Valentine's Day in Tokyo 2015

Eat chocolate, stay at a love hotel, watch 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Valentine's Day in Tokyo 2015

Yep, you've heard it before: February 14 in Japan is, ahem, different – women give men chocolate, and men, well, receive chocolate. Unlike elsewhere in the world, going on dates used to be rather rare, and nobody really cared even if you were single – aside from being the wet dream of every chocolate maker out there, V-Day was just another day. Apart from the choc, all this seems to be quietly changing, as more and more Tokyoites are putting effort into actually treating their special someone to a special day. Join the fray with our sweet 'n' saucy Valentine's Day feature, including tips for navigating the role reversal, a roundup of love hotels, and a chat with Jamie Dornan, star of the hotly anticipated film Fifty Shades of Grey, which is opening in Tokyo just in time for the 14th. First up, fun dates and OTT chocolates...

Take your date to...

...the Skytree

Tokyo Skytree Town Valentine's
The Skytree and its surrounds welcome lovebirds with a special programme from late January to mid-March: on weekends and holidays, the tower itself will be lit up in chocolate-themed colours, while high rollers can book a private trip with the 'shuttle' elevator up to the Sky Restaurant, where a special dinner menu awaits. The Solamachi mall chips in with obligatory chocolate sales and seasonal discounts.
Full details

...see some choc-art

Bulgari Il Cioccolato Retrospective
They call them 'chocolate gems', and it's hard to argue with these tiny pieces of edible art, crafted every day by the pâtissiers at Ginza's Bulgari Tower. This 'retrospective' featuring a full 100 varieties of choc should make for a nice ice-breaker – just don't go hungry.
Full details

...a sugary workshop

The Secret Patisserie
Back by popular demand after last year's success, this extra-sugary pop-up run by 'creative office' Kloka lets visitors make their own chocolate cupcakes, flavoured popcorn, cotton candy and the like, while tired wannabe-pâtissiers can recharge with 'hot chocolate on tap', available in three different flavours.
Full details with lasers

FabCafe Valentine's
With a 3D printer and laser cutter on the premises, Shibuya's FabCafe offers an ideal environment for creative types looking to make some of their very own V-Day sweets. The Macaron Fab set lets you create a design on one of the café's iPads and then laser-cut it onto some colourful macarons, while the Fab So Sweets programme involves you and your date getting 3D-scanned, printed and placed on a jar cap (yeah, just go with it).
Full details

...the zoo

Valentine's Day Guided Tour at Ueno Zoo
Learn about the game of love between a variety of animals on this guided tour of Ueno Zoo. Register on the day.
Full details

...the mosh pit

Valentine Rock
Liquidroom's annual V-Day party ditches the acoustic theme for this year, opening up the stage for all sorts of quirky characters, including dreamy pop quintet Passepied and indomitable rock showman Strange Reitaro. One thing hasn't changed, though: the ticket price still includes a tangerine.
Full details

Shop for and fill up with...

...chocolate bling

Del Rey Valentine's Collection
Just like every other candy dealer in town, Antwerp-based chocolate makers Del Rey are coming out with a 'limited edition' collection for this most profitable of days. Their popular diamond-shaped choccies will be sold in a special diamond box, while the flavours have also been switched up for the occasion. Cheaper than real diamonds, but only just.
Full details

...creamy cupcakes

Magnolia Bakery Valentine's Collection
The wildly popular Harajuku outpost of NYC's dessert specialists Magnolia Bakery turns up the sweetness one more notch for V-Day with offerings like heart-shaped cupcakes and seasonal chocolate cookies. Looking to relieve some of the stress on their main store, Magnolia has also opened pop-up shops all over town for the occasion, making Valentine's a great excuse to finally try some of these decadent treats.
Full details

...B-grade 'thunder'

Black Thunder Giri-Choco Shop
Getting giri-choco ('obligation chocolate') for the boys can feel like a chore, but some enthusiastic ladies still go to great lengths even when deciding on these semi-mandatory 'presents'. Hoping to catch exactly such eager shoppers, this Black Thunder pop-up at Tokyo Station sells a wide variety of limited-edition versions of Japan's favourite 'B-grade' chocolate bar. Braving the queues requires you to really embrace the 'obligation' part.
Full details

...fancy French favourites

Joël Robuchon Valentine's Gifts
Not one to let a juicy business opportunity pass him by, Joël Robuchon's boutiques in Roppongi, Marunouchi and Ebisu will again be selling six kinds of special gift boxes for Valentine's Day, including the 'Bon Bon Chocolat' six-piece set that features new flavours like passion fruit and caramel coated with white chocolate. So good you'll want to buy one just for yourself.
Full details eight-course chocolate dinner

Menu de Chocolat
One of the more noteworthy 'limited-edition' dessert creations this year is chef Yasushi Karato's all-chocolate eight-course dinner menu, available for a cool ¥8,640 and consisting of 'welcome chocolate', appetiser, fish, meat, three kinds of chocolate dessert, and an extra-special hot chocolate to finish up – surely a challenge for even the most enthusiastic of cocoa connoisseurs.
Full details

...Hawaiian pancakes (yes, really)

Eggs'n Things Valentine's Menu
This Hawaiian pancake house was one of the forerunners of the infamous Tokyo pancake craze, and continues to attract plenty of eager fans by switching things up every once in a while. Their annual Valentine's Day menu is already something of an institution, with this year seeing offerings like Chocolate Milk Pancakes with Mixed Berries and Chocolate Crepes with Orange and Mango Sauce. Dieters, stay away.
Full details

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


Add your comment

Copyright © 2014 Time Out Tokyo