Sakuraco Logo
snack box
お菓子の箱について
subscription
pricing
about us
私たちについて
subscribe
購入する
account menu button
Sakuraco Logoaccount menu button
snack box
お菓子の箱について
subscription
pricing
about us
私たちについて
subscribe
購入する
Top StoriesNewsFood & Drink
Categories
Top Stories
News
Food & Drink
search

chocolate, spring, valentines

Winter Sweets, Valentine’s, and the Coming of Spring in Japan

Christian Closs

Christian Closs

Share:

With Japanese New Year’s celebrations a quiet time of reflection and family visits, public life visibly slows down. Time spent warming up inside is sweetened with seasonal food and treats until the first blossoms of the year mark a return to public celebrations and outings.

Not a whole lot happens in Japan in January. With the exception of Okinawa, no area is enjoying particularly warm weather and most people spend the days staying warm inside or in a Japanese hot spring. February is the month when the country jumps back into gear beginning with the Japanese festival of setsubun at the beginning of the month. Read on to see what else follows.

Winter Sweets

A hot cup of tea and a treat are perfect for a winter break anywhere. As usual in Japan, there is no shortage of seasonal specialties for this time of year. Auspicious symbols are everywhere around the New Year and the two main ingredients for traditional Japanese sweets for this period have lucky connotations themselves. Dessert soups, sake-infused buns and hot fermented drinks are just some unique examples of Japanese snacks in winter.

Find out more about Japanese winter treats in our article: Five Japanese Sweets to enjoy in Winter.

Gift Giving & Luxury Fruit

The end of the year has been a season of gift-giving in Japan for centuries. While this tradition is slowly fading, gifts are still an integral part of building relationships in Japan. Buying shareable snack souvenirs for family friends and colleagues when going on a trip is a must and in a similar fashion, certain events or achievements like weddings or graduations call for a higher class of gift. Food and drink are popular for this occasion and gave rise to a peculiar luxury industry of Japanese fruit.

Whether it’s late winter white strawberries or luxury melons you’re interested in, find out about them in our article: Japan’s Luxury Fruit: White Strawberries, Square Watermelons.

Sakuraco sends traditional Japanese sweets & snacks, including chocolate, from across Japan to your door.

sakuraco traditional japanese snack box

Setsubun

Setsubun translates to ‘seasonal division’ and marks the end of winter according to the Japanese lunar calendar. Starting off the season of Japanese festivals, or matsuri, it is celebrated in early February and mostly associated with driving away evil spirits from the past year, while inviting in all the positivity that spring brings with it. This is accomplished by a rather interesting ritual involving the throwing of soybeans at demons and consuming occasion-specific auspicious food and drink.

Learn the particulars of this unique celebration in our article: Setsubun Festival: Warding off demons to welcome Spring.

Chocolate

Despite Japanese chocolate now being world famous, it took a while for Japan to adapt to its taste. Japan had several early encounters with chocolate throughout its history, but it failed to make a lasting impression until the early 20th century. As Japan increasingly looked to the west for inspiration, a general change of lifestyle and a boost by a particular foreign holiday made chocolate the treat of choice in Japan. 

Find out more about chocolate’s history in Japan in our blog: Chocolate in Japan: From Obscure Luxury to Staple Sweet.

Valentine’s Day in Japan

With Christianity not a part of Japanese culture, the celebration found its way to the country on the back of a clever marketing campaign. Fitting in well with traditional Japanese gift-giving culture, Valentine’s Day was introduced by chocolate manufacturers and retailers as an occasion to gift chocolate to loved ones. As usual however, Japan does things just a little bit differently on Valentine’s Day: gender roles are reversed, chocolate is bigger than flowers and a second related holiday was introduced.

Read all about it in our blog: Valentines and White Day in Japan: Chocolate and Shrine Visits.

Ume: Japanese Plum

Sakura, the Japanese cherry blossom and the annual spring custom of viewing and celebrating beneath it called hanami, have become well known outside Japan. Less well known however is its predecessor, both in flowering time and as subject to be viewed: ume, the plum blossom. With its strong fragrance and sour fruit, its image is rather different from the subtle sakura, but no less indicative of the coming of spring.

Discover more in our blog: Ume: Japan’s Plum Blossoms Mark the Beginning of Hanami.

Enjoy new Japanese sweets, snacks & tea every month

Discover authentic flavors with Sakuraco

Enjoy new Japanese sweets, snacks & tea every month $32.50 USD

Get Sakuraco package

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Lake Tama during the day.

Tama Region: Five Interesting Places to Visit!

The Tama Region is a beautiful mixture of nature and history located within western Tokyo. Enjoy your stay in Tama!

May 22, 2024
A festival at Fuchu City, which is home to a racecourse ground.

Racecourse Ground and More: Five Amazing Places in Fuchu City!

If you’re a fan of horse racing, then you surely can’t miss the world-famous racecourse ground in Fuchu. Let’s explore five notable locations of this charming city!

May 21, 2024
Someone playing a koto, one of many traditional Japanese instruments.

Traditional Japanese Instruments: Best Five Ones!

Each traditional Japanese instrument has a rich history and cultural significance, embodying the craftsmanship and artistic expression defining Japan’s musical heritage.

May 21, 2024
Waterfalls in Tokyo.

Waterfalls in Tokyo: Five Enchanting Ones to See! 

If you love nature and want to stay in the city to appreciate it, please check out these five waterfalls in and around Tokyo.

May 20, 2024
Footer background patternFooter background pattern
Sakuraco
Subscription & gifts
PricingUpcoming Month’s BoxPast Month’s Box
Today's Offer
Personal GiftCorporate Gift
Support & Information
FAQContact UsCompare to Bokksu

Be the first to know!

Join our newsletter and receive tasty news and deals

AnIchigo Logobrand.
Copyright © 2024 Sakuraco™. All Rights Reserved.

Accepted Payments

Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available