A Single’s Guide To Navigating Valentine’s Day in Tokyo

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With Christmas in Japan feeling like a Valentine’s Day dry run, it’s no surprise that the real month of love can seem like a pretty big deal. On the surface, Valentine’s Day in Japan is pretty much the same as it is in the West – it’s a holiday of sharing chocolate with friends and loved ones. However, for those flying alone this Valentine’s Day fear not, as here are some ways to make this weekend in Tokyo one to remember.

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Show Some Love With Japanese Tomo-Choco

When Valentine’s Day was first brought over to Japan in the ’50s, by accident or deliberate, it was advertised as a holiday where women give chocolate to their male counterparts. Although this culture still exists today, it has evolved into one where women and men also share chocolate with their friends in the form of tomo-choco or friend’s chocolate. Valentine’s Day is a couples holiday, but there’s clearly nothing wrong with using the occasion to show some love to your friends, in the form of homemade chocolates. For those who aren’t as kitchen savvy, Tokyo has tons of great patisseries, and there’s always inviting the friends over for a Netflix binge. There’s nothing better than showing your friends a little love this Valentine’s Day.

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Try A Traditional Japanese Matchmaking Party

If you’re feeling in the mood to mix it up this Valentine’s Day and meet some new people perhaps try a traditional Japanese meeting party – gokon (also known as a matchmaking party). Gokon is relatively easy to set up and simply needs an equal number of men and women, usually three women and three men. After the group members have been chosen and a location set it’s a simple case of meeting up and seeing if sparks fly.

The weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day have a plethora of events to choose from but if meeting a bunch of strangers is a little too intimidating these parties can also be arranged inhouse, just get in contact with your in-the-know friend and have them arrange a pre-Valentine’s Day event with their most eligible friends. For those wanting a more lively night, there are tons of interesting bars, clubs and restaurants just waiting to be discovered around Tokyo. International parties and local community events are also a pretty good way to meet people from the local community and perhaps maybe even something more.

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Melt Away In A Japanese Onsen

What if, like me, the joy of others on this day of love is a little too much and quite frankly you’d rather avoid the holiday altogether? Simple – spa day. Japan has a plethora of amazing beauty products and salons for both men and women such as these great barbers in Tokyo and some humorous face masks. An obvious place to get some much needed TLC would be at your local onsen or sento, a Japanese bathhouse, there is no greater feeling than having all your problems washed away in the cleansing onsen waters of a local bathhouse. Why spend all your time thinking about how to catch the attention of another when you can spend this Valentine’s Day showing yourself a little love?

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Karaoke Into The Night

A national pastime, Japan has a great karaoke culture, and with hundreds of karaoke booths all over Tokyo, it’s hard to not be tempted by its dazzling rooms and all you can drink services.  One of the lesser-known aspects of karaoke culture in Japan is solo-karaoke. Just as the name suggests this is when people go to karaoke alone and sing their hearts out without the fear of embarrassment. For the shy singer, a solo-karaoke booth is only second to a shower when deciding on their next performance stage, what better way to sing away the last of the winter blues and start the weekend off with a bang than with a little solo-karaoke, sing your heart out on your own private stage. 

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