Take our user survey and make your voice heard.
Image: iStock: RyanKing999

Valentine’s Day do’s & don’ts in Japan


Valentine’s Day is an entirely different experience in Japan than it is overseas. For starters, February 14th is a day for women to confess their feelings or give chocolates and sweets to the men in their lives. It’s not traditionally a reciprocal holiday by any means, although in recent years, gyaku barentain (reverse Valentine), where men give gifts to their partners or gifts are exchanged between partners, has been picking up as a trendy international thing to do.

There are two main categories of goodies given for Valentine’s. In brief, honmei chocolates are serious ‘I’m interested in you’ treats, while giri chocolates are ones given out of obligation. A third category, tomo chocolates given between friends, is also on the rise. Click the following links for more details about celebrating Valentine’s Day in Japan, and answers to questions about Valentine’s Day that others received last year.

For a lot of women, Japanese and otherwise living in Japan, Valentine’s Day can be depressing. March 14, White Day, isn’t much better—but more on that next month. For now, it will suffice to say that reality does not always live up to expectations.

Don’t Assume Everyone Will Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Image: iStock: Sergey Dementyev

As with any other holiday, some people celebrate Valentine’s Day and some don’t. Some companies ban celebrating Valentine’s Day during office hours, or entirely. “It’s bad for morale” (French male, 29). “It’s a distraction and inappropriate to force romantic notions on an office setting” (Japanese male, 54).

Regardless of how you feel about the day, if you are at work, listen to what office culture dictates. The last thing you want is to be disciplined or fired over chocolates.

Do Give Valentine’s Chocolates to Those You Care About

Image: iStock: ninitta

If your office encourages or permits people to celebrate Valentine’s Day, then by all means celebrate it. The options are endless in Japan at this time of year. “Plaza and Loft are my two favorite stores at this time of year. There’s so much candy to choose from!” (Japanese woman, 32).

You can gift special things to your friends and/or your crush, but be reasonable and fair in what you do. For example, if you work in a small office, bring something for everyone. In a larger one, maybe buying in bulk (CostcoHands and Loft are good options) and putting a bowl of communal snacks in a common area is the best option.


Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Why would a woman give something to a man ,that have not move her spiritually, emotionally and personally,do it for someone,who has met these criteria in your life ,not out of obligation

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Don’t Assume Everyone Will Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Correct. Every day should be valentine's day in a relationship.


Click here to read more.

No thanks.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Just another dumb article about dumb rules the Japanese have made up when taking the culture of western countries. This writer and all those who have culture stolen other's customs like Christmas, Halloween and Valentine's Day need to sit their silly azzes down and keep quiet about culture that isn't theirs.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Want to melt a Japanese woman heart,tell her Roses are Red,Skies are Blue,I like the reflection of moonlight on water at night,But it will not be as beautiful as you

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites