On Japan’s most romantic date night, reservations are usually recommended, but not here.

In Japan, Christmas Eve is the biggest date night of the year. While fried chicken is the standard entrée for at-home Christmas parties with friends and family, starry eyed couples instead go out to dine on fancier fare, with Italian food being a perennial popular choice for dinner on December 24.

However, though spaghetti is the signature dish at Tokyo restaurant Pia Pia, you’d be best off making reservations for you and your sweetheart elsewhere. That’s not because Pia Pia isn’t ritzy enough (although it is a pretty casual place), but because the restaurant explicitly forbids couples from eating there on Christmas Eve.

▼ Even if you can’t read Japanese, the diagram posted out front is pretty self-explanatory.

In what’s become an annual tradition, lovebirds will be turned away at the door on December 24. To quote Pia Pia’s official staff blog:

“This is the owner of Pia Pia. Thank you for your continued patronage.

In regards to the Couple-Excluding event we usually hold on December 24…this year we’ve decided to do it again.

We have received strong complaints, such as ‘This is discrimination against couples,’ and ‘Quit being stupid,’ and as many employees take the day off on the 24th, we wondered if we could pull off this large-scale event. But since many customers look forward to it, we decided to go ahead and hold the event.”

It’s unclear how a staff shortage would affect the plan, since the “event” primarily consists on cutting down the number of potential customers for the night. But real or facetious difficulties aside, the owner has made up his mind, while denying that the policy is part of an agenda to make couples feel bad.

On the contrary, the aim is to boost the positive emotions of single customers who look forward to and enjoy the annual couple-free atmosphere. The owner himself says that in his younger days, when he had no romantic plans for Christmas Eve he felt like he had nowhere to go, and hopes that Pia Pia can serve as a haven for dateless Christmas Eve “refugees” (ostensibly the refugees who aren’t resisting Christmas with their fists at a video game arcade).

It’s worth noting that Pia Pia doesn’t explicitly ban men and women who are just friends from eating at the restaurant, so if you happen to be dating someone who absolutely has to get their Pia Pia fix on Christmas Eve, we suppose you could always just keep your relationship on the down-low during dinner. And since this is Pia Pia’s fourth year in a row to ban couples on December 24, it’s probably safe to assume that’ll e the restaurant’s policy from now on as well.

Restaurant information
Pia Pia / ピアピア
Address: Tokyo-to, Hachioji-shi, Azuma-cho 1-1, DC Building 2nd floor
東京都八王子市東町1-1 DCビル2F
Open 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 6 p.m.-11 p.m. (Monday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (Sunday)

Source: Pia Pia staff blog via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso