Valentine's Day is mostly all about the romance and men trying to sweep that special lady off their feet, giving them flowers, chocolates, jewelry, etc. Whereas, it's a little bit different in Japan. It's difficult for most Japanese, in general, to outright express their true feelings, so this holiday is a chance to show their feelings by giving chocolates. But just because you received chocolates from someone, doesn't necessarily mean that the person who gave them to you has any romantic feelings for you!
So there are two types of Valentine's chocolates, "giri-choco" and "honmei-choco". "Choco" is a shortened version of the word "chocolate". And for the most part, women and girls mainly give chocolates to men on this day. Then men reciprocate the gesture the next month on a day called "White Day".


giri choco"Giri-choco" or obligation chocolates are chocolates given to people you feel you have an "obligation" to. You usually give them to your male friends, co-workers, family members, and sometimes girls will give them to their girlfriends too. By giving "giri-choco", you're basically saying thank you for being a friend, or thank you for working with me, etc. It doesn't have anything to do with romantic feelings. They're usually small, cheap store bought chocolates.


honmei choco"Honmei-choco" or true love chocolates are chocolates you give to your partner or someone you have romantic feelings for. It's an expression or confession of love. "Honmei-choco" are usually homemade because it seems more personal or significant that way. However, there are many people who buy them too, and they tend to be more expensive or elaborate than "giri-choco".

Where to Buy

In the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, you can take a peek in any department store or shopping mall in Tokyo and you'll see so many stores selling chocolates that you can't buy anywhere else."Giri-choco" make great souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Check out Daimaru Tokyo's near Tokyo Station, details below! Also stop by their Tisco Japan Service Center on the 3F for currency exchange services, cell phone rental and a visitor's guidebook.
Daimaru Tokyo
1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: 10:00-21:00
Access: Just outside the ticket gate of the Yaesu North Exit of JR Tokyo Station