Not satisfied with the rather restrictive Japanese “tradition” of women giving men chocolates on February 14? Why not make things a bit more romantic? Here are some Tokyo Valentine’s Day ideas that are big on Cupid points, but easy to put into action.

If you’re not keen on cutesy Valentine’s Day stuff, here are some other date ideas in Tokyo.

1. See their eyes light up

illuminations tokyo marunouchi/ginza
Many winter illuminations are still on till Valentine’s Day. | Photo by iStock.com/kanzilyou

After a nice (wallet-friendly) dinner, grab some hot takeaway drinks and go for a wander, taking in the last of Tokyo’s winter illuminations together. If you missed them during the holiday season, this is a great chance to catch the impressive Tokyo Dome City Illuminations, Hibiya Illuminations, and the ever-classy Marunouchi Illuminations before they end.

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2. Try chocolate ramen

Menya Musashi are offering a sweet and savory Valentine’s Day treat. | Photo by Lotte

Yes, you read it right. Chocolate ramen is not uncommon to find this time of year, and you might be surprised to learn that it’s delicious (honestly!). Menya Musashi, who have collaborated with Ghana chocolate maker Lotte, are serving a dish that combines a slice of milk chocolate with a tomato-based broth. It is completed with sliced beef, chocolate dumplings, chili oil, nuts, and mushrooms.

This year, the ramen costs ¥1,380 and is being served up at Menya Musashi Iwatora in Akihabara. Be quick: It’s only available until February 14 and there are limited servings (20) a day.

Luckily there are other places to get your fix. Mensho’s delicious chocolate ramen is back, and fancier than ever. You can find this dish at Mensho Korakuen and Mensho in Shinjuku Mylord. They may add more restraurants, too, so check their Twitter.

3. Valentine’s day on ice

Mid Town Ice Rink
The Midtown Ice Rink is a popular spot during Valentine’s Day. | Photo by Gregory Lane

Whether you’re a veritable Asada in the rink or an absolute beginner, ice skating can be a fun date. If you’re broke, give your beloved a twirl around the Edogawa Sportsland Rink (that’s right, it’s the cheapest option at ¥520, plus skate rental). Other venues that are a bit more expensive include Yokohama Akarenga Rink and Tokyo Midtown. For more details on these venues, see our ice skating guide.

4. Love blossoms

Japan plum blossoms
The power of plum. | Photo by iStock.com/kawamura_lucy

A stroll through beautiful, fragrant plum blossoms — how much more romantic can you get? Add a few snacks and a blanket, and you’re winning at this dating thing. Yushima Tenjin, Ushi Tenjin, and Hanegi Park are spectacular spots.

Read more about how and where to see plum blossoms in Tokyo. And if orchids are your romantic flower of choice, the Japan International Orchid and Flower Show will be happening until February 14.

Pro tip: For a day trip or overnight getaway, you could check out the early-blooming Kawazu cherry blossoms at festivals in Matsuda and Miura.

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5. Climb 600 stairs at Tokyo Tower

Don’t look up? | Photo by Adriana Paradiso

It might not scream sexy, but it’s novel and will certainly test your dedication to each other. Walk, trot, or haul your unfit body all the way up the outside stairs to the observation deck of Tokyo Tower (you usually have to take the lift). Save money if you book online.

Once you’ve recovered, lose your breath again as you take in the sparkling night view of the city — along with the view, you are also rewarded with a certificate. It’s not much, but hey, it’s exercise, and they say that lovers that exercise together, stay together!

6. Say it with chocolates and sweet treats

If you’re a pro in the kitchen, consider making chocolate yourself. | Photo by Getty Images

If you are set on the whole chocolate thing, we have three suggestions. First, spend a bit extra and get your chocolate fix at one of the many cafés in Tokyo that are doing Valentine’s specials — like Lindt Chocolat Cafe.

Second, hunt for an afternoon tea deal — we like the menu at the Ginger Garden. A cheaper alternative is the special ¥3,800 plan at Hotel Kaie in Shiomi.

Lastly, since chocolates will likely be discounted on the 14th, why not grab a bargain and pick some up late on the day of, or simply push back your cocoa-filled celebrations to the 15th? You can always make your own too — read more about the chocolate-filled Japanese approach to Valentine’s Day.

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Pro tip: Check out our six top picks for late-night desserts in Tokyo, for a sweet way to end the day.

7. Go on a romantic cruise at sunset

Can it get any more romantic than a sunset? | Photo by Alex Ziminski

The colors of a deep sunset are enough to set a fire in any heart. Take that feeling and put it on the ocean. There are several boat trips on the water in Tokyo, but none do the fancy dining experience quite like Symphony Cruises. There are several times of day you can go to marvel at the Tokyo skyline around Tokyo Bay, but we recommend either evening or dusk.

To keep it casual, you can also opt for a quick afternoon cruise for only ¥2,200.

Valentine’s Day in Japan FAQs

How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in Japan?

Valentine’s Day in Japan is all about the chocolate. Usually, women give chocolate to not only their partners but also to coworkers, classmates, and friends. Many opt for small boxes or even Kit Kat bars from the convenience store, but others roll up their sleeves and get to making chocolate by themselves. While the pressure falls on women and girls to be chocolate couriers every February 14, there is a day when they can relax and receive chocolate from the men and boys …

What is White Day?

White Day is held a month after Valentine’s Day, on March 14, and if you couldn’t guess by the name, is all about white chocolate. This is the day when the recipients of Valentine’s Day treats give back — this is usually done by men.

Note that times are changing and many are putting their feet down against Valentine’s Day gender-based obligations.

How can I get a date in Tokyo?

If you’re single and looking for love, perhaps attending a gokon (like a group blind date) might be the first step to a future romance. Or why don’t you hit the many bars and clubs in town?

If you don’t want to deal with the language barrier, you could join the Meetup group that is Tokyo International Singles, as they have a number of Valentine’s events. And last but not least, dating apps like Tinder and Hinge are still the easiest place to meet people, for better or for worse.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post was originally published on February 14, 2014. Last update: January 31, 2024, by Alex Ziminski.
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