About 70 years ago, Japanese sweet companies had the idea of increasing sales by selling “Valentine’s Day candy.” But how could they make the holiday catch on in Japan? Let’s find out!
From the beginning of February, almost every shop has some sort of Valentine’s Day display. And it can seem like the only colors that exist are pink, red, and chocolate brown. Entire shelves and aisles suddenly become full of Valentine’s Day candy!
Malls and department stores become crowded with shoppers seeking that perfect gift. The shops spend much time and money trying to outdo each other with advertising, sales, over-the-top displays, and custom treats. Regular packaging is replaced with heart-shaped boxes, ribbons, and wrapping services.
Some stores use bouquets of roses. Others display high-priced chocolates in glass cases. Still, others may resort to gimmicks, such as chocolate boxes the size of cars or chocolate bars as large as a serving tray! And there is no end to the many types, shapes, and packaging of treats.
Every business wants some of the millions of yen spent on Valentine’s Day candy each year. Even shops with nothing to do with sweets get in on the action! Stationery stores might have a ribbon sale. Hardware stores may suddenly put a selection of chocolates at the checkout counter. A lunch box counter might sell onigiri-shaped hearts covered in bright pink fish eggs!
There is no Valentine’s Day candy rule in Japan, but chocolate is the most popular! Foreign chocolate brands like KitKat and Snickers are popular on the cheaper side. Especially KitKat comes in various unusual flavors like green tea (matcha) and sweet potato. Many people make homemade chocolates for a personal touch. Making a large batch is cheap; chocolate-making supplies like molds, sprinkles, and raw chocolate are easy to find.
People also enjoy local and novelty treats. Inexpensive Japanese chocolate like “Shiroi Koibito” from Hokkaido is a good example. Ruby chocolate is also made from red cocoa beans. Its unusual berry taste is sure to be appreciated, and it is available as chocolate, ice cream, or cookies.
And, of course, there are the highly high-end brands. “DeLafée” is a Swiss chocolate that combines truffles with premium cocoa beans. Their “Golden Truffle” replaces colorful sprinkles and powdered sugar with edible gold leaf! This chocolate costs as much as 10,000 yen per piece, so consider carefully before buying the gift set!
Are you looking for delicious chocolates and treats this Valentine’s Day? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat delivers limited-edition Japanese noodles, snacks, drinks, and sweets right to your door so you can enjoy the latest Christmas treats directly from Japan!
Harajuku Candy is an online shop with an enormous selection of candies. The site sells popular brands like Hershey’s, Reese’s, and M&M’s, but there are also unusual chocolates like cherry blossom, matcha, and chocolate-filled “marshmallow.” The prices are already low, but you can also buy wholesale to save even more!
Candy a Go Go! specializes in imported and original sweets. They sell over 100 different kinds, but you can also create customized Valentine’s Day candy. And you can purchase either online or at one of their many stores. Their colorful shops are worth an in-person visit!
Marmano Chocolate is a specialty chocolate company with a focus on quality. They sell environmentally friendly ingredients from all over the world while supporting local farmers. Their international selection of chocolate products includes raw Amazonian chocolate from Ecuador, Ariba cacao, and cocoa guayusa drink. So visit their online or Akasaka shop if you’re looking for a unique gift!
When Japanese candy companies connected Valentine’s Day to the tradition of kokuhaku, the day’s meaning became more serious. Initially, women only gave homemade honmei (“favorite”) chocolate to the men they desired.
But soon, women also began giving giri (“obligation”) chocolate to coworkers and friends. (These are the kinds of chocolates men find on their desks at work.) It also became famous for women to give tomo (“friend”) chocolate to family and female friends.
Nowadays, women spend about 5000 yen for different Valentine’s Day candy types. So it isn’t surprising that women also buy chocolate for themselves, known as jibun (“yourself”) chocolate. Luckily, women receive gifts one month later on White Day. And these gifts must be several times the value of the chocolate they gave!
What do you think of Japanese Valentine’s Day customs? Are there any good ideas or shops for Valentine’s Day candy that should have been mentioned? Leave a comment below!
Matcha green tea is one of Japan’s most beloved drinks. Join us as we look at the best matcha Japanese snacks you need to try!
Wasabi was different from your average condiment! Why is it such a big deal in Japanese food? Well, there’s more to it than just its strong taste.
Canned cuisine, or “kanzume,” has captured food enthusiasts’ hearts and taste buds nationwide. Let’s explore the flavorful world of Japanese canned delights!
Japan has some unique delicacies waiting to be discovered. Among them, horse meat stands out as a popular option!
“Will you be my Valentine?” It’s time to unlock the secrets of Valentine’s Day in Japan with our guide to the best snacks and romantic traditions!
Hey snack enthusiasts, get ready for a wild ride through the tasty wonderland of Japanese snacks – and the magic happens right at your doorstep!