Who would have thought that Buddhist Temples would provide the backdrop for a perfect date! I’m not kidding you, but the current trend is to use Shinto shrines for gou-kon, yoga classes and concerts. Traditionally one visited shrines during festivals or seeking blessings for important events like job interviews. But now you can party and pray for finding the perfect match, all at one go!
To elborate, gou-kon means organizing a group date where many single men and women dine out together in the hope of forging romantic liasons with a perfect suitor. Since most single people end up relying on divine intervention for finding their mate, the idea of organizing a group get together in temples, seemed most logical.
The group date event conforms to a theme or activity, which includes zazen meditation, learning chants, taking vegetarian cooking lessons, doing ascetic training under a waterfall etc. After spending the day together doing activities that are engaging, everyone bonds over dinner and a few drinks. Popular with the current generation, these kind of getogethers attract anywhere from 30 to 50 likeminded individuals every month in the Kanto/Tokyo region alone.