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What are the most and least attractive hobbies for Japanese men and women? Survey investigates

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

It’s often said that everyone needs a hobby, but the flip side is that one person’s source of joy can be something that someone else doesn’t need, or want, in their life at all. That’s an issue that becomes especially important in romantic relationships, since a hobby is both the a reflection of a person’s interests and passions, and also a predictor of how they’re likely to spend their limited amounts of time and money.

Japanese online dating portal Matching App University recently polled its users to see what sort of hobbies make a person more, or less, attractive as a potential dating partner, compiling a set of top five lists from response from 215 people (122 men and 93 women) aged 18 to 40. Let’s take a look at the results.

● Hobbies that women find attractive for a man to have

  1. “Gourmet” and tabearuki (chosen by 33 percent of women)

  2. Cooking (29 percent)

  3. Watching movies (28 percent)

  4. Travel (23.7 percent)

  5. Listening to music (22.6 percent)

▼ If this is your point of view, you just might be on a date with a statistically attractive guy


Starting with attractive hobbies for guys to have, there’s a little linguistic unpacking to do for the top pick, which in Japanese was a combination of gurume and tabearuki. Coming from the French/English “gourmet,” gurume doesn’t have quite as fancy and expensive connotation as “gourmet,” but it still implies extensive knowledge about regional-specialty cuisine, hidden-gem restaurants, and the like. The term tabearuki is made up of the Japanese words for “eat” and “walk,” and refers to strolling around a neighborhood and sampling its best eating options, whether cafe-hopping or hitting up a series of street stalls selling unique or locally characteristic foods.

● Hobbies that men find attractive for a woman to have

  1. Cooking (chosen by 36.1 percent of men)

  2. Watching movies (31.1 percent)

  3. Video games (23 percent)

  4. Manga (18 percent)

  5. Liking animals (17.2 percent)


The survey’s male respondents seem to be looking a little ahead in the relationship, with more of a focus on cozy, at-home activities than out-and-about date candidates. Going to the movies looks like a mutually pleasing option for both guys and gals, though, and while “liking animals” is a little vague as far as hobbies go, with Japan’s wide assortment of cat and other animal-themed cafes, zoos, and aquariums, it presents a number of potential date ideas too.

● Hobbies that women find unattractive for a man to have

  1. Pachinko/slot machines (76.3 percent)

  2. Mahjong (53.8 percent)

  3. Drinking/alcohol (22.6 percent)

  4. Video games (14 percent)

  5. Paintball/airsoft (12.9 percent)


If you’re wondering why the top two responses here aren’t lumped together as just “gambling,” it’s because, technically, pachinko, slot machines, and mahjong aren’t classified as gambling, since that would be illegal under Japanese regulations. Instead, Japan’s countless pachinko/slot machine parlors give winners commemorative decorative prizes (which, it just so happens, a mysterious window in a building wall around the corner will pay cash for), and mahjong parlors are ostensibly just places for like-minded enthusiasts of the game itself to gather and play (if those players decide, among themselves, to give the game’s big winner some money when they’re done, that’s not the parlor’s fault at all, the wink-wink logic goes). Of course, pachinko and mahjong are, in practice, gambling, so between the financial risks and seedy gray legality it’s not shocking that both were seen as red flags.

Moving down the list, though Japan is pretty accepting of alcoholic consumption, many of the female survey respondents don’t see it as a plus for a guy once it reaches full-blown hobby status. Semantics might be in play here, since just “alcohol” can sound like it’s putting the primary emphasis on simply getting drunk, instead of an appreciation for the qualities and culture of a specific type of drink, like, say, if one’s hobby were “wine.” General “drinking” can also be a very time-and-money-consuming hobby in Japan, since it often involves groups of friends going to multiple pubs in the same night, sometimes spending hours at each one, Drinking as a guy’s hobby probably also picked up a few no-thank-you votes since some guys’ drinking takes place at hostess bars, which aren’t the sort of place most women want their boyfriends hanging out at.

Video games showing here probably won’t make the guys who voted for it as an attractive hobby for a woman happy. Finally, paintball and airsoft, are both definitely niche hobbies in Japan, ones that involve buying a lot of specialized equipment and long trips out to specialized venues, meaning there’s a lot of time and expense for something most people have no interest in, plus at least one female survey respondent was of the sentiment that “I’m a pacifist, so I can’t accept that hobby.”

● Hobbies that men find unattractive for a woman to have

  1. Drinking/alcohol (32.8 percent)

  2. Cosmetics (26.2 percent)

  3. Fashion, shopping (20.5 percent)

  4. Video games (13.9 percent)

  5. Scuba diving/marine sports (13.1 percent)


With pachinko and mahjong being predominantly male hobbies, drinking is at the top of the unattractive-to-guys list, and with a slightly higher rate of response than in the unattractive-to-women list, perhaps bolstered by guys fearful of having to pay for a girl’s high-priced date-oriented cocktails.

Cosmetics might seem a little surprising, seeing as how makeup is considered an important part of the female grooming process in Japan. Cosmetics reaching full-on hobby status might conjure up images of someone using a lot of product, though, while more natural-looking makeup tends to be considered the more attractive style in Japan. Likewise, fashion and shopping seems a bit of a headscratcher for a country in which a well-sorted outfit is almost always appreciated, but odds are the survey’s male participants have images of dates that are just hours-long treks through clothing stores and standing around awkwardly alone as she tries things on.

Scuba and marine sports (paddleboarding, surfing, etc.) is probably a similar situation to paint ball on the unattractive-to-women list, in that it’s a costly, often travel-requiring hobby that a lot of people have no personal interest in. Maybe the most interesting part of the results though, is how playing video games managed to end up on both the most-attractive-to-men and the least-attractive-to-men lists, showing that while gaming has become a much more common hobby for both men and women in recent years, it’s still not universally loved.

All that said, the same hobby showing up in both the top and bottom five rankings really does show that ultimately, the important thing is whether or not two individual people can share, or at least accept, each other’s interests. Still, if you’re playing the percentages, it might be a good idea to focus on your non-boozy hobbies if you want to make a positive first impression.

Source: PR Times via Jin

Images: Pakutaso

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- How much do Japanese men and women pay on dates? Survey finds large gap

-- How often do Japanese high school kids watch anime, and do boys and girls watch the same series?

-- 10 best Studio Ghibli anime, as picked by Japanese fans– Different ages have different answers

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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> Jumping around? Yeah, that really sucks

i suspect an attractive woman should be weak, somewhat clumsy, little silly/unitelligent, love to cook, to clean and be silent often and obedient and cute and skinny.

Engaging in sports implies she has a lot of strength and energy and may kick a man between his eyes if he starts behaving badly :) I recommend you watch more jdrama :) so yes sports is definitely out of question. On the other hand 13% is already hopeful, those 13% are probably nice guys to date :)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

● Hobbies that men find unattractive for a woman to have

Drinking/alcohol (32.8 percent)

yeah........hate it when a woman starts to get touchy feely, who needs that at an izakaya?

Cosmetics (26.2 percent)

SOOOOO.........all women?

Fashion, shopping (20.5 percent)

again.........sooo, all women?

Video games (13.9 percent)

a pretty rare feat in itself, to find a woman, truly into playing games, not just for pay. But now that you find a woman with a common interest, it's "unattractive?!" who the hell answered in this poll?

Scuba diving/marine sports (13.1 percent)

seems a little too specific.....and why is it even a turn off? Bikinis? Jumping around? Yeah, that really sucks...........

> ● Hobbies that women find unattractive for a man to have

Pachinko/slot machines (76.3 percent)

> Mahjong (53.8 percent)

> Drinking/alcohol (22.6 percent)

> Paintball/airsoft (12.9 percent)

These are actually real answers. Bunch of losers for sure.

Video games (14 percent)

but this one..........you're gonna eliminate a mass amount of the population already. Might as well hate on a dude that likes JAV as well......

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

i think this survey is messed up. hobbies or just bad habits, innocent preferences or harmful addictions?

somehow I feel that the list of unattractive 'hobbies' chosen by men only reflect their need for a woman to be convenient of cute only. There's no single one that reflect some individuality or uniqueness of another human being being a woman as well.

the women's list looks simplified as well. I dont mind a person not having some real interesting hobbies but perhaps if the respondents were given the list of some unusual choices this survey could have been more interesting indeed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As the highest percentage in the "likes" is only 36%, does it not suggest that it doesn't really matter?

Personally, I don't have any real "hobbies" (an activity done regularly in one's spare time). But I don't think the Japanese word "shumi" is an exact translation - it is broader in meaning and can include things one likes doing. Playing a musical instrument might be described as both. But listening to music would probably not be described as a hobby but it might classify as shumi.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Somehow sex didn't make the list.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Relatively easy to understand results, with a few surprises. Thing like pachinko and videogames are surely popular enough to merit a place in the list of hobbies that the opposite sex considers unattractive, but I was surprised that scuba diving or paintball had enough people having them as a hobby to reach the top 5 of undesirable hobbies. After all there are countless other hobbies that are also impractical or expensive enough to annoy the boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse of the person.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In sum...both Japanese sexes like extremely...passive...activities in their opposite.

Surprise surprise! /s

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Isn't rather concerning that drinking is classified as a hobby? Is that the youth term for alcoholism now?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Except for the video games one, I think the women's hobbies are OK. I like a woman who can down a few cold ones, knows fashion, dresses fashionably and loves marine sports. As long as she isn't hairy and tatted up like a sailor, and was born with all the requisite parts of a female, we can hang out.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I had not realized that eating, watching movies, listening to music, reading manga or liking animals were ‘hobbies.’ Apart from the liking animals, I thought these were all pastimes.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why should I give a sh!te if a guy finds my hobby "unattractive"?

The funny thing is, three of my hobbies are in the top hates, but my partner likes those things about me.

Maybe you should just date someone who isn't going to get all judgmental just because you like to drink beer, go scuba diving, and wear bright eyeshadow.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

I can't count the times I have been told someone's hobby is sleeping. It's always told as if I have never heard it before. I sometimes guffaw in ironic amusement but mostly think, "How dull." But I wonder how this goes down with a potential mate, though nothing wrong with sleeping together, of course.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Women tend to sensibly fear the addictions: gambling, alcohol, drugs. These lead to spending all the cash and domestic violence. Men seem to dislike partners spending too much cash on excessive amounts of fashion or make-up. A lot of guys just don't see the point in spending cash on personal grooming and consider the cosmetics trade to be a bit of a scam.

Marine sports is a really odd category.

Frankly my dears, I don't give a damn what a partner would have as a hobby as long it doesn't break the bank, lead to addictions or require my attendance. I have hobbies of my own that I would not force on a partner, and have no desire to be dragged off to watch rugby matches in pouring rain, muck out horses or run around parks in my limited spare time.

I don't agree with the enforced sharing of hobbies, but would be happy to share the garden with a keen plantswoman. I have allergies, so cats and dogs are not an option.

I very much doubt that I would be seen as good partner material by anyone out there. Luckily I'm not looking for a partner.

For what its worth, I would encourage people to be comfortable with themselves and independent before they think of socially merging with another. And seek someone who is also at that stage too. You really don't have to wear matching clothing and do everything together.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Perhaps if the survey had made the distinction between leisure activities and hobbies the results would have been more intelligible.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

If a female has her cat as a profile picture, and her feed is littered with nothing but pictures of said cat, run for the hills.

Reading the article, my thoughts turned immediately to a little dog with ribbons in its fur.

My unattractive in a woman

Money/brand obsessed. Assumes anything new must be better than anything used. Assumes food at expensive hotel or cafe must be better an in-the-know backstreet joint.

Obsesses over Johnny's style boy bands. Into mainstream movies, dorama

Pampered cutified pet. Regular dog okay, esp. if personally taken on long walks.

Restrictive fashion, e.g. silly high heels, nail art etc. that mean she can't go for a walk. Won't go out in the sun in case it affects her wonderful pale skin.

Smartphone glued to hand for Insta. Her idea of fun is going to cafes and taking photos of latte art


Into dancing/club music

Into outdoor activities, beach, skiing, camping etc.

Into non-mainstream travelling (not disneyland etc.). Can drive or willing to learn

Likes to make stuff, art, cooking, DIY

Interested in foreign cultures without placing them on a pedestal (eg. "look at me doing yoga" types)
1 ( +8 / -7 )

I'll start by saying I haven't played a video game for a very long time. The last one I played was Quake.

I agree with those who find the hobby of playing video games unappealing in a partner. Of all the time wasters, to me that seems the most egregious. However, it's not a deal breaker; people can enjoy whatever hobbies they choose, obviously.

Gamers, hit me back.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

● Hobbies that men find unattractive for a woman to have

Drinking/alcohol (32.8 percent)

> 2. Cosmetics (26.2 percent)

> 3. Fashion, shopping (20.5 percent)

> 4. Video games (13.9 percent)

> 5. Scuba diving/marine sports (13.1 percent)

Someone who can handle their alcohol and will enjoy a wine with you, keeps themselves looking attractive and young, wears nice clothes on dates, can play video games with you when it's raining outside, and will go to the beach with you when it is sunny outside. What is not to like? What the heck are these men expecting from their ideal partner?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Hobbies: eating and drinking, watching movies, traveling and listening to music... Such boring people. It's no wonder why the birth rate is sinking.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

It's funny how people think traveling and drinking are hobbies, as well as watching TV :⁠-⁠D

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Scuba diving/marine sports (13.1 percent)

There are some very, very weird men out there if they find it "unattractive" that a woman keeps fit by enjoying SCUBA diving and marine sports. Bizarre.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Where on earth are you going to find someone who likes both eating and watching movies??

9 ( +9 / -0 )

If a female has her cat as a profile picture, and her feed is littered with nothing but pictures of said cat, run for the hills.

13 ( +20 / -7 )

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