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Japan Celebrates Valentine’s Day Like No Other

  • 07
  • 02
  • 2018

Valentine’s Day is pretty much the same everywhere else…except in Japan. We all know how Japanese events are as quirky and as unique as the nation’s culture.  So, if you don’t know how they celebrate February 14th in Japan yet, let us do the honors of spreading the word!


History: An Equal Opportunity for Women

St. Valentine’s Day started in Japan during the 1950s when the country vastly experienced most of its cultural changes and adaptations.


Traditionally, the act of giving gifts to men from women was too radical for Japan’s conventional standpoint. To provide Japanese women the rare opportunity of confessing their feelings, February 14th became the ultimate outlet.

Men Are on the Receiving End


It’s a favorable day for men across Japan as they receive gifts from women in the form of chocolates, cookies, and sweets.

Everybody loves chocolate and Japan never comes unprepared so regardless if you’re “already taken” or “still single and looking”, men receive “sweet” gifts based on their relationship with the women. Allow us to break it down for you.


Giri choco or “obligation chocolates” are given as presents to male family members or relatives, neighbors, close friends, workmates, and bosses. Basically, it’s given to any man a woman isn’t romantically attracted to. As It’s not just a gift out of obligation but can also be out of gratitude, honor, and well wishes.



Now, this refers to the lavish gifts specifically for the woman’s S.O.—forever, soulmate, destiny, or whatever. Women put in the extra effort to make homemade honmei choco.



Valentine’s Day is a free-for-all celebration in Japan so everyone gets to enjoy chocolate! Men receive gifts from strangers, friends, family, and their girlfriends but, they can also opt for self-gifting! This is the beauty of Jibun-choco where no man—and woman—is left emptyhanded! Come to think of it, Valentine’s Day sounds like the perfect excuse to binge on chocolates and all the sweet stuff.



Although Valentine’s Day in Japan is generally dedicated to women gifting men, women are free to give chocolates to their female friends.

Gyaku-choco on White Day

These chocolates are given by men to women, but here’s the catch: men are not allowed to offer gifts to women on Valentine’s Day so they return the favor exactly a month after February 14th. Another catch? They’ll have to give gifts that are worth three times the amount of the gifts they received during V-Day!

This day of reciprocation is called “White Day”. One final thing, men aren’t only supposed to give chocolates as return presents. They can offer luxury handbags, lingerie, fancy clothes, flowers, and pieces of jewelry as gifts!

Location Details




Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 163-8001 Japan

Event Date

February 14, 2018

Hours & Fees

All Day | Free

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