10 Easy Japanese Gift Ideas For This Valentine’s Day
With Love, From JTB's New Online Store
Roses are red, violets are blue, it’s time to organize Valentine’s presents and we are here for you.
Just like in the West, the Japanese consider February 14 to be a day of confessing love, sharing gifts and making your significant other(s) feel special and spoiled. Expect restaurants to be booked out and queues lining depachika (department store food halls) for days.
The biggest difference from the West, however, is that Valentine’s Day in Japan is usually celebrated by women giving chocolates to their partner, friends or coworkers. March 14, known as “White Day,” is the day where men give the chocolate in return!
But, local rules aside, if you’re looking for interesting and special gifts to give your loved ones from Japan this Valentine’s Day, look no further than this recently launched online store from JTB, Japan’s largest travel agency. Here you’ll find an eclectic range of excellent quality gifts showcasing the best of the country’s culinary, craft and design culture. From confectionary to stationary to travel goods, you’re bound to find a unique made-in-Japan gift they’ll love.
So whether you’re organizing a dinner date and honmei choco (本命チョコ) for your romantic partner, jibun choco (自分チョコ) and a day at the spa for yourself, or you’re after some fab chocolate-free alternatives for your work colleagues, we’ve got you covered with this list of ten recommended Valentine’s gifts.
1. Tokyo Banana Langue De Chat
Treat that special someone with a box of this famous Tokyo souvenir with a twist: Tokyo Choco Banana Lange de Chat. This package contains 20 pieces of chocolate-sandwiched, banana-flavored cookies (that taste ten times better than the OG Tokyo Banana sponge cakes in our opinion). Elegant in flavor, luxurious in packaging, you can’t go wrong with an iconic omiyage like this one.
2. Oita-Made Japanese Fountain Pen
Give them a gift crafted from love. This beautifully made fountain pen combines the traditional Japanese color of love—indigo—with the love of craftsmanship and local manufacturing, all the way from Oita Prefecture in southern Japan. At ¥55,000 it’s not cheap, so you’ll want to reserve this choice for a very special someone.
3. Tokyo Black Thunder Chocolate
This delicious convenience store bestseller can be found all over Japan. Spoil your loved ones with a box of 15 of these household-name chocolates. Like a Snickers bar but with a much-improved chocolate-to-peanuts ratio, Black Thunder are made from cookie pieces and peanuts finished with brown sugar and slathered with a scrumptious coating of chocolate. Many rate these as Japan’s best chocolate bar. A Savvy Tokyo office survey (involving a whole lot of testing) confirmed that to be very true.
4. Confectionery Box by Kikunoya
What could be a better Valentine’s present than the gift of new beginnings in edible form? This gift from the 128-year-old confectionery company, Ginza Kikunoya, features an array of different themed items, including sweets and cookies in the shape of cherry blossom petals (a spring symbol of rebirth and renewal).
5. Toshimaya Honten Dajinjo Sake
If your Valentine likes the finer things in life, get them a bottle of high-end Japanese sake. Daiginjo is high quality, aromatic sake with a rich taste that pairs beautifully with fresh fruit or light flavors. Look no further than this one, brewed by Toshimaya Honten—Tokyo’s oldest sake brewery.
6. Kobe White Chocolate Strawberries
For a different kind of choccie treat, we recommend these mouthwatering white chocolate covered freeze-dried strawberries from beloved Kobe City sweets makers, Frantz. With romantic red packaging, these are perfect for any Valentine with a sweet tooth but who still wants to get those vitamins in!
7. Mt Fuji On-The-Rocks Glass
These gorgeous Mt. Fuji-themed glasses are for a Valentine who likes things a little more luxurious. Each piece of glassware is handcrafted to perfectly reflect the shape of the emblematic Mt Fuji at the base, meaning you can view it every day without having to climb it! Ideal for anyone with a thirst for bringing a touch of Japan into their home.
8. Ueno Panda Crunch Chocolates
Inspired by the adorable pandas from Tokyo’s most famous zoo, these chocolates are fun, sweet and delightfully adorable—perfect for a Valentine’s Day gift for the kids. Tokyo Ueno Panda Crunch are multilayered chocolates with a crunchy base and a super kawaii panda imprint on top. One box contains eight individually packaged chocolates which means you can give them out to a bigger group of several S.O.s, too.
9. Kyoto Green Tea
So, your Valentine is a tea aficionado? Gift them some beautifully grown green tea all the way from Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto. This green tea has a distinctive scent with a mature aroma—it’s perfect to pair with some of the other sweet treats on this list! Since green tea is good for you, it’ll also balance out all that sugar, right?
10. Kibi Dango
If traditional sweets or cool mythology are more your Valentine’s thing, you can’t go wrong with this box of adorably packaged kibi dango (soft, sweet rice balls) from Okayama. This sweet is closely linked with the myth of Momotaro: the boy hero who burst from a peach and killed an oni (demon) that was terrorizing the town. What better way to let your S.O. know they’re your hero?
To search for more Japanese goods, head over to the JTB Shopping website. Though the website is currently in Japanese only, it’s easy enough to navigate and you can use Google’s auto-translation function if you need to when you check out.
Those with a JTB Travel member’s account can get special discounts, collect JTB Travel points and snag free shipping on orders over ¥5,400. And what could be more love-ly in the season of love than ¥500 off your first purchase? Just check out this page for more info.