Valentine's Day in Tokyo

Make the most of the role reversal – we bring you the best date tips and fanciest chocolates
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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 picks, including date ideas, love hotel suggestions, romantic bars and – of course – the city's most desirable chocolate treats.

Take your date to...

Bars and pubs

...a fancy bar

There are those who say that bars are no place for a date. These people are fools. True, you run the risk of the bartender eavesdropping your sweet nothings and your date being horrified as you outdrink them at a ratio of three to one, but conducting your courtship at the counter also means great views, killer cocktails and a place to drown your sorrows should it not work out.

Bars and pubs, Rooftop bars

...admire the city at night

There are few things more breathtaking than gazing out over the sea of lights that is Tokyo at night, and virtually everyone in the city has their own favourite spot for viewing the spectacle. Admiring the view is of course best done while sipping a drink in good company – try one of these bars for the best vistas...

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Restaurants

...a romantic restaurant

Whether you're planning an impressive first date, an anniversary or even for Valentine's Day, it can be a hard decision to narrow down a restaurant in a city filled with so many top restaurants. From restaurants overlooking the sprawling Tokyo skyline to down-to-earth neighbourhood eateries, here's a list of restaurants to book for your next date night. 

Things to do, Ice skating

...the ice-skating rink

Ice skating's obviously something best experienced out in the open, and preferably together with that special someone. Quality rinks can be found all around the city – these are some of our top picks...

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Hotels

...a love hotel

Not all love hotels are the same: offering a full-on 'entertainment experience' and welcoming visitors of all stripes, be they a gay couple, a group of adventurous female friends or a carful of tired campers, our list of 'multi-use' establishments is well worth checking out for your V-Day prep...

Shop for the fanciest choc...

Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

The best chocolates for ¥500 or less

Ah, it’s that sweet time of year again when everyone goes into a frenzy buying chocolates for friends, colleagues and loved ones. In Japan, something known as giri-choco (or ‘obligation chocolates’ in literal translation) are given out by women to guys like male friends and co-workers during this chocolate-obsessed holiday. Purchasing obligatory chocolates can be a nice gesture but it can also take a toll on your wallet. So go easy with these tasty yet affordable options that are all about ¥500 or less.

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