It’s this time of the year again, Valentine’s Day is coming up!
Japan (日本) of course also celebrates this wonderful day, though differently than what we might be used to.
You know how in western societies it’s mostly the men that are expected to do something for their significant other. Women of course are also encouraged to surprise their partner but it’s not quite the same focus as in Japan.
Here, it’s all about women gifting chocolate or other small gifts to their boyfriends, friends or male colleagues.
There are two types of chocolate that are gifted:
The first one is called “Giri-choco” and is meant for male friends, colleagues and acquaintances. “Giri” means “obligation” in Japanese so this type of chocolate is mostly just a friendly gesture without any romance involved.
There is however the “Honmei-choco” which represents the real deal that girls and women create for their loved ones. This type is also often handmade because the Japanese feel that it does not represent true love if you just buy it in a store.
You might have seen such a Valentine’s Day event happening in an anime (アニメ) where it is quite a popular occurrence. In that regard, anime does a relatively good job in portraying what it really is like.
Should you ever receive “honmei-choco”, then know that you might want to further investigate the reasons behind it. 😉
Now you might ask yourself: “Do men not have to do anything?”
Don’t you worry, there is an extra day for that! It’s called White Day and it’s exactly one month after Valentine’s Day, on March 14th.
On this day, men reciprocate what was given to them on Valentine’s Day. Ideally, they prepare a present for every woman from whom they got a gift one month prior.
Japanese stores and shops offer crazy amounts of items for the occasion, most of which are in white coloring hence the name “White Day”.
In general, you can expect a similar marketing happening around the two days as you are used to elsewhere. Although, the Japanese might take it a step further (as they often do).
I have never heard of this kind of separation anywhere else so it might really be a Japanese exclusive (correct me if I’m wrong).
Recommended places to visit on Valentine's Day
Yokohama Ferris Wheel
I have yet to cover Yokohama (横浜) on my blog but it will be featured in the future, I promise! In the city’s port area, there is a big amusement park along with a huge Ferris Wheel that also serves as a clock.
For about 1,000 Yen (8€/$9.17), you can take a round on it and get some amazing views. Highly recommended!
This park is a favorite among many couples. You can board a cute Swan boat for 30 minutes for just 700 Yen (5,60€/$6.42). In February, they are available for rent from 9:30 until about 17:00 (On Wednesdays they are closed though). Remember to wear appropriate clothes for the season!
Other than the boat tours, taking a stroll around the central pond is amazing in itself! I went there together with my girlfriend multiple times.
And that’s pretty much all you need to know about Valentine’s Day and White Day in Japan!
I hope you’ll be having a splendid Valentine’s Day yourself and spent some quality time with your partner.
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In my next post it’s going to be all about everyone’s favorite noodle dish: Ramen (ラーメン)!
See you there!