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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogChristmas in Japan: The Most Special Holiday!

Christmas in Japan: The Most Special Holiday!

Devon Lord-MoncriefDevon Lord-Moncrief
Published Time
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November 30, 2023
Two people sitting in front of a Christmas tree during Christmas in Japan.

Christmas in Japan is similar to celebrations worldwide, yet it maintains a unique atmosphere of joy and romance. While many observe religious customs globally, Christmas is a day to gather with friends, family, and loved ones! From the gorgeous weather to the fantastic food, Christmas in Japan is the most exciting time of the year.

Amazing Christmas Dinners!

While people partake in gift-giving and Secret Santa events at the workplace, Christmas in Japan is less about the gifts and more about the time spent with one another.

A Christmas dinner with a turkey.
You can enjoy a Christmas dinner in Japan at many restaurants! Image via Shutterstock

An excellent analogy for Christmas in Japan is how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the West. Christmas Eve is a profoundly romantic day with a loved one or date. Dinner reservations are made, and people dress up in their finest livery to spend a romantic evening with one another.

Christmas Cakes!

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without unique sweets, and Japan has that covered. Japanese Christmas cakes are famous nationwide for being incredibly sweet and indulgent.

A bunch of friends clinking glasses of wine near a Christmas cake.
No holiday get-together is complete without a Christmas cake! Image via Shutterstock

The most popular variety is strawberry shortcake, made with soft sponge cake, airy whipped cream, and freshly cut strawberries. Major stores and bakeries across Japan offer their best cakes on Christmas to help bring a sweet and satisfying end to Christmas dinner (or any other time!)

Beautiful Illuminations!

Enjoy the magic of winter nights with breathtaking holiday lights. Japan goes all out, adorning cities, stores, malls, restaurants, and parks with their most splendid displays. The countless lights create a joyful and warm atmosphere as the sun sets early in Japanese winter, around 5 PM. Strolling with a loved one through these beautiful displays, followed by a quiet and intimate dinner, adds a touch of romance to the evening.

A river with Christmas lights on it.
There are many beautiful illuminations to enjoy during this time of year! Image via Shutterstock

Some famous illuminations include Roppongi Hills and Omotesando. They offer some of the most captivating displays. Roppongi Hills, a modern hub of art and culture, transforms into a wonderland of lights during the winter season. The key attraction is the “Keyakizaka Galaxy,” a mesmerizing tunnel of lights along the famous Keyakizaka Street.

Meanwhile, Omotesando, known for its stylish and trendy atmosphere, embraces the festive spirit with delightful illuminations. The trees along Omotesando Avenue are adorned with a brilliant cascade of lights, creating a magical ambiance. The iconic Omotesando Hills shopping complex also participates, adding a touch of glamour to the winter nights.

A couple looking at Christmas lights in Japan.
These illuminations are sure to make your Christmas special! Image via Shutterstock

Both locations attract locals and visitors, offering a perfect opportunity for a stroll amidst the dazzling lights, creating unforgettable memories of Tokyo’s winter charm.

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Fun Amusement Parks!

Even though gift-giving isn’t the main focus of Christmas in Japan, it’s still very common. Stores put out plenty of decorations and offer fantastic sales and discounts. For those looking for something more exciting than going to a mall or department store for their Christmas gifts, Tokyo Disneyland has a giant Christmas celebration that everyone can partake in! 

A bunch of lights at a Japanese amusement park.
Many amusement parks have great light displays!Image via Shutterstock

The Tokyo Disney Christmas Fantasy is a delightful holiday event. It features special fireworks displays, exclusive merchandise, and limited Christmas-themed food at all eateries. Tokyo Disneyland is more than just a park for children—it’s a great way to spend time with a loved one on a day trip.

Japan has the perfect Christmas weather!

Winter in parts of Japan is typically bright and sunny with dry weather. This is incredibly convenient for many, but for those wishing for more classic winter fare befitting Christmas time, the northern parts of Japan and areas along its coast are famous for the snow they get. 

A Christmas tree next to Skytree.
Even Tokyo Skytree is in on the Christmas spirit! Image via Shutterstock

Clear winter night skies, blankets of soft white snow, and a hand to hold: Christmas in Japan practically caters to romance. Japan offers excellent winter resorts for those looking for more excitement in their Christmas adventures. Skiing is especially popular and makes for unforgettable weekend getaways.

Christmas in Japan is truly special!

While some people might believe in celebrating each other every day of the year, not just on a select few, there’s something special about dedicating a few days and nights to memorable outings.

A woman surprising her female friend with a gift.
How do you plan to make Christmas special this year? Image via Shutterstock

Christmas is a special day with different connotations in Japan than in the West. However, the opportunity to spend time with loved ones is always cherished. During this festive season, Japan offers gorgeous lights, decorations, fantastic dinners, specialty desserts, holiday shopping events, and classic winter wonderland weather.

For those living there and those planning on making a winter getaway, Christmas is a fantastic time to enjoy some quality time with the ones you love. Have you spent Christmas in Japan before? What did you do to celebrate? Tell us in the comments below! We’d love to hear about your fantastic time in Japan!

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