Every year on 14th February when Valentine’s Day comes around, Japan continues its custom of ladies gifting men chocolates. Visiting any departmental store or sweets shop during this time will put chocolate-lovers in a festive mood with all the seasonal-limited chocolates on display. Let’s take an in-depth look at the way Japan celebrates Valentine’s Day and some special events to anticipate during the season of love!
This custom may seem slightly unusual to foreigners, but Valentine's Day in Japan is all about gifting chocolates. Japan also differs from its Asian neighbours in its gift-giving customs in that rather than men giving ladies gifts, men receive gifts of chocolate from ladies.Recently, the customs of gifting chocolates to co-workers and friends, exchanging expensive brand-name chocolates between female friends, and buying special chocolates as a treat for oneself have become more common and popular as well!In 1980 on 14th March, one month after Valentine's Day, “White Day” became the customary day in Japan for men to show their feelings and appreciation for the chocolate they received on Valentine's Day by gifting sweets back to their lady counterparts. This uniquely interesting custom was initiated by sweets manufacturing cooperatives throughout Japan. Therefore, you can easily find limited-time speciality chocolates when visiting chocolate shops during the time near Valentine's Day and White Day when love is in the air!
From the beginning of the new year to 14th February, Japan dives headfirst into the Valentine’s Day atmosphere. During this time, you can purchase special limited-edition chocolates and novelties, and convenience stores and supermarkets usually display their newly released seasonal chocolates from around mid-January. There are numerous Valentine’s Day themed events happening throughout the country you will not want to miss! Perhaps one of the most popular events is the St. Valentine’s Day Chocolate Expo held at the Hankyu Umeda Main Store, Hankyu Kyoto, and other Hankyu department stores.There are also other chocolate-related events such as “Salon du Chocolat”, a shop filled with famous chocolate brands from around the world gather to satisfy your tastebuds for luxurious sweets, or Amour du Chocolate, Takashimaya's special collection of over 2, 500 limited-time and newly released varieties of chocolate. “Amour du Chocolat” is an especially popular event with over 900, 000 visitors every year. The event boasts speciality chocolate brands newly landed in Japan and is sure to make any chocolate-lover melt with excitement! Do not miss the opportunity to taste chocolates from all over the world on your next trip to Japan.
Most chocolate-themed events are held until Valentine’s Day. Visitors who have planned their trips after Valentine's Day has already ended can still enjoy special chocolate buffets and afternoon tea at various hotels and restaurants!From standard chocolate desserts to uniquely designed treats, each venue's menu is overflowing with personality! Afternoon tea offerings are especially appetizing with a large offering of chocolates and seasonal fruits to taste and compare to find your personal favourite. If you are in the Greater Tokyo Area, we recommend checking out the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, and the Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto and Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto in Kansai. Experience a feast for the senses with the intermingling of each sweet's artistic visuals and decadent sweetness of the highest quality cacao. Each hotel's reservation list is sure to fill quickly due to the popularity of the limited-time offerings, so make sure to reserve early.
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