Red, pink, and heart-shaped decorations displayed all over the city make for constant reminders that Valentine’s Day is around the corner.
And although the holiday in Japan is traditionally seen as a “girls gifting boys” day, there’s no reason it can’t be a collaborative effort to equally enjoy the day. Here are a few of our suggestions for activities to conquer the city together, for every budget:
Be a Tourist in Your Own City
With our busy everyday schedules and day-to-day lives, it can be difficult to find time to sit back and enjoy the city you live in. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to visit that place you’ve been meaning to go to, but haven’t quite got around to yet. Perhaps, say, Enoshima? A short train ride from central Tokyo can bring you to the island’s annual Valentine’s Day event, which offers a whole lot of light—from a mirror ball light show by graphic designers and artists to hundreds of lit balloons released into the sky.
Get Active on the Ice
It’s been said that doing physical activities together as a couple can boost bonds and improve connections. Whether it’s your first Valentine’s Day together or your fifth, skating side by side, bundled up in the cold can certainly add an extra spark to the night. The notorious concrete jungle has managed to layer a few strips of ice to skate on around Tokyo, including the ice rink in Tokyo Midtown and Meiji Jingu Gaien not far from the Meiji Shrine, or for you folks in Kanagawa, the Art Rink that has been set up in front of the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama is a great option.
Sweet Treats at the Hyatt
Forget about convenience store chocolates, you deserve a sweeter indulgence. Head to the delicious Pastry Boutique located into Park Hyatt Tokyo for a luxurious experience. Until Valentine’s Day, the pâtissiers will be whipping up some enticing desserts, rich in flavor (and calories, but who’s counting?!). Take a pick among the scrumptious-sounding Cognac Chocolate Truffles, Marshmallow Chocolat, Chocolat Florentins—or go for all of them. If chocolate isn’t your thing, you can try the aromatic Pâte de Fruit—we won’t blame you if you decide not to share.
Watch a Show—Live or on the Big Screen
Take the pressure off yourselves to be the entertainers, and just enjoy some entertainment together. Blue Note Tokyo in Omotesando is hosting its annual Valentine’s Day show for the 15th time with Ken Hirai’s acoustic jam session at ¥9,500. Billboard Live is also adding some live jazz with a hint of hip-hop to the mix with American vocalist Jose James. And if a live show doesn’t quite fit your Valentine’s Day budget, Toho Cinemas Day offers discounted tickets every month on the 14th, which falls quite conveniently this time around. Catch a movie for 1,000 JPY instead of the usual 1,800 JPY.
Those Who Bathe Together, Stay Together
February is usually one of the coldest times of the year in Tokyo, meaning that a nice bath and hot sauna session just might be the perfect cure to those close-to-frost-bitten toes. A quick trip to Yokohama to enjoy the rooftop onsen with a front row view of the Yokohama Bay at Minato Mirai Manyo Club, or an overnight stay in Hakone with a private outdoor bath at Hakone Ginyu (or many of Hakone’s other inns and hotels) will surely bring the heat, both literally and figuratively!
Indulge Inside Chocolate
One could hardly imagine anything better than a nice relaxing massage with an equally content partner by your side. Add some chocolate? And there you have your Valentine’s Day miracle. Holistic Sanctuary is offering a Cacao Scrub Warm Chocolate Body Wrap couples massage for “chocolate lovers.” It may sound strange, but chocolate is said to provide rich antioxidants that can help maintain firm skin, and acts as a moisturizing agent, thanks to the high amounts of natural oils in the cocoa butter. In addition to consuming chocolate on the most popular chocolate sales day of the year, why not also immerse your entire body in it?
For some other ideas, from the athletic (a Tokyo Tower climb) to the aquatic (a romantic visit to the Sunshine Aquarium), check out our listings for activities on the 14th. And stay posted for tomorrow’s Weekend(er), with a few more suggestions for painting the town red or just hitting the town.
Main Image: jaredkuper/Flickr