Celebrate Japan’s White Day with chocolate, marshmallows and chocolate ramen

Celebrate Japan’s White Day with chocolate, marshmallows and chocolate ramen

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Valentine’s Day in the States is a special day where chocolate, flowers and cards are gifted to our significant others. In Japan, Valentine’s Day falls on the same day but is a little bit different.

Valentine’s Day is the lady’s day to confess her love. On this day, women give chocolates (often homemade ones) to men to express their love and admiration. Women also give “giri-choko” or “obligation chocolate” as a courtesy to male friends, supervisors and co-workers on Valentine’s Day. So, try to avoid thinking every woman who gives you chocolate loves you.

One month later, White Day on March 14 is when women’s Valentine’s Day gifts are reciprocated. You’ll notice many department stores stock up on chocolates, teddy bears and flowers for White Day.

These days it’s not just stores capitalizing on the White Day. Restaurants like Kourakuen, a ramen chain you’ll find all around Japan, is also celebrating the day with special chocolate ramen.

Yep, you read that right— chocolate ramen! Kourakuen is serving up (black) Chocolate Ramen with a dark brown soy sauce-based broth topped with a chocolate bar and White Chocolate Ramen, a salt-based broth topped with— you guessed it— a white chocolate bar.

While chocolate ramen might not be on the list for men getting their girlfriends White Day gifts, it is a pretty unique option to match a unique holiday.

The custom of reciprocating Valentine’s Day gifts started back in the 1970s when men began gifting women white marshmallows and candy. In 1980, the Japan Candy Industry’s Cooperative coined the name “White Day” and chose March 14 for this unofficial holiday. “White Day” was chosen because the color white symbolizes purity and delightful love of young people, according to the cooperative’s website. 

Whether you choose to go traditional with a box of white chocolates or try something new like a steaming hot bowl of White Day noodles, this is just another opportunity to show your significant other you care. Happy White Day!

Chocolate Ramen & White Chocolate Ramen
Price: 640 yen
Sales period: Feb. 10 - Mar. 16
* Available at most of the Kourakuen restaurants in Japan (434 shops)
See the website and find the nearest shop

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