One rural prefecture starts kissing long before any of its neighbors.

Japan has a reputation as a country that isn’t big on displays of physical affection, but it’s not like Japanese courtship is all formal discussions of poetry carried out in the wrathful company of a chaperone. Like everyone else, Japanese people kiss, and a survey asked respondents when their lips first touched another’s, then sorted the ages by prefecture.

In 2014, Internet portals Tabizine and Love Research polled 2,350 women from across Japan and found a surprisingly large gap between the youngest and oldest averages, with almost a three-year difference between the first and last prefectures to kiss.

Out of Japan’s 47 prefectures, the three oldest average ages were found in Nara and Aichi, which tied for the oldest average age at 19.1, followed by Ishikawa’s 18.7 years old. Nara and Ishikawa aren’t particularly surprising, as they both have a regally traditional image (Nara for its temples and Ishikawa for the preserved samurai-era architecture, garden, and goldsmithing culture of capital city Kanazawa).

▼ Or maybe it’s just hard to find enough privacy to kiss in Nara with all the deer wandering about the city.

Aichi, though, is where you’ll find Nagoya, one of Japan’s largest cities. Tabizine theorizes that the popular image of young women from Nagoya, called “Nagoya-jo,” might be a factor, as they’re often considered to be high-society types from wealthy families who won’t put up with a man being unduly forward in his advances, thus causing men pursuing a relationship to take things at a slower pace. On a side note, it’s sort of ironic that despite Aichi literally meaning “Love Land,” it tied for the highest average first-kiss age.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tokyo had the youngest average age for a first kiss, at 16.3 years old (in total, 28 prefectures had their first kiss before turning 18). The obvious reason is that, as Japan’s most cosmopolitan city, Tokyo has fewer taboos about physically expressing love than more conservative parts of Japan. There’s also the fact that Tokyo’s incredible number of residents and population density, even by urban Japan standards, increases one’s chances of finding an interested puckering partner.

However, Tokyo was followed by rural Akita (16.6 years old), which perhaps is a product of Akita’s reputation for having some of the most beautiful women in Japan, thus making men more willing to quickly commit. Akita, located in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, was far quicker to kiss than any of the other prefectures in the district, with the second-youngest Tohoku prefecture being a three-way tie between Aomori, Iwate, and Yamagata, where the average age was 18.1

Coming in third in quickest-to-kiss ranking was Nagasaki (16.7 years old, maybe because of its romantic beaches?), and in fourth was Kumamoto (16.8 years old), which is the other prefecture in Japan that’s long been renowned for its women’s beauty.

The complete results are:
1. Tokyo (16.3 years)
2. Akita (16.6 years)
3. Nagasaki (16.7 years)
4 (tie). Kumamoto (16.8 years)
4 (tie). Tottori (16.8 years)
6 (tie). Gunma (17 years)
6 (tie). Hokkaido (17 years)
8 (tie). Fukui (17.1 years)
8 (tie). Tokushima (17.1 years)
10 (tie). Gifu (17.2 years)
10 (tie). Wakayama (17.2 years)
10 (tie). Kagawa (17.2 years)
13 (tie). Saitama (17.3 years)
13 (tie). Kyoto (17.3 years)
13 (tie). Okinawa (17.3 years)
16. Shimane (17.4 years)
17 (tie). Niigata (17.5 years)
17 (tie). Kochi (17.5 years)
17 (tie). Shiga (17.5 years)
20 (tie). Tochigi (17.6 years)
20 (tie). Fukuka (17.6 years)
20 (tie). Oita (17.6 years)
23 (tie). Kanagawa (17.7 years)
23 (tie). Mie (17.7 years)
23 (tie). Yamaguchi (17.7 years)
26 (tie). Okayama (17.8 years)
26 (tie). Ehime (17.8 years)
28. Osaka (17.9 years)
29, Hyogo (18 years)
30 (tie). Miyazaki (18.1 years)
30 (tie). Kagoshima (18.1 years)
30 (tie). Saga (18.1 years)
30 (tie). Shizuoka (18.1 years)
30 (tie). Yamagata (18.1 years)
30 (tie). Aomori (18.1 years)
30 (tie). Iwate (18.1 years)
37. Yamagata (18.2 years)
38. Chiba (18.3 years)
39 (tie). Hiroshima (18.4 years)
39 (tie). Miyagi (18.4 years)
39 (tie). Nagano (18.4 years)
42 (tie). Toyama (18.5 years)
42 (tie). Fukushima (18.5 years)
44. Ibaraki (18.6 years)
45. Ishikawa (18.7 years)
46 (tie). Nara (19.1 years)
46 (tie). Aichi (19.1 years)

Oh, and if all this talk of kissing has you pining to lock lips with someone, but you don’t have a special someone in your life, you can always live vicariously/feel really awkward by watching Japan’s “video of 10,000 kisses.”

Source: Tabizine via Niconico News via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: SoraNews24, Pakutaso

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he wonders if Hiroshima’s high age has anything to do with local automaker Mazda once producing a paint color called “Chaste White.”