation. Especially in smaller towns or cities. Japanese people are often curious about new locals, particularly a new foreigner. Take advantage of the opportunity if they approach you.

Where can I make Japanese friends online?

If going to a bar or local hangout is a bit too intimidating, try online meet up groups and events!

One popular site is Many group events are posted on this site for others to view and join. This is a great way to meet like minded people as the meetups are topic based. So you can always partake in activities related to your interests.

Are you interested in meeting friends while doing language exchange? There are various apps to try. HelloTalk, Hinative or JapanSwitch are some of the more well-known apps. These apps are usually very safe, but please always be cautious when chatting or meeting people through these apps. Safety always comes first.

Making friends in Japan may seem intimidating. But meeting new people and sharing your ideas and interests is one of the best ways to experience a new culture.

We hope that you are able to make many new friends, Japanese or foreign. Good luck and stay safe!

Author: L.M – Saitama ALT