Three date destinations for all those hopeless romantics spending Valentine’s Day in Japan.
Valentine’s Day in Japan
Japan’s unique Valentine’s Day traditions have found interest overseas via anime and manga series featuring homemade chocolates and White Day celebrations, but a good old-fashioned Valentine’s Day date is at the heart of this romantic holiday even in Japan. So if you’re planning to spend Valentine’s Day in Tokyo, where should you take that special someone? The easiest option is a fancy meal or a night on the town, but if you want to go the extra mile for an extra special date with your darling, there are plenty of great destinations within the city of Tokyo or day-trip distance. So check the Japankuru event calendar for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or check out these three date recommendations that won’t let you down.
Date Spot ①: Enoshima Aquarium
Aquariums are go-to date spots all over Japan, but the romantic lighting and picture-perfect exhibits have made Enoshima Aquarium popular enough to even show up in a number of Japanese dramas and anime series. The “Jellyfish Fantasy Hall” has huge tanks that wrap around the organically-shaped walls, a triumph of the aquarium researchers who have long been at the forefront of jellyfish tech, and a relaxing place for couples to sit together and watch the jellyfish float by. And out in the open air, the Enoshima Aquarium Sea Turtle Beach offers a chance to squeal over adorable baby turtles with a special someone, before the grown turtles are returned to the ocean as part of an effort to boost local populations. Enoshima is about an hour from Tokyo, but the aquarium is a special destination, and the surrounding area of Enoshima/Kamakura offers plenty of places to eat or grab coffee, do some sightseeing, and walk hand-in-hand along the beach. Take your date to this aquarium for a Valentine’s Day straight out of a movie, and steal a kiss in the glow of the floor-to-ceiling fish tanks.
Date Spot ②: Kairakuen Garden
One of the official “Three Great Gardens of Japan,” Kairakuen Garden is a historic park that draws sightseers throughout the year, but there’s no doubt that the end of winter is the best time to visit – making it a perfect destination for you and your valentine! The garden was a project of daimyo Tokugawa Nariaki in the late 1840s, who took the bold step of opening the park to the general public and giving it the name Kairakuen (偕楽園), which loosely translates to “a garden to enjoy together.” These days most people visit during February and March, when the garden’s 3,000 plum trees burst into bloom with over 100 different varieties of gorgeous plum blossoms. For well over a century, the yearly bloom has inspired the local Mito Plum Blossom Festival, which gives attendees a chance to admire the flowers while they sample plum-based snacks and Japanese plum wine, called “umeshu” (梅酒). Despite being 2~3 hours from Tokyo by train, as soon as the plum blossoms begin to bloom, Kairakuen never fails to attract crowds of excited visitors from the big city. Yearly festival dates can vary, but in 2023 the event begins the weekend before Valentine’s Day, making it a rather romantic day trip from Tokyo. Whisk your date away to the countryside for this “garden to enjoy together,” and spend the day sipping plum wine and walking together under the flowers.
Date Spot ③: Marunouchi at Night
In Japan, holiday lights are rarely limited to the holiday season, and streets of Marunouchi (outside Tokyo Station) are lined with glittering gold trees from November to February each year. The location is convenient, and the cost (free) is hard to beat, but for lovey-dovey couples who just want a little atmosphere, this illumination can add a little magic to any date after dark. The trees laced with glowing lights go on for over a kilometer, with more than a million champagne-colored lights glittering along the path (using eco-friendly low-energy bulbs), and the best way to keep your fingers from freezing in the cold February air is to reach for your valentine’s hand. ♡
Find the Perfect Date Spot for You!
Still haven’t found the perfect date destination to make all your Valentine’s Day dreams come true? Don’t worry, Tokyo has something for everyone! Grab your special someone and head to Shimokitazawa for a day of curry and cafes, do some sightseeing at Sensoji Temple while you pray for a long and happy relationship, or enjoy a romantic sunset from the highest spot in the city at the top of Tokyo Skytree. There are endless options for you and your Tokyo valentine, and new events being added to the Japankuru event calendar all the time, so all that’s left is to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day and send you on your way!
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