Valentine’s Day and White Day are right around the corner! But, if you’re not feeling passionate towards these commercial declarations of love, have you considered celebrating Galentine’s Day in Japan? Here are 14 gifts that your girlfriends (and you) are sure to love, ranging from traditional holiday staples like chocolates and jewelry to cosmetics and self-care goods!
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Why Galentine’s Day?
When it comes to Valentine’s Day in Japan, it’s customary for women to give the men in their life chocolates and sweets. Generally speaking, the closer the relationship, the more time/yen spent on his gift.
One month later, on March 14, White Day, the recipients of those Valentine’s Day gifts return the favor. Pretty easy, right? But, if “Japanese” Valentine’s Day stresses you out over possible cultural faux pas, how about switching things up and celebrating Galentine’s Day in Japan this year? Galentine’s Day can be a wonderful way to shower the dearest women in your life with affection and appreciation.
Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas: Sweets
Several years ago I had the opportunity to collaborate with Kyoto’s premier tea house, Itoh Kyuemon. It was for a summer ochugen gift campaign featuring their traditional Japanese sweets made with premium Uji matcha. I’d already been a fan of their Uji matcha & chocolate-covered strawberries, but these Uji Matcha and chocolate ice cream bars are another decadent treat that are almost too pretty to eat!
Gateau Festa Harada rusks are from Gunma, where my sister-in-law and her family live. We get these all the time. Therefore, I can confidently say that I have tried pretty much every flavor of Harada Rusk available over the past 7-8 years — even the limited edition ones! The plain variety is great as an everyday 10 AM snack, but it’s the fancy chocolate-coated ones that deserve your attention. This limited edition Valentine’s Day set comes with 5 milk chocolate-coated rusks accented with dried raspberries.
At first glance, you’d almost think this elegant bottle of honey wine was a perfume! Meadol is a brand of premium honey wine, or hachimitsushu, brewed in Tokyo’s Kita Ward. Japan. Its formula is based on mead, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey water that’s been brewed since antiquity. Meadol has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 8%, which is half of sake’s content. The motto of Meadol’s parent company is “creating a link of happiness,” so why not share it with a friend?
For a sweeter spin on Valentine’s Day and White Day chocolates, try these Belgian chocolate ganache bites covered in crunchy cocoa crisps from Shiseido Parlour. Shiseido, you ask? Yes, that Shiseido, the world’s oldest cosmetics company, also runs a very popular restaurant and cafe in Ginza, Tokyo! Shiseido Parlour is nearly 100 years old and serves Western style cuisines (a novelty in early 20th century Japan). La Ganache remains one of its most popular gift boxes, and you just might want to pick up a box for yourself, too!
Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas: Cosmetics
Know a gal who’s into all things skincare, but you just don’t know what to give her? Try this 4 piece starter kit from J-beauty brand, Comeitto. Rice (“kome”) is a classic Japanese skincare ingredient, and all of Comeitto’s products infuse organic rice bran water with natural ingredients. This trial kit contains 5 powder wash sachets, rice toner, rice emulsion, and rice gel cream.
Sheet mask brand Lululun is practically synonymous with Japanese skincare, and it’s incredible that a brand that’s only 10 years old has made such a global impact! Lululun Pure is the brand’s 10th anniversary “thank you” edition. Lululun Pure Innocent Bouquet Sheet Masks come in a fun and colorful gift box that contains 3 packages of 10 sheet masks for a total of 30. The outer packaging is perfectly spring while the delicate floral scent is wonderfully relaxing.
How sweet is this Maquillage Dramatic Styling Eyes Eyeshadow Pallette Quad? Available in 12 different shades, each color combination features transitional day-to-night shades that are effortlessly buildable and blendable. These flirty shades are perfect for creating subtle spring looks for romantic outings and casual adventures with friends and family.
Shiseido VisionAry Gel Lipstick is a full-coverage lipstick that packs intense color into a lightweight formula that lasts for up to 6 hours, thanks to “Triple Gel Technology.” The edgy black packaging is ultra-modern and perfectly accents the warm sultry tones of Ginza Red, named after the location of Shiseido’s global flagship store.
Shiro is a niche perfume brand from Japan that specializes in tastefully simple fragrances. This Shiro Fragrance Eau De Parfum Set features three roll-on versions of the brand’s most popular scents: savon, white lily, and white tea. Savon, despite its naming, has an almost fruity aroma, and its Shiro’s signature scent. White lily, as the name suggests, is a delicate floral scent suitable for everyday wear. White Tea is a crisp scent that blends sweet citrus notes and fresh, lively green notes.
Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas: Jewelry
I couldn’t think of a kawaii kitty pun, so let’s just get straight to it: isn’t this twinkle cate pendant the cutest thing ever? And get this – it’s from a brand called Mirai Tenshi (“future angel”). Mirai Tenshi has made its mark in various Japanese fashion magazines thanks to its “dancing” birthstone twinkle cat pendants. A sakura pink heart-cut cubic zirconia stone is suspended above a cat perched on a heart pendant. The stone at the cat’s tail can be customized with any birthstone, making this a wonderful personalized gift for any cat lover (or someone who grew up watching Sailor Moon)!
Mizukihi is a Japanese craft that uses colorful rice paper cords to decorate gifts and envelopes. These kokoro musubu (intertwined hearts”) earrings symbolize overlapping thoughts and hearts bound to one another. They are available in 8 different designs, based on classical Japanese colors used to describe textiles such as “bara iro” (rose) and “ruri iro” (navy blue).
Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas: Self-Care
Coloring is a fun, soothing activity where you can express and explore your creativity. The Otona no Nuri E series of coloring books is produced by Osaka-based Japanese art supplier Sakura, inventor of Cray-pas (oil pastels). Their coloring books feature complex illustrations created specifically for adults. This set comes with a 30 Sakura Coupy Pencils, which are a curious crayon/color pencil hybrid that are perfect for blending and drawing.
What’s a good self-care routine without flowers and candles? Why not have both with this Kameyama Candle House Floating Flower Candle Set! Kameyama Candle House is based in Aoyama, Tokyo, and specializes in all things candles, ranging from items made in Japan to imported labels like Yankee Candle. This gift box comes with a flower shaped candle holder and 12 floating candles. Each candle represents a month and is shaped (and scented!) like the Japanese flower associated with it.
Kintsugi is the Japanese technique of repairing broken ceramics with lacquer and gold. However, this Tsugukit kintsugi repair kit is more than a way to extend the life of old dishes. Kintsugi is an insightful and introspective healing practice that aids in spiritual and physical recovery. This kit is suitable for beginners and contains all you need to get started, including a full-color guide in English and Japanese and accompanying YouTube tutorials.
Celebrating Galentine’s Day in Japan