Valentines Day in Japan

Valentines Day in Japan

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!
We are sending out our love from Japan to you on this special saint day.

Japan has been adopting traditions from western cultures ever since the Meiji restoration. From the railroad and businessmen in suits to Christmas and KFC. Of course amongst these international cultures is Valentine’s day. And like almost everything else that has been accepted here, it has been changed and adapted to fit into the Japanese culture.

Valentine’s Day is different in Japan.

Unlike the west, where traditionally women might expect a gift from men, and a nice date with wine, in Japan, it is the women who do the giving.

Chocolate known as “本命チョコ”(honmei-choco) is presented to boyfriends, husbands and lovers. “本命” (honmei) which means “certain favourite” is considered a romantic chocolate, which is normally hand made by the gifter. Additionally, there are chocolates which are given to friends and colleagues, these are known as “義理チョコ” (Giri-choco) normally purchased from a department store by the gifter.

Japanese women normally make the chocolates for their lover by hand, as they may feel that it is not true love if it were to be purchased from a store. It’s just more special this way.

The hype for Valentine’s Day is strong; In some department stores and smaller shops you may start to see aisles full of Valentine’s Day decor and chocolates just after the New Year decor is taken down in January.

Me and Riku took the opportunity to visit a “Chocolate fair” at the SOGO department store in Hiroshima. The whole 9th floor was packed with stalls of rival chocolate companies, trying to sell they’re special additions for 2018 Valentine’s Day. It was fun – because there was free chocolate samples!

We bought a set of chocolates from one company, “Mitakiso” after tasting a piece. It was more like a chocolate brownie than a chocolate, it melted as soon as we took a bite, and we loved it!

Chocolate pieces from Mitakiso

As well as chocolate companies going head to head in a battle of who has the best chocolates, you may find certain items appearing for a limited season on menus around Japan. One of the best things to try in Japan is the bread from a bakery and during valentines season they come up with their own new ideas.

We headed over to “Donq” and bought a few different chocolate breads to enjoy whilst in Hiroshima. One of my favourite breads from Japan is the “Melon-pan” (yes melon bread) and this time they had a chocolate one with chocolate cream inside – it was to die for!

Donq‘s Chocolate Melon-pan – sooooo goood!

I myself, decided to do something a little untraditional for Japanese standard this year. I made a set of tarts for me and my husband to enjoy today.
Cheap as it may sound – they’re Angel Delight tarts – and they are delicious! (I just had to bring back Angel Delight mixture to Japan after my last visit to the UK)

We’ve got 5 small butterscotch and biscuit tarts and one large strawberry tart topped with some fresh ones from the local supermarket! We are going to be fat by the end of this evening!

Valentine’s Day maybe just for men to enjoy in Japan, but fortunately for us women they have to pay it back one month later on “White Day”. Payment can be returned in the form of Chocolates but more often than not, the guy normally spends exceptionally more than the girl had for Valentines Day and might shower her with jewellery, an expensive meal or a nice day trip out!

I await White Day 2018.

You can check out my white day celebration from 2016 here.

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