Is there a Valentine’s day in Japan ?

That is a common question many foreigner ask.

The answer is YES, but japanese don’t celebrate the same way as westerners does.

Believe it or not, on Valentine’s day, women gift chocolate to men. And NO, men don’t offer anything on that day. Oh yes, that is strange but this is the Japanese culture. However, since few years, with the foreign trend, some men tend to gift something to their love one on that special day but that is not usual. So, you may worry if your partner (s) didn’t gift you anything. Let see, it’s coming soon.

So you probably wonder, that’s it ? There is a love holiday only for men. Well, not so fast, there is another special day but this time, men gift something in return. And that day is very special for Japanese women. We call this the “White Day”. It is on March 14th, one month after Valentine’s Day.

Marshmallow Day was the name before for the White Day

What is cool about that day is every gift are white. It goes from white chocolate to white flower … White day is more advertised than Valentine day. Actually, if someone forget to gift something on that day, it will be a big deal, there is advertising every where, in train, shop, TV … So don’t be cheap, it’s only one time !!

On the White Day event, the value of the given gift should be doubled or tripled of the chocolate gift received from the Valentine’s day. We call this Sanbei Gaeshi

Because tradition is so strong during that day, chocolate remain “THE” gift to give on Valentine’s day. To be precise, you will find 2 type of chocolate: The Giri-choco and the Honmei-choco.

And valentine doesn’t mean it is just for couples. This is a great time to share happiness with friends or co-worker. For these type of people, the Giri-chocolate is gifted because it doesn’t involve any romance feeling.

For the love one, pure love i mean, the Honmei-chocolate is gifted.

Keep in mind about this detail. Japanese women think for the love one, it’s better to prepare the chocolate by themselves instead of buying the ready made chocolate at shops. If you ever received a hand made chocolate, you are so lucky ! Imagine all the work behind this just to express her love.

handmade Honmei-chocolate with Rachel and Jun
Handmade Honmei-chocolate with Rachel and Jun

So guys, don’t forget March 14th or you will have your head cut off by your love one !!!

A week before the Valentine’s day, stores are already packing shelves with so many and beautiful chocolate boxes from small to very expensive brand, it’s beautiful, really.

More curious why Japanese ladies gives chocolate, here a video with Chika

Chocolate sushi by KitKat Chocolatory shop on Tokyo’s Ginza street

Location: Seibu Ikebukuro, 1 Chome-28-1 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo 171-8569, Japan

Chocolatory kitkat in ginza
Chocolatory kitkat in ginza
Sushi chocolate by kitkat
Sushi chocolate by kitkat

Pocky made Chocolate just perfect for Valentine’s Day

Here the Pocky Lovecky Chocolate ! (Lovecky for Love)

lovecky chocolate by Pocky (Glico)
lovecky chocolate by Pocky (Glico)

Here the Pocky Giricky ! (Remember? Ladies gift on Valentine’s Day to co-worker and friends as well)

Giricky chocolate by Pocky (Glico)
Giricky chocolate by Pocky (Glico)
Giricky chocolate gift on the Valentine day
Giricky chocolate gift on the Valentine day

Chocolate Chiffers Shops

Location: Ginza Mitsukoshi Tokyo, akashimaya Nagoya, Hankyu Osaka Umeda, Yokohama

Chiffers Valentine Chocolate
Chiffers Valentine Chocolate

Let’s end with this new Youtuber named Chottomattenet from Japan during her shopping on Valentine’s day for some chocolate.

Happy Valentine !



Amy Nakayama

Amy, Blogger in Tokyo and News Freelancer located in Tokyo.

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