There is a very good article on this website by Kevin Kato that explains the origins and intricacies of Valentine’s Day in Japan, and it’s unique spinoff “White Day”.
Now that you understand how to proceed in Japan if you are living here and want to give gifts to your host family, coworkers, or housemates, or if you are just visiting and want to buy things to take home with you, here are some inexpensive suggestions.
Notebook, 100 yenDaiso is probably the biggest and most famous 100-yen shop in Japan. Not everything at Daiso is 100 yen, but everything shown here is. Daiso has a huge selection of ingredients and packaging for making and packing your own Valentine’s Day confections. If you don’t want to make your own, or don’t have a kitchen while you are in Japan, there are gift bags and boxes, and some gifts that aren’t candy at all.
Daiso also has a big candy section where you can buy regular Japanese candy. If you are giving the gift to a foreign friend or coworker, or taking it back to give to someone in your country of origin, a fun and unusual valentine would be to fill one of the gift bags or boxes with original Japanese candy and chocolate.
In Japan hand-made sweets are considered a more thoughtful and meaningful gift than something simply purchased. Daiso has everything you could possibly need to show how much you care; melting chocolate in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, chocolate molds in every shape, decorating pens, sprinkles, decorative sugar, transfer sheets, cookie cutters, heart-shaped cake tins and every type of packaging you can imagine, from traditional to trendy.
Here is a sampling of what Daiso has on the shelves right now.
Melting chocolate and decorating pens
Sprinkles, nuts, and colored sugar
Gift bagsEverything pictured above is from Daiso and is 100 yen plus tax 8 yen=108 yen.
If you don’t have the time or the desire to put something together yourself, or if you like kits that are already put together, hit the grocery store. The things pictured below are all from my local grocery store. The selection is sure to be very similar where you are; Especially with the major chocolate brands like Ghana and Meiji, and the kits by Home Made Cake.
Ghana boxed chocolate bar (89 yen), available at most grocery stores.Ghana chocolate bars can be given as gifts, or melted and molded.
Home Made Cake Kits
All of the above kits are less than 500 yen and available at most grocery stores in Japan.
Marshmallow Truffettes de France (400 yen)
Rilakuma, (a popular Japanese character) Valentines
Meiji giant chocolate bar 1,000 yen, at most grocery storesAnd, finally if you are overwhelmed by all of the options and want a no fail gift, you can’t go wrong with a giant meiji chocolate bar. These are especially good to take back as a souvenir, because meiji is one of Japan’s oldest and most popular brands of chocolate.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!