While bars often use tactics such as offering healthy low-calorie food items or fruity cocktails on the menu to attract female customers, Aisekiya in Akabane resorts to an extreme that most sane businesses would not risk: Women can drink as much as they want — without paying a single yen. But the izakaya has been open for almost four months, and it doesn't look like it's on the verge of going out of business.

"We offer a place in which men and women can easily meet each other," says owner Haruaki Sumiuchi. "Some people also come here to build connections."

The bar is essentially a new alternative to gōkon, group dating parties in which two people of the opposite gender try to scrape together whatever single friends they can find to have dinner and drinks at an izakaya or restaurant. Aisekiya, which markets itself as a place where people can have a "once-in-a-lifetime encounter," saves its customers the hassle of trying to get an equal number of people together in order to hold a blind date.