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Tokyo Tower at night in the background of an illumination.
Tokyo Tower at night in the background of an illumination.

Christmas in Tokyo: How Do People Celebrate It?

Thuy FangThuy Fang
Published Time
Posted on December 29, 2022

The festive season is around the corner once again and around the world. Many cultures celebrate Christmas, and Japan is no exception! Most significantly, Christmas in Tokyo is lively and cozy because many unique events occur during the year-end holiday season!

Tokyo residents enjoy Christmas food yearly and give gifts to family, friends, and loved ones. Join us to find out how people here celebrate the annual Christmas!

Prepare a Christmas in Tokyo feast

Like many Western countries, Christmas is when Japanese people organize a cozy party with their families and friends. Usually, they prepare Western-style food at Christmas parties, such as smoked ham, fried chicken, and shortcakes. These dishes typically accompany wine and various soft drinks. 

Every Christmas in Tokyo, KFC launches a particular version of fried chicken and other foods. Ordering food from KFC has also become a tradition of Christmas in Tokyo since the 1970s. KFC-branded dishes that are popular during Christmas are salads and french fries. 

A person in a red sweater holding a plate of a roasted chicken.
Chicken is great for Christmas if you don’t have a turkey! Image via Shutterstock

French fries, chocolate cake, and Christmas limited edition fried chicken buckets. It’s easy to see that this KFC party is a variation of the American turkey dinner and uses fried chicken instead of turkey.

About 1-2 months before Christmas, many Japanese families have the habit of pre-ordering cakes for parties or gifts. Famous places where they can quickly receive cake catalogs and reserve cakes are supermarkets, bakeries, and even 24-hour convenience stores. 

A white Christmas cake with drippy chocolate frosting with gingerbread cookies and candy canes on top.
You can get plenty of Christmas cakes during this time of year! Image via Shutterstock

Christmas cakes are beautiful and come in various designs, from classic to modern, subtle to charming. Roppongi Hills will have hundreds of thousands of pretty lights from November to Christmas lining Keyakizaka Street. Moreover, most of these cakes come from famous bakeries or hotels in Japan.

Looking to enjoy the holiday season with tasty Japanese snacks like Kit Kat or Pocky this holiday season? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat sends all kinds of fun Japanese treats right to your door!

Indulge in Illumination Spaces

You’ll find lots of gorgeous lit-up locations around Tokyo during Christmas. Annually, Christmas illuminations in Tokyo are places visited by countless numbers of people. Here are three sites worth visiting when you come to the capital city of Japan for Christmas.

Roppongi Hills 

Roppongi Hills has trees on both sides of Keyakizaka Street will be decorated with hundreds of thousands of brilliant LED lights from the beginning of November till Christmas. This monumental illumination creates a sparkling Christmas scene for pedestrians and vehicles traveling on the 400m route.

A road in Roppongi Hills with many illuminated trees.
Roppongi Hills is definitely where you want to be for the festivities! Image via Shutterstock

Tokyo Midtown 

An annual illumination event takes place in Tokyo Midtown and features many lights! Visitors here at Christmas will admire the colorful LED lights on trees, sparkling bubbles, and numerous color-changing garden light poles. The giant snow globe is also a particular highlight and brings the spirit of the holiday season to this illumination event.

An exterior shot of Tokyo Midtown, a perfect place to celebrate Christmas in Tokyo.
Tokyo Midtown is a shopping and entertainment center with illuminations. Image via Shutterstock

Shibuya Blue Cave

Shibuya Blue Cave is one of the best winter illumination events in Tokyo’s center. This event is so well-liked that more than 200,000 people visit Shibuya Blue Cave annually. The appearance of about 600,000 blue LEDs creates an iconic landscape for this area.

A grove of trees with electric blue lights--this is Shibuya Blue Cave a popular place where people celebrate Christmas in Tokyo.
Shibuya Blue Cave is a wondrous marvel in the middle of the city. Image via Shutterstock

Visit Christmas in Tokyo markets

Going shopping at Christmas markets is also recognized as one of the everyday activities in Tokyo. Most Christmas markets in Tokyo have a European vibe and have become popular destinations. For families in Tokyo, this is a perfect outing they can go on during the holiday season!

People at a festive Christmas market at night.
There are quite a few Christmas markets throughout the city. Image via Shutterstock

People usually come here to buy Christmas gifts or items to prepare for the new year. In addition, they’re also interested in enjoying traditional German cuisine, like sausages and beers, at these festive markets. This is actually an excellent opportunity for people in Tokyo to indulge themselves in the bustling and joyful atmosphere of the Christmas holidays with relatives and friends.

Some famous Christmas market festivals that Tokyoites love to visit include Tokyo Christmas Market, Roppongi Hills Christmas Market, and Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market.

Go ice skating

One of the most stress-relieving activities during the Christmas holiday is ice skating. In Tokyo and around the city, it’s easy to find plenty of adult and kid-friendly ice rinks.

A bunch of people ice skating at Tokyo Midtown Rink.
Ice skating is a widespread activity during the holidays! Image via Shutterstock

If the above-mentioned magical illumination in Tokyo Midtown, more than that, there is also a spacious ice skating rink. This is a trendy skating spot in Tokyo, as visitors can enjoy the natural surroundings of the Midtown garden area. Midtown Ice Rink is ideal for beginners as it offers a 30-minute introductory skating course on alternate days.

Brilliant Winter Rink inside the shopping mall Aqua City Odaiba is always the best choice for those who want to exercise on the ice in a warmer setting. Since this is an indoor skating rink, visitors won’t have to worry about inconveniences like rain, storms, or snow. This place has welcomed so many Tokyo families who love ice skating.

Enjoy the moment at theme parks during Christmas in Tokyo

At Christmas, the atmosphere at Japanese theme parks is always more jubilant than ever. Theme parks in the Tokyo area will be decorated in Christmas style and serve customers various delicious seasonal dishes.  

A shot of Universal Studios Japan, an amusement park during the holidays.
A lot of amusement parks celebrate the season as well! Image via Shutterstock

Witnessing the Christmas parades and special performances at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea has become a must for many people in Tokyo. Also, visitors often buy limited-edition Christmas merchandise featuring Disney characters as souvenirs.

Sanrio Puroland also attracts many visitors every Christmas season, just as bustling as the parks of Tokyo Disney resort. This is always a favorite Christmas place for small kids and many Hello Kitty fans. Taking photos with cute Sanrio characters in lovely Christmas costumes has become a tradition for many people when coming here.

We hope you’ve learned more about how people in Tokyo enjoy Christmas. You will experience even more if you spend Christmas in Tokyo.

There’s still a lot of cool stuff about Christmas in Tokyo, so stay tuned for more of our current posts. Besides, remember to discover what our Christmas gift box will have; they will definitely impress you!

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