If you want to meet a partner for the night, it’s crucial to keep this in mind.

So what’s the hookup timeline of a late Tokyo night?

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In the smoking area near the Kabukicho exit of Shinjuku station, near 109 and the scramble crossing in Shibuya, and outside the East and West exits of Ikebukuro station, you’ll see the nanpa-shi (pickup guys), standing guard with their standardized uniform – gelled hair, man purse, loafers, and phone in hand – eyeing women from their sentry posts along the main pedestrian thoroughfares.

If you’re a girl looking for a hook-up, it can be as easy as walking slowly past these areas by yourself and making eye contact with these guys.

The cities (especially Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Roppongi, and other major stations) are bright and loud with the sound of laughter and lively conversation as people are emptying into the streets from finished nomikais (drinking parties), dinner dates, social obligations, and some unlucky overtime shifts.

Whether their night was a success (drinking with their friends) or a feat of endurance (watching the clock until the boss stops drowning them in shochu and forcing them to listen to rude jokes), the transition to last train usually has people in a good mood.

During this “Magic Hour” probably the single best place to meet women is on the street near the station.

Keep in mind that as groups splinter off heading to different train lines, you generally have only until the ticket gates to make a good impression before she enters the station.The changing of the guard occurs frantically around midnight, hordes of belching salarymen trying to hold the beer and gyoza down while mashing onto the crowded final Yamanote line train.The trains inbound from the outskirts of Tokyo, by comparison, are far more peaceful – empty, even.I can’t say I haven’t taken a brief nap on the overhead luggage rack of an inbound last train to Roppongi before – guilty as charged.But no matter whether you’ve been drinking since 6pm or are just now sallying forth on the last train for a heroic night on the town, there is no doubt that the trains dictate the pace of the night.Then, when they approach simply smile and demurely mention you’ve missed your last train.