Proposals are unique to each individual. They should reflect each other’s tastes, likes and comfort levels. Not everyone will enjoy a showy flash mob or, on the contrary, an off-hand suggestion in the kitchen. The ‘how?’ is important but so is the ‘where?’. It could be on a sunset Odaiba cruise or even at a major sporting event. This year, I was lucky enough to join the ranks of the engaged and that got me thinking: Where have others proposed? So, I asked a few couples and compiled some iconic spots for a marriage proposal in Tokyo and beyond.
Restaurants: Let the Food Do the Talking
The city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world also hosts the finest tingle-inducing proposal courses you can find.
New York Grill in Park Hyatt Tokyo
We have Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s electric chemistry to thank for popularizing New York Grill. Incredible chefs, sweeping skyline views and attentive waiters are just some elements to pre-charge the evening until the pivotal moment.
Restaurant Luke with Sky Lounge
This high-class restaurant is 47 floors above the ground. The views from the top are incomparable with untainted sights of both Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree. They even offer proposal tips and tricks with a dedicated planner, course and a bouquet of red roses.
Mountains: Shout Your Love from the Top of the World
An outing in nature is an ideal marriage proposal location for hikers and nature lovers. You can affirm your love at the pinnacle and – if all goes well – finish off with a private onsen. There are many options near Tokyo – Nikko, Hakone, Lake Kawaguchi and so on.
There has been a long history of weddings, proposals and romantic invitations on top of and around Mount Fuji. It might be something in the high-altitude air or the once in a lifetime experience of climbing Japan’s highest mountain. If climbing to the top seems as daunting as the proposal, then use Mount Fuji as the background.
It’s hard to find such magnificent natural beauty close to Tokyo, but Mount Takao delivers tenfold. Coming alive in fall and spring, the mountain fills up with fresh-air enthusiasts, but there will always be a quiet spot for that one special moment.
By the Sea: Shell Out on a Beach Getaway
There are several beach spots near Tokyo known for their picturesque sunrises and sunsets. And they happen to be inherently romantic. My own proposal story happened in the Hawaii-inspired seafront hotel, Izu Imaihama Tokyu. Thankfully, my fiancé proposed behind closed doors (I’m not a lover of public attention), but feel free to scribble ‘Will you marry me?’ in the sand for an outdoor proposal.
Enoshima and Kamakura
Even closer to Tokyo, there’s the magical atmosphere of Shonan’s beaches. Particularly Enoshima Island is dotted with hearts and shrines dedicated to love, so it feels natural to propose there.
Amusement Parks: Take Two Tickets to Ride
It’s no wonder people choose rollercoasters to ask the most thrilling question of one’s life. It could be quietly whispered on top of the mammoth Ferris wheel in Odaiba’s Palette Town or screamed while spinning on Disc O at the oldest theme park in Japan.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Popular for first dates, Disney churns out magic and fuzzy feelings on a daily basis. So, it’s no surprise that their theme parks make the top ten list of iconic proposal destinations. Placing a glass slipper on your partner’s foot outside Cinderella’s castle in Tokyo Disneyland or taking a sunset gondola ride in Tokyo DisneySea are movie-magic moments.
Tokyo Landmarks: Go High or Go Home
These distinctive landmarks represent Tokyo to a T. For those who are in love with the largest city in the world (and your partner), where else would you go?
Walk in the sky at the tallest structure in Tokyo. Its varying levels adapt to your unique proposal. Take for instance Sky Restaurant 634 which offers panoramic views and excellent service.
Climb the 600 open-air steps that scale Tokyo’s bright orange beacon and take your breath away. Spend a little extra for access to the Top Deck for a more intimate proposal or descend to Shiba Park where Tokyo Tower’s striking form will be your frame.
The Shibuya Crossing has always been a spot to propose but having to dodge pedestrians to fit in your one-minute declaration of love can be needlessly stressful. How about going above the heads of busy commuters at Shibuya Sky where you get all of the view but none of the trampling.
Gardens and Parks: A Stroll to Remember
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
There are four gardens to choose from; the most romantic of which is The Formal Garden with its avenue of sycamore trees and blooming roses between October and November.
Get engaged in an Edo-style garden near Sumida River. Its historic embellishments such as quaint teahouses and a cypress bridge, as well as easy-to-access boat cruises, make it worth getting down on one knee.
At Home: Keep it Comfy
William Golding once wrote, “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” While he was talking about murderous children trying to survive, the idea also rings true for anything else, including proposals. We can’t all be Casanova or have John Keats’ way with words, so if the desire bubbles up on your couch-date one Friday night, throw caution to the wind and simply propose.