Whereas Christmas in Japan is not a national holiday, it is celebrated throughout the country.
Because less than one percent of Japan’s population is Christian, the religious connotations usually linked with Christmas are present here.
Nevertheless, other activities traditionally connected to Christmas such as Christmas markets, festive trees in shopping malls and LED lights are widely popular.
Additionally, a few unique Japanese traditions are incorporated into this festivity and need to be appreciated.
Here are some of the most popular activities you can engage in while enjoying your Christmas in Japan.
Visit a Christmas Market
Throughout the winter season, there are numerous European-style Christmas markets throughput Japan, from Kyushu to Hokkaido.
At the markets, you can find everything from hot cider to delicate tree ornaments.
You should visit the Tokyo Christmas market, which the German Embassy together with the German Tourism Association sponsors.
At this market, you get to enjoy the authentic European flair, and this goes on starting from December 16th to 25th, 11 AM to 11 PM every day.
We also suggest you visit the Christmas market situated in Sapporo.
Christmas is not complete if you have not gone for a little holiday shopping. Fortunately, malls in Japan come well equipped with appropriate Christmas décor to light up the experience.
Furthermore, to bring out the Christmas mood, Japanese malls, especially those located in big cities, have goods for sale, ornaments, and traditional trees.
Therefore, you never have to miss out on the shopping experience which is fun-filled over the while you enjoy your Christmas in Japan.
Enjoy Christmas Illuminations
The use of illuminations is among the favorite ways of celebrating Christmas in Japan to express the festive joy.
You can see these winter illuminations displays at famous landmarks such as Tokyo Station, major malls like Tokyo Midtown, as well as public parks like Inokashira.
Furthermore, outdoor strolls among couples are popular along with areas like the Roppongi Sakurazaka.
Eat Strawberry Shortcake
While enjoying Christmas in Japan, you need to enjoy the Japanese strawberry shortcake.
This is a spongy and light with frosting and whipped cream filling that is less sweet compared to other cake toppers.
This treat in Japan is often sold as ‘Christmas Cake’ but is also used for birthdays.
There is no better way to enjoy yourself with your family and friends while enjoying your Christmas in Japan than enjoying a tasty treat of strawberry shortcake.
In Japan, Christmas eve is associated with the exchange of gifts between couples, and anyone else barely does this.
It is because Christmas in Japan is not a tradition thus is the exchange of gifts during this occasion.
However, the reason for this might also be that Japan already has a gift exchange day in December, oseibo which is a work-culture tradition that entails the exchange of gifts among coworkers.
The exchange of gifts is more common and a much bigger deal on New Year in Japan.
The Disney Christmas Spectacle
At the Tokyo Disneyland, you get to enjoy a special ‘Christmas Fantasy’ event that is usually themed too with storybooks as well as Disney friends for a fun Christmas.
At the event, you get to witness the fabulous Disney-style Christmas including exclusive merchandise, fireworks, delicious and special Christmas menu as well as candy giveaways.
Therefore, if you are enjoying your Christmas in Japan and have children, there is no better place to visit.
Dine of Chicken
Ever since the 1970s, enjoying a meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken has become a Japanese tradition. This became attainable after intensive marketing campaigns as well as the use of a catchy slogan.
For this fast-food giant, Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year. Thus, it is not surprising that you will be required to place a preorder for the meals at least a week in advance.
In Japanese Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Meri Kurisumasu’. And it’s written in the two Japanese scripts like this; Hiragana: めりーくりすます; Katakana: メリークリスマス. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.
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Main Points About Christmas in Japan
- For the Japanese, Christmas is a time of illumination, decorations, to spread love and happiness rather than a religious celebration.
- Christmas eve is the most romantic time in Japan. Many young couples book romantic dinners in restaurants.
- Christmas time is not complete in Japan without the ‘Kurisumasu keki’. It is light and spongy cake whipped with frosting and cream filling, topped with strawberries.
- The biggest Japanese Christmas meal is from KFC. Families and loved ones order meals or visit a KFC outlet for their Christmas meal.
- During the festive season, Japan goes up lights. From the middle of November up until Valentine’s day, the country is lit up with beautiful light decorations.
This is the Japanese own version of Valentine’s Day! Just like in Scandinavia, Christmas Eve is celebrated more than Christmas Day.It’s also more about spreading happiness than about religion.
Couples give each other presents and it’s common to have fried chicken for dinner or a romantic dinner at a restaurant.
The Japanese Christmas cake, ”kursumasu keki” with whipped cream and strawberries, is sold pretty much everywhere during Christmas time.
If you have been to Japan on Christmas or stay in Japan then do share your first-hand experience in the comments below.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Japan
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Japan. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.