12 Japanese Chocolates to Buy On Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is the time of the year when everyone's scrambling to organize something special for their loved ones. The most common gift to give is chocolate, and if you just so happen to be in Japan during this frenzied occasion, why not purchase some Japanese chocolates? We've got a couple of options for you, from the super cheap yet delicious stuff to incredibly unique ones that would make great souvenirs!
Feb 14 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
Chocolates That Are Cheap Yet Delicious
Not only are Meltykiss chocolates cheap, but you can find them anywhere, including convenience stores, supermarkets, and yes... even overseas!
They come in nine different flavors, with the most popular ones being strawberry and matcha (green tea). On Valentine's Day, most Japanese people like to gift the strawberry-flavored Meltykiss chocolates.
Meltykiss is popular enough that you can even find it in supermarkets overseas. You can also purchase it online from places like Rakuten and Dokodemo. Even if you're not in Japan, you can treat yourself to some delicious and cheap Japanese chocolates!
Who doesn't know about this chocolate brand? You can find it in almost any country out there. That's how popular it is!Jordi Sanchez/Flickr
If you're looking for Japanese chocolates that are cheap, yummy, and sure to be a hit, KitKats are the way to go. You can gift regular flavors, or step it up a notch by giving away flavors that can only be bought within Japan.
KitKat regularly releases new flavors every year, most of which you can only find in Japan, so if you happen to be visiting Japan somewhere in February and you're looking to buy chocolates for (a possibly belated) Valentine's Day, keep an eye out for those new flavors!
Muji is another international brand that started off in Japan. It became well known for its high-quality yet reasonably-priced stationery and interior goods, but did you know that it also sells snacks... like chocolates?
One of Muji's most popular sweets is the Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate (290 yen), pictured above, which is available in the following flavors: white, milk, strawberry, and matcha. People can't get enough of how juicy they are and how fresh the strawberries taste!
For Valentine's Day, Muji is actually offering a gift wrapping service for some of the chocolates that it sells. As far as we know, this is only being done in Japan, so if you're in Japan and you're looking to gift some chocolates, hit Muji up!
Have you heard of this chocolate brand before? Japanese people are so familiar with this tiny chocolate that McDonald's Japan actually sold a Black Thunder McFlurry earlier this year!
It is often gifted as "giri choco", which are chocolates given out of obligation to coworkers, family members, friends, teachers, and so on. It is so commonly gifted for that purpose that every Valentine's Day, the company sets up pop-up stalls just to sell gigantic packages of Black Thunder as giri choco!
If you're just interested in trying this Japanese chocolate out for yourself, check out your nearest Japanese convenience store or supermarket. Alternatively, look online, but expected to buy it in boxes.
Chocolates That Make Perfect Japanese Souvenirs
TEA CHOCOLATE MATCHA 7
Looking for chocolates that scream "Japan"? TEA CHOCOLATE MATCHA 7 is one option. It's a package of chocolates with varying concentrations of matcha, from a weak 1.2% to a ridiculously bitter 29.1%. Perfect for matcha fans or challengers!
It is sold by Nanaya, a store that specializes in matcha and hojicha (roasted green tea), as well as sweets with varying concentrations of these two teas, so you know you're going to get your money's worth.
Apart from chocolates, Nanaya also sells matcha and hojicha gelato. Just like the chocolates, you can select the concentration of tea that you want in your gelato. If that sounds interesting to you, drop by one of their stores the next time you're in Japan! Their main branch is in Shizuoka Prefecture, but they also have a branch in Shibuya, Tokyo.
Assorted Chocolate Bon Bon
Fans of sake, you need to check these chocolates out! These bon bons are interesting because they're shaped to look like sake (Japanese rice wine) bottles and the wrappers have sake bottle designs.
Just because they're chocolates, don't underestimate the alcohol content. Each one contains a stunning alcoholic content of 3%, and when you bite into them, a gush of alcohol will spill out.
These chocolates are a great choice for those who want to sample different Japanese alcohol, as flavors vary from umeshu (plum wine) to kokushimuso (a kind of premium sake). Give them a try, but be careful not to eat too many!
Shogi de Chocolat
Here's a treat for fans of Japanese culture: chocolates shaped like shogi pieces! Just in case you didn't know: shogi is the Japanese version of chess.
A pack of 8 shogi piece-shaped chocolates cost 1,400 yen. They're all made from Ghana cocoa beans, but each piece has a slightly different texture and aroma for you to enjoy. They're perfect for fans of shogi or Japanese culture in general.
For a limited time, you can actually purchase a 40-piece set (10,000 yen) with all the shogi pieces you'll need to play real shogi, so one interesting idea is buying that set and serving everything on an actual shogi board! Just make sure you thoroughly freeze the chocolates before playing with them...
Chocolates That Considered Classic in Japan
Godiva is actually a Belgian brand, but it's incredibly famous in Japan. They are a favorite during Valentine's Day because of their pretty packaging, which changes every year.
This year, Godiva is stepping up their game by selling chocolates shaped like cupcakes! Each one has a different flavor, but what doesn't change is their high quality and incredible deliciousness.
Godiva stores can be found all over Japan, and especially in Japanese department stores. If you happen to be in Japan during the month of February, keep an eye out on the special Valentine's Day packages!
Mary Chocolate Co.
This chocolate shop actually started off in Tokyo in 1950, and is now known all over Japan for its top-quality chocolates and adorable packaging.
Over the years, this chocolate brand has collaborated with many nationally-famous characters like Moomin to produce stunning chocolate sets that draw crowds in. How adorable is that Moomin set in the image above?!
Our recommendation for this Valentine's Day (or for the month of February, really) is the chocolates in the cat tins shown above. They're so popular that they tend to sell out by the end of February, so do keep an eye out for them! Similar to Godiva, you can find this brand in department stores all over Japan.
Lindt is a Swiss chocolatier that has made it big worldwide. Just like Godiva, it releases beautifully packaged chocolates every year for Valentine's Day that always draw in crowds of people.
Lindt is most famous for their chocolate balls, and no where does this become more apparent than on Valentine's Day. They're relatively cheap at 1,500 yen for 12 balls, so people like to buy giant packages to give away to all their friends and family.
If you happen to know a Japanese person and you're looking for a gift that they'll surely enjoy, Lindt is a safe option. Since it is an international brand, you can find it in almost every major city in the world, making it easy to purchase. Do consider it if you happen to be in this situation!
Other Unique Options
This confectionery started off in Kobe in 1931 and eventually became known all across Japan. Though it is most known for its cookies, it is also equally known for the high quality and taste of its chocolates.
If you're into packaging, you need to keep an eye out for Morozoff's chocolates. Just look at how beautiful the chocolates in the picture above look! Though they are a slightly more pricy brand, you can actually purchase their cheaper product lines in Japanese convenience stores, too!
Herman Van Dender
This is another store from Belgium, a place known for its top-tier chocolates. While their main store is located in Brussels, they do pop-up stalls in Japan a couple of times every year, and when they do, they sell chocolates specially made for the Japanese market. The chocolates shown below are one of those Japan-only products.
Named Praline Bosch Chocolat, these chocolates have a cute cocoa bean shape and come in a variety of extremely vivid colors and yummy flavors. They're so beautiful that they almost feel like a waste to eat, but trust us, they're too delicious not to take a bite out of!
Since these are limited-time and limited-edition items, we highly recommend getting them if you're looking to gift your significant other (or even yourself!) with something truly special. You can find them in luxury department stores like Seibu in Shibuya.
Truthfully, this is only a small selection of chocolate shops and products in Japan. However, it should still give you a pretty good idea of what kinds of chocolates are out there. Use this article as a guide for the next time you're looking for an edible souvenir... or a special gift for your significant other!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.