Limited-edition chocolate products crowd the shelves and appear on seasonal menus in hotels and restaurants as soon as the Setsubun festivities wrap up. There are all the red hearts one would expect and heaps of chocolate. There are then some Valentine’s Day specials that no one expects. We’re talking chocolate ramen, gift-delivering robots and backlash events for the uncoupled out there. Here are some of the most unusual offerings prior to and on Valentine’s Day in Japan.
Chocolate ramen is one of the pre-Valentine oddities that has been getting attention in recent years. The Menya Musashi Ramen shop is one of the veterans of chocolate noodles as this is the 15th year since it started serving chocolate ramen. This year, the ramen shop is collaborating with Ghana chocolate for a sumptuous miso ramen mixed with chocolate. The smoked bacon topping is coated in chocolate too, while the special meatballs contain chocolate ganache inside. The dish named Miso Ghana 2023 is available until February 14 in the Menya Musashi stores in Akihabara and Shinjuku.
Another creative take on noodles comes from Menya Shono Ramen, renowned for dishes that manage to be both experimental and supremely tasty. For Valentine’s Day 2023, Menya Shono offers a limited-time chocolate tsukemen dish. The noodles are chocolate-flavored, served with an orange slice for a zesty note. You dip them in a very rich but not too sweet broth made of miso and mole sauce. Ramen fans who’ve visited are already singing the dish’s praises. It will be on the menu until February 14. Make sure to either reserve in advance or go early in the day, as they often run out fast.
Chocolate Fried Chicken
The Chicken Street Shibuya store specializes in authentic Korean fried chicken, importing spicy gochujang from South Korea. Whether topped with cheese, honey or chocolate, patrons love the different takes on chicken to celebrate Valentine season in Japan. The company stands behind the flavor combination of sweet and salty. Sweetness worked with chicken when paired with classic sauces such as honey mustard and sweet barbecue sauce, so expectations are high of the chocolate chicken. Only available until February 14.
A Doctor-certified Testosterone-improving Menu
Hibiya International Clinic and Pullman Tokyo Tamachi have jointly developed a special menu for Valentine’s Day aimed at improving men’s work performance and anti-aging. In particular, the menu aims to increase testosterone levels in men. The hormone is known as a sex hormone, but it also plays an important role in overall health. At the Kasa in Pullman Tokyo Tamachi, you can order two testosterone-improving products: the bonbon chocolate assortment box or the cacao matcha truffle plate.
According to the joint press release of these two institutions, cacao and matcha help the secretion of dopamine. And when dopamine rises, so do testosterone levels. It is also said that the scent of truffles has aphrodisiac powers.
Both chocolate items are available until February 14 and are offered as eat-in only. Reservations are recommended.
Romantic Robot Delivery
Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu has a “Flower Valentine 2023” campaign centered around beautiful flowers in hotel rooms. That is pretty standard as Valentine’s Day goes, but there’s one element that will delight tech lovers. The delivery service robot Relay delivers a special bouquet of roses to your room. This is part of the special Valentine’s Day stay plan, available until February 14. When you reserve a room there, you can also choose a desired time slot for robot delivery.
National Chocolate Stacking Championship
More about chocolate than love, the National Tirol Chocolate Stacking Championship throws a competitive twist on Valentine’s in Japan. After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, it’s back for its ninth contest. You can compete to see how many little square Tirol chocolates you can stack within the time limit.
The event is held at the Taiyo no Hiroba special booth in Yomiuri Land on February 11 (Saturday) and 12 (Sunday). It consists of a qualifying round from 10am to 2:30pm each day and the finals from 3:30pm each day. Participants have to pay ¥100 to participate and then get 30 seconds to stack chocolates. The top ten people move on to the finals for another 30-second adrenaline-filled stacking competition.
The winner of each day will receive 1,000 Tirol chocolates, but runners-up won’t leave empty-handed. Second place wins 300 chocolates, third place gets 100, and everyone else in the top 10 gets 50 chocolates each.
If Your Mom Is Your Only Valentine, This Place Is for You
The Oriental Lounge is a nightclub (with host club undertones) that seems to be in the business of making visitors feel welcome. This is particularly true on Valentine’s Day, as employees there put in extra effort to console people who did not get Valentine’s chocolate from anyone (except maybe from their mother). In Japan, chocolate is often gifted on Valentine’s Day to several people in your life: friends, coworkers and family members. So, to receive none is considered quite a snub. To correct that, if customers come and say they didn’t receive any chocolate, they will get some from the staff. Valentine’s Day saved.