Valentine’s Day in Japan is a time full of love, but with a few slight differences from its Western counterpart — on February 14, gents receive gifts from the ladies. This unique holiday tradition is not just for the romantics among us, but for everyone: rather than giving presents just to your significant other, chocolates are handed out to male colleagues, friends, neighbors, bosses, teachers and, of course, the object of your affection, who may also get something a little more special.
But don’t think for a moment that the men are off the hook. One month after Valentine’s Day, on March 14, is White Day, an affair in Japan (and a few other Asian countries) that is a chance for the guys to return the favor. Department stores, like Isetan and Takashimaya, are full of inspiration for lovely ladies’ gifts with offerings ranging from white chocolates and flowers to more extravagant items such as white pashmina stoles and diamonds.
Both Valentine’s Day and White Day are great fun in Tokyo. Here are some ideas for romantic gestures to spoil your loved ones when it’s your turn to treat:
Indulge in a sumptuous spa day
Treat your special someone to a day of romance, pampering and relaxation with a couples service at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Yu, The Spa tucked away inside Four-Star Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo. The elegant, Oriental-style treatment rooms get things off to a stellar start with luxurious appointments and views of the traditional Japanese gardens.
Enjoy a 90- or 120-minute, side-by-side soothing treatment you curate with your choice of a body scrub, massage, a rubdown and a facial or a skin and scalp offering.
The best part about booking time in the exclusive couples suite may come post-treatment when you enjoy 30 minutes of relaxation along with fresh fruit and herbal tea to help you recharge.
Afterward, be sure to make time for a soak in the hot springs bath filled with fresh spring water from Shizuoka Prefecture near Mount Fuji.
Stop and smell the roses
Five-Star Palace Hotel Tokyo is not only home to stellar service, stunning design and legendary martinis, but it’s where you find a boutique from Christian Tortu, one of the most celebrated florists in the world.
The French stylist has gained a following in Tokyo for his understanding of the Japanese philosophy of seasonality, appreciating each element as it appears in nature.
Beautiful, exotic flowers and elaborate bouquets done in Japanese- or European-style arrangements can be ordered here. And on Valentine’s Day, vibrant reds will be available while feminine white and pastels will be sold for White Day.
Savor sips and sweets
If your honey has a sweet tooth, make sure to stop by The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo for a delightful dessert from The Ritz-Carlton Café & Deli. Cute little pink confections, heart-shaped puddings and the Four-Star hotel’s classic treats are all proudly displayed at the cake counter.
A treat for the eyes can also be found at the Tokyo property’s 45th-floor Bar. Take in a view of the city’s night lights as you sip cocktails created especially for Valentine’s Day (February 12 through 18). The set includes a rose petal gin martini and a spiced cherry brandy served alongside a photo of you and your special someone to help you remember the romantic evening.