Romantic Places to Visit in Japan on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day in Japan is observed mostly by women who give presents to men, usually chocolates. But not all presents given on Valentine’s Day involve romance.  Giri-choko (義理チョコ, courtesy chocolate) are chocolates given to men who are either friends, colleagues, or bosses, and these symbolize friendship or gratitude, while honmei-choko (本命チョコ, chocolates of love) are given to men of romantic interest.

Giri-choko. | ORAZ Studio

A month later, on White Day”men who received either the giri-choko or the honmei-choko on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor to the women. Though this unique Japanese tradition is still much observed, more and more Japanese couples are starting to do something romantic on Valentine’s Day.

Here are some ideas for having a romantic Valentine’s Day with your special someone when in Japan.

Take your special someone on a stroll in a Japanese garden.

There’s no better way to get to know someone than by talking with them. Japan has some of the most beautiful gardens for the perfect backdrop in wooing your date.  Some gardens you can visit are:

Imperial Palace East Gardens—a convenient 5- to 10-minute walk from Tokyo Station, the gardens are the location of the former Edo Castle and are now part of the present Imperial Palace. The foundation of the former castle tower still stands, along with its impressive moats. The gardens are well maintained and exemplify the immaculate landscaping techniques the Japanese are known for.

shinjuku1

Shinjuku Gyoen—only a 10-minute walk from east Shinjuku Station, the park has wide lawns with ponds and trees that make any stroll romantic. There is a French garden as well a Japanese landscaped garden. Shinjuku Gyoen is also a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing each spring.

Shinjuku Gyoen.

Get a romantic bird’s-eye view from Tokyo Skytree.

With a height of 634 meters (2080 feet), the Skytree is currently the tallest structure in Japan. The lower deck, 350 meters high, is the Tembo Deck. Large windows and a 360° panoramic view allow visitors to see Tokyo in all its glory. Visitors who want to view the city from even higher up can take elevators to the Tembo Gallery.

Take a romantic day trip from Tokyo.

If you are staying in the busy metropolis of Tokyo, taking a relaxing day trip outside the city can be a welcome way to rejuvenate, spend some quality time with your special someone, and see other beautiful parts of Japan. Some places well within a day’s reach include:

1654333849_56bb074d3f_zHakone—less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo, it is known for having some of the best hot spring resorts with great views of Mt. Fuji.

Chichibu City—in Saitama Prefecture, you can visit fields of breathtaking shibazakura (moss phlox) in Hitsujiyama Park. Chichibu Shrine is also a popular landmark in the area.

Flowers in Chichibu. | Christopher Liang

Takasaki City—only a 50-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo, the city is known for being the leading producer of daruma dolls, lucky charm dolls in Japan. While in Takasaki City, don’t miss seeing the Shorinzan Daruma Temple and the Byakue Dai-Kannon statue.