Celebrating Christmas in Japan is an exuberant experience of the festive season. As the Christian population in Japan is just a handful, no religious significance correlating with the festival were brought from the Western part of the world and is not a national holiday. However, numerous things typically related to Christmas like Christmas markets, Christmas trees in the shopping malls, and beautiful LED lights come to sight, and also a few typical traditions that are entirely Japanese. Send Christmas gifts to loved ones to complete the rituals of festive season.
However, the way the holiday season is celebrated in western countries, Japan seems to revel in the exact opposite direction. In this country, Christmas is the time for couples and friends to make plans to meet up for dinner, have parties, and celebrate to the fullest. And New Year is the time when all the family members get together, visit temples, and in a grand way with food and drinks.
Let us now see how you can celebrate Christmas in Japan.
- Eating Strawberry Shortcake – This shortcake is spongy and light with whipped cream frosting and filling, which is less sweet compared to other cake toppers. Although it is highly popular for birthdays, this shortcake is sold as ‘Christmas Cake‘ in the country and is a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family.
- Visiting a Christmas Market – From Kyushu to Hokkaido, Japan offers European-style festive markets all through the Christmas season. You can spot everything from hot cider to delicate tree ornaments. Visit the Tokyo Christmas Market, which is sponsored by the German Embassy and the German Tourism Association, and offer absolute and genuine European flair. You should also visit the Hibiya Park during 16th-25th, December daily from 11 AM to 11 PM.
- Chicken Dinner – Kentucky Fried Chicken, also popularly known as KFC meals on Christmas has been a tradition in Japan from the 1970s, due to their marketing campaigns and catchy slogans. It is common to pre-order meals, weeks in advance, for the Christmas week, and is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for the company.
- Shopping – With the absence of a little holiday shopping Christmas would not be Christmas, and Japanese markets are not unfamiliar to Christmas gears. During the Christmas season, ornaments, Christmas trees, Christmas plum-cake, and other items for sales are targeted at holiday shoppers. They can be spotted at most department stores and major malls, especially in the cities.
- Christmas Gifts – It has now become prevalent for couples to exchange Xmas gifts on Christmas Eve. People usually buy Christmas gifts for boyfriend, girlfriend and better halves if married, and seldom for anyone else. As Christmas isn’t a Japanese festival, it is also not a custom to exchange gifts during the festival. This is perhaps because Japan already has its own December gift exchange, which is the country’s work-culture tradition known as Oseibo, where colleagues exchange gifts. Gifts are usually exchanged during the New Year, a more substantial occasion in Japan.
- Cherishing Christmas Illuminations – Illuminations are one of the most preferred ways of celebrating the winter season in Japan. Public parks, including Inokashira, leading malls like Tokyo Midtown, and famous landmarks like the Tokyo Station, etc. have their special winter illumination demonstration. During this time of year, outdoor excursions, which include strolling along the Roppongi Sakurazaka, are particularly trendy with couples.
- Disney Christmas parade – In December, Tokyo Disney organizes its annual Christmas parades. It is everything that is anticipated from a Christmas parade, from enjoyment, candy giveaways, festive costumes and music, and even the presence of Santa himself. Tokyo Disney is a great place not only for families but also for an attractive dating location for couples.
- Going on a Date – Christmas Eve in the country is like a couples’ holiday, similar to Valentine’s Day in the West parts of the world. Dinners are booked in advance by Japanese couples, especially young ones, at romantic restaurants, and it can be tough to find a seat later. Nevertheless, the choice of celebration is up to you, however, make sure to relish the day with your special one by your side, or family and close friends if you choose otherwise.
So, these were eight ways you can celebrate a unique and different Christmas in Japan.