Just like other countries in the world, Japan celebrates Christmas in a fun and festive way. Though the holiday is quite new, not traditionally Japanese, and it is not based on any religious reasons, it is still celebrated with a lot of excitement. Everyone being in a festive mood, and a lot of businesses catering to the holiday, Christmas is one of the best times to have fun in the country. However, it is celebrated slightly differently, so here is what Japanese people do for Christmas.
Japan loves celebrating, so adopting Christmas means they also adopted a lot of Christmas customs like the authentic Christmas markets which includes German and other European products. In Tokyo, you can check out Roppongi Hills, Hibiya Park and Yebisu Garden Place, as one of the most popular ones. Roppongi Hills Christmas Market recreates a German marketplace which sells German Christmas food, beverages and other interesting Christmas crafts. Hibiya Park holds an outdoor European-style Christmas market. They also sells traditional Christmas food, decorations and drinks. Yebisu Garden Place is a popular winter illumination spot. During Christmas season, you can find variety of snacks and drinks being sold in the area.
Japanese people love amusement parks, often calling them “world of dreams”. These amusement parks often embrace different holidays and seasons, having a different look and limited edition goods for Halloween, Valentines, and Christmas – to name a few.
Some of the most popular ones are: Disneyland and Disneysea, Sanryo Puroland (Hello Kitty World), Universal Studios in Osaka etc.
Culturally, although Christmas in the west is a family holiday, in Japan it became more of a romantic date holiday. So, why not experience the romantic side of Japanese Christmas? There are many fancy hotels and restaurants offering luxury service around the Christmas season. But beware that everything gets reserved quickly, so better plan in advance or move your date for a day or two before or after Christmas Eve.
There are so many choices for shopping in Tokyo! Everything is decorated, Christmas music blasting from every corner, and everyone is excited for Christmas. Ginza and Shibuya are very popular shopping locations, filled with Christmas atmosphere and are famous for holding year-end sales. Ginza has several department stores and boutiques where you can do your holiday shopping. It’s also great for people who’d just love to stroll. Shibuya provides a more youthful experience for shoppers. However, this place is more crowded but it helps you experience Tokyo in its modern side.
Not to be missed are Tokyo’s wonderful department stores. Mitsukoshi in Mitsukoshimae is a great option for those who want to experience Christmas shopping at Japan’s oldest department store. Takashimaya in nearby Nihombashi offers great architecture and an lovely atmosphere. Seibu in Ikebukuro, and the Odakyu and Keio deparmtnet stores in Shinjuku are a great option for those who would like to do their Christmas shopping without actually leaving the station. And then there’s the queen of Tokyo’s department stores, Isetan in Shinjuku, whose basement floor full of wonderful food and desserts knows no rival.
However, literally every major station and every shopping center will be full of fun options.
In Japan, Chrismas is associated with KFC, and we mean it . So the most natural thing to do in Japan to truly immerse yourself in the Japanese Christmas spirit is to go to the nearest KFC and order a huge bucket of greasy fried chicken so you can eat it wiht your loved ones, friends, or by yourself (that’s fine, it’s not sad). Now THAT’S the spirit of Chirstmas!
Most people love celebrating Christmas, even in Japan. If you’re currently living in Japan or planning to visit the country sometime this Christmas season, don’t forget to check out the activities mentioned. Whether you’ve chosen to spend Christmas with Hello Kitty, purchase authentic European Christmas merchandise, have a romantic couple night or splurge on Christmas goods for you and your loved ones, you’d surely have a fantastic time in Tokyo.