While Halloween has ended and Christmas is coming up fast, in-between is a holiday you may not have heard of — November 11, Singles’ Day.
This Chinese tradition plays off the date (because the “1” in “11” looks like a person who is on their own) and literally translates as “single sticks holiday”. While it originally began as a day to celebrate being single, it’s since evolved – perhaps a little confusingly – to also celebrate singles who find each other and end up as a “double” (as reflected by the number “11”).
Mixed messages aside, the day has naturally inspired plenty of consumerism, and has also become one of the most popular (and lucrative) shopping days in the world, with Japanese retailers now joining the game.
So, how and where to celebrate this day? Well, if you’re single in Tokyo, you’ll know that dating in this massive city can be anything from wildly exciting to slightly nerve-racking to downright strange (did you read our article about “renting” a date?). Even when you have narrowed things down and asked for or accepted a first date with someone, it’s never easy picking out a venue or activity for the occasion. So if you do happen to have a date lined up for Singles’ Day – or any day, really – we did a quick survey amongst the TW team and came up with these top recommendations for the most worthwhile date night experience in Tokyo – even if your new friend won’t stop swiping Tinder.
Serenade with Your Best Karaoke Jam
Karaoke needn’t be reserved for a 3am drunken plan when you’ve missed your last train. In fact, it can be both an inexpensive and romantic experience. Unconvinced? Let me set the scene. You enter a private room, dim the lights and choose a silly song to loosen up —think ‘’Barbie Girl.’’ Slowly, you move onto more suggestive songs until the room is fully charged with sexual chemistry.
Tip: Keep the tracks suitable, you won’t woo your paramour with a depressing rendition of ‘’Mad World.’’
Where To Go:
• Add a little luxury to your duet at Karaoke Kan Roppongi.
• The drink bar at MocoMoco in Nakano includes ice cream and sprinkles, perfect for a sweet tooth.
• Go for the cheap and cheerful option at any Uta Hiroba (Japanese only).
Immerse Yourself in Art
To escape the pitfall of appearing over-pretentious, while still adding a little culture to your date, try an interactive art exhibition. There’s no time for awkward silences when your senses are thrown into overload. Spend time contemplating the meaning behind the art or simply throw inflatable giant balls at each other’s faces.
Where To Go:
• TeamLab Tokyo has two exciting exhibitions – Borderless and Planets. The latter features the aforementioned balls. Check out our comprehensive review of teamLab Borderless’ activities.
• Festival/Tokyo is holding a wide range of immersive art displays until November 18. Visit our events page for further details.
Be Adventurous with Dining
Eating is a dating, and biological, necessity. I used to take all my dates to the same ¥500 pizza place and unsurprisingly it became a little monotonous. Tokyo is the food capital of the world with limitless options of weird and wonderful experiences. So, why not change the scenery a little.
Where To Go:
• Muggles, get out your wands because opening this month is a Harry Potter themed café called Magic World. Hurry! It’s for a limited time only.
• Love is a battlefield: take a look at our roundup of fight-themed restaurants.
Follow the Rainbow
Odaiba is an island man-made for romance. Its open spaces and limitless activities make it a haven for couples. Stroll along the beach while looking out at the illuminated rainbow bridge. Finish your date with a trip to the enormous Ferris wheel, Daikanransha, and listen to the carriage sing as you ascend. I’m not guaranteeing you a kiss at the top, but it’s never failed me before.
Where To Go:
• Palette Town Daikanransha’s 100-meter neon-lit Ferris wheel is a must.
• The Odaiba Illumination “Yakei” is displayed all year round, setting the mood no matter the season. Find details on our events calendar.
Step into a Disney Fairy Tale
Whisk yourselves away on a romantic carpet ride for two at Tokyo Disney Resort and experience the highs and lows of a fun-filled day of magic. If you are worried about pushy crowds and all-day lines, then opt for a trip after sundown to avoid the dreaded Tokyo Disneyland dating curse.
What To Do:
• Until December 25 Disneyland and DisneySea celebrate Christmas with stage shows, illuminations, and seasonal food.
• The weekend Starlight Passport allows access after 3pm, so you can relax and see the night parades and fireworks at less cost. Check out the ticket options.
Let the Beat Do the Talking
Tokyo is teeming with a thriving music scene. Depending on the mood, you may want to chill at an underground jazz bar or pump it at an EDM club. Either way, music is a great communicator.
Lighten the Mood
In the spirit of the most romantic season of the year, Tokyo will christen the streets with a myriad of winter light displays. I’d recommend grabbing a hot chocolate and walking close together through the illuminations. A perfect excuse to hold hands and cuddle up close.
Where To Go:
• All you need is our complete guide to Tokyo’s must-see winter illuminations.