‘Tis the season of love… and although Japanese Valentine’s Day traditions are slightly different than in other parts of the world, you can still make it a day to remember with your special someone.
Here are 8 romantic and fun date ideas to plan in (and around) Tokyo.
#1 – Toutouan Kaiseki Restaurant
To-To-An is a restaurant that specializes in kaiseki course meals skillfully prepared by Japanese chefs and featuring the freshest seasonal ingredients available.
My husband and I had a meal here for Christmas—treated by a generous friend—and it was not only beautiful, but absolutely delicious.
The restaurant itself is a refurbished granary, decorated with rustic Japanese art, and surrounded by a large, secluded garden—perfect for a romantic evening. Dinner menus start at 11,000 yen per person.
#2 – Kichijoji
Tokyo locals know that Kichijoji is code for of-the-moment trendy shops, cozy cafés, and an Instagram-worthy aesthetic.
Here you can find big flagship stores of popular brands alongside smaller, curated boutiques, scores of top-rated restaurants, and tucked-away cafés that would impress even the most discerning coffee lovers.
On top of that, the shopping streets are bordered by the sprawling, nature-filled Inokashira Park, where you can stroll around for hours, visit a gorgeous temple, ride paddle boats on the pond, and discover even more restaurants and cafés among the trees.
#3 – Necoma Cat Cafe
Necoma is an ethical cat cafe that cares for rescued cats in a safe environment. Its well-designed, minimalist interior makes it look like any trendy café, but its high standards for cat care set it apart.
Cat-loving couples can spend a fun afternoon here, and consider taking one of the cats home (all are up for adoption). You can see some of their already-adopted cats on their official Instagram accounts.
Each 30 minutes with the cats cost 660 yen per person.
#4 – Showa Memorial Park
It’s hard to describe just how big this park is unless you’ve been there yourself. It’s about half the size of New York’s Central Park, which is gigantic considering how many buildings Tokyo developers like to squish into every square kilometer of the city.
The looping paths of the park take you through flower gardens, playgrounds, art installations, cafés, wide open fields for playing sports, a lake, and more. It’s perfect for long walks, biking through the trails, or taking the park trolley around the whole thing.
If you and your partner love nature, photography, picnics, biking, or being active in general, you’ve got to add this one to your list.
#5 – Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park
Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture
Okay, this one isn’t technically in Tokyo, but it’s just a couple of hours away by train or car, and it’s well worth the trip—if you like rollercoasters.
Fuji-Q Highland is a favorite among thrill-seekers in Tokyo, and its collection of rides—including Takabisha, the world’s steepest roller coaster, and the so-called “King of Coasters” Fujiyama—puts the cute little Disney rides to shame.
When you get hungry, you’ll find tons of food options, from things like Starbucks, pizza, and Korean fried chicken to local favorites from Hokkaido, Yamanashi, and other regions of Japan. It’s the perfect day trip for couples who like to live on the edge. Fuji-Q is free to enter, but you’ll pay for each ride.
#6 – Hamarikyu Gardens
If a relaxing date is what you’re looking for, the Hamarikyu Gardens provide a lush oasis from the bustling Tokyo city. Though surrounded by soaring skyscrapers on every side, you’ll almost feel the city melt away as you walk through the spacious green gardens and step into the teahouse, overlooking a tranquil pond, for a traditional sweet and cup of tea. Entrance to the park costs 300 yen per person.
#7 – Symphony Cruise
What’s more romantic than dinner on the open water? The Symphony cruising restaurant in Tokyo Bay is clearly designed for lovers—the boat makes a heart pattern on each route. Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner as the sparkling lights of the Tokyo nightscape drift by. You can even add flowers or a special cake to your meal to make it extra special. Dinner prices start at 8,800 yen.
#8 – Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
A trip to this outdoor museum and park is like opening a portal to another time. Each building on the grounds is carefully preserved and relocated from different parts of Japan to recreate what life in Edo-area Tokyo was like. It’s great for learning about Japanese history, experiencing life in another time, and taking fun pictures together. Bonus points if you dress up in period garb for the trip. Adults pay 400 yen to enter the park.
Choose Your Adventure
This short list doesn’t even begin to cover all of the amazing restaurants, nature spots, and attractions found in Tokyo, but it can give you a starting point to think of some fun ideas for your next date.
Which one sounds like fun to you? And what other ideas would you add to the list?
Author: Amanda Horiuchi