Christmas Day in Japan is a fun, festive time of year. Since there are few Christians in the country, none of the religious connotations associated with Christmas were brought over from the West, and it isn’t a national holiday. However, many of the things traditionally associated with Christmas festive trees in the shopping malls, Christmas markets, and LED lights-make an appearance, as well as a few unique traditions that are purely Japanese. Christmas in known as more of a time to spread happiness rather than a religious celebration. Christmas Eve is often celebrated more than Christmas Day.
Not National Holiday
Christmas Eve is thought of as a romantic day, in which couples spend together and exchange presents. In many ways it resembles Valentine’s Day celebrations in the UK and the USA. Young couples like to go for walks to look at the Christmas lights and have a romantic meal in a restaurant booking a table on Christmas Eve can be very difficult as it’s so popular Fried chicken is often eaten on Christmas day. It is the busiest time of year for restaurants such as KFC and people can place orders at their local fast food restaurant in advance! There was an advertising campaign by KFC in the 1974 called ‘Kentucky for Christmas!’ (Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!) which was very successful and made KFC popular for Christmas.
Christmas in Japan is cake, for lots of people the only way they will celebrate is by eating cake, from September onwards the convenience stores all have their Christmas catalogues of cake and chicken so you reserve yours to be ready on the day. Japanese strawberry shortcake is light and spongy with whipped cream filling and frosting, which is much less sweet than other cake toppers. This treat is sold as ‘Christmas Cake’ in Japan (although it’s also very popular for birthdays) and is a great way to celebrate the season with family and friends. The Japanese Christmas cake or “kurisumasu keki” is sold on practically every street corner from Hokkaido to Kyushu. This dessert is light and spongy with whipped cream filling and frosting, topped with perfectly cut deep red strawberries.
Christmas lights, or “Illumination” as it’s called here, is a huge attraction during the festive season. Theme parks, shops and malls are lavished with pretty lights and themed decorations. The streets of posh areas like Omotesando, Ginza and Roppongi are absolutely stunning during this time of year too. And it’s a great opportunity to take a walk and soak up the atmosphere. Japanese families do not deck out their homes with Christmas lights nor do they buy evergreen trees. With shoebox sized apartments, these holiday staples are just not a possibility. Instead, Japanese people opt for public light displays All major cities will typically have at least one big site dedicated solely to illuminations. Tokyo, of course, has many.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little holiday shopping, and Japanese malls are no stranger to Christmas decor. During this time of year, traditional trees, ornaments, and goods for sale aimed at the holiday shopper can be found at most major malls and department stores, especially in the big cities. Japan hosts typical Christmas markets from the beginning to the end of winter season. While visiting Japan at this time, you will be able to find everything from delicate tree ornaments to mulled wine. We suggest you visit the Tokyo Christmas Market,sponsored by the German Tourism Association and the German Embassy. From December 16th to 25th in Hibiya Park, 11am to 11pm, every day. You can purchase a video game console or a favored doll without the likely risk of being crushed in a stampede or punched in the face.