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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogChristmas Treats and Fun in Japan: Best Holiday Season!

Christmas Treats and Fun in Japan: Best Holiday Season!

Thalia HarrisThalia Harris
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December 01, 2023
A plate of chicken legs among many other Christmas treats.

Dive into a winter wonderland of delight as Japan unveils a festive feast for the senses. From sweet surprises to cultural delights, experiencing Christmas in Japan is a journey filled with tasty treasures and unforgettable moments.

What is the history of Christmas in Japan?

Christmas in Japan has its roots in the 16th century when missionaries from Portugal and Spain introduced the celebration in Kagoshima and Nagasaki. Initially, it was mainly celebrated within the Christian community, struggling to move away from its religious origins.

A Christmas illumination in Fukuoka, Japan.
Christmas in Japan dates back to the 16th century. Image via Shutterstock

Things started changing in the late 1800s with the Meiji Restoration, bringing Western influences to Japan. Christmas underwent a significant transformation, gaining popularity beyond the Christian community. After World War II, Christmas in Japan became less religious under American influence, incorporating Western traditions like Christmas trees and gift exchanges into its celebrations.

Today, Christmas in Japan is a lively, non-religious celebration marked by beautiful lights, decorations, and a sense of joy. It’s no longer exclusive to Christians; it brings families and friends together for gift exchanges and a good time. The evolution of Christmas from its early days in Kagoshima and Nagasaki reflects how cultures can blend and traditions can adapt in different places.”

What kind of Christmas treats can I enjoy?

In Japan, the Christmas culinary scene offers a delightful mix of traditional and contemporary treats. Here are some festive delights to savor during the holiday season:

Christmas Cake

A Japanese Christmas cake with a glossy chocolate cake.
Some cakes have a ganache layer. Image via Shutterstock

Indulge in the sweetness of a Japanese Christmas cake, a light sponge cake adorned with whipped cream and strawberries. The red and white colors symbolize the joyous spirit of Christmas, making it a popular choice for families during the festive season.

KFC Christmas Feast

Surprisingly, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has become a Christmas tradition in Japan. Many Japanese families celebrate with a “Christmas Chicken” bucket, a trend from a successful marketing campaign in the 1970s. Pre-ordering is essential to secure this finger-licking feast.

Domino’s Holiday Quattro Pizza

For a modern twist, try Domino’s Holiday Quattro Pizza. This unique pizza combines four festive flavors on a single pie, blending traditional ingredients with a seasonal touch. It’s a convenient and tasty option for those looking to enjoy a Western-style Christmas treat in Japan.

Domino's Quattro pizza one of many famous Christmas dishes.
Domino’s Pizza in Japan makes hearty holiday pizzas! Image via Entabe

These treats reflect the unique way Japan has embraced Christmas, blending local and international flavors to create a culinary celebration that captures the essence of the holiday season. Whether you opt for a slice of Christmas cake, a bucket of KFC, or a Holiday Quattro Pizza, you’re in for a festive and flavorful experience.

Are you interested in enjoying delicious Christmas treats? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat delivers limited-edition Japanese noodles, snacks, drinks, and sweets right to your door so you can enjoy the latest Christmas treats directly from Japan!

What theme parks can I visit during Christmas in Japan?

You can embark on a magical Christmas journey at Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki, one of Japan’s enchanting theme parks that turns into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. Huis Ten Bosch, known for its Dutch-inspired architecture and European ambiance, offers visitors a unique Christmas experience.

Christmas Celebration

As you step into Huis Ten Bosch during Christmas, you’ll find yourself immersed in a festive atmosphere adorned with twinkling lights, elaborate decorations, and a joyful spirit. The park beautifully blends traditional Dutch Christmas traditions with a Japanese flair, creating a truly one-of-a-kind celebration.

A beautiful canal at Huis Ten Bosch.
Image via Shutterstock

Illumination Extravaganza

One of the highlights of the Huis Ten Bosch Christmas celebration is the breathtaking illumination display. The park transforms into a dazzling spectacle of lights, with millions of twinkling bulbs casting a magical glow over the canals, bridges, and European-style buildings. It’s a mesmerizing sight that captures the essence of the holiday season.

Christmas Market

Stroll through the Christmas market within the park, where the air is filled with the delightful aromas of seasonal treats and the sound of festive music. Vendors offer a variety of goods, from handmade crafts to delicious holiday snacks, providing the perfect opportunity for visitors to indulge in the Christmas spirit and find unique gifts.

A Christmas tree at Huis Ten Bosch.
This amazing Christmas tree towers over the whole park. Image via Shutterstock

Santa’s Village

For families, Santa’s Village is a must-visit spot. Kids can meet Santa Claus himself, share their Christmas wishes, and participate in festive activities. The cheerful atmosphere and whimsical decorations create a memorable experience for both the young and the young at heart.

Special Christmas Shows

Huis Ten Bosch features special Christmas-themed performances and shows that add an extra layer of joy to the celebration. The park’s entertainment lineup ensures visitors are immersed in the season’s magic, from musical extravaganzas to heartwarming plays.

Fireworks during Christmas.
They even have amazing fireworks shows! Image via Shutterstock

In essence, Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki transforms into a captivating Christmas destination, offering a blend of European charm and Japanese hospitality. The park’s commitment to creating a festive ambiance, with dazzling illuminations, a Christmas market, and special performances, makes it a must-visit for anyone seeking a magical holiday experience in Japan.

Where can I spend the holidays in Japan?

You can spend the holidays in Hokkaido, a northern paradise in Japan that transforms into a winter wonderland during the festive season. Hokkaido offers a delightful mix of attractions, making it an ideal destination for a memorable holiday getaway!

Shiroi Koibito Park

Begin your holiday adventure at Shiroi Koibito Park, a magical place where the sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies fills the air. Inspired by the famous Shiroi Koibito cookies, this park takes you on a whimsical journey through a chocolate factory and a charming European-style village. During the holidays, the park is adorned with festive decorations, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.

A winter night at the Shiroi Koibito Factory in Hokkaido, complete with winter illuminations.
The Shiroi Koibito Park is world famous! Image via Shutterstock

Asahiyama Zoo – Penguins’ Parade

For an unforgettable holiday experience, head to Asahiyama Zoo, where the residents steal the show—especially the adorable penguins! Witness the enchanting Penguin Parade, a unique spectacle where these charming birds strut their stuff, delighting visitors of all ages. The zoo’s winter wonderland setting adds more magic to the holiday festivities.

Niseko Ski Resort

Niseko Ski Resort is a dream destination for those seeking an active holiday. The powdery snow-covered slopes of Niseko attract skiers and snowboarders from around the world. The resort blends winter sports, breathtaking scenery, and cozy apres-ski atmospheres. Spend your days gliding down the slopes and your evenings indulging in the warm hospitality of mountain lodges.

A night scene at a ski resort in Hokkaido.
Hokkaido is the ultimate winter getaway. Image via Shutterstock

Whether you’re exploring the sweet delights of Shiroi Koibito Park, witnessing penguins’ parades at Asahiyama Zoo, or hitting the slopes at Niseko Ski Resort, spending the holidays in Hokkaido promises a magical and diverse experience. The winter charm of this region, coupled with festive attractions, creates a holiday escape that is both joyful and unforgettable.

Why should I spend Christmas in Japan?

Overall, celebrating Christmas in Japan is a unique and fun experience that mixes old traditions with new ways of celebrating. Places like Huis Ten Bosch and Shiroi Koibito Park make Japan feel like a magical winter world with pretty lights and festive markets.

An illumination near Roppongi Hills.
What do you find cool about Christmas in Japan? Image via Shutterstock

There are beautiful lights and markets at Huis Ten Bosch and sweet treats to enjoy at Shiroi Koibito Park in Hokkaido. These places offer a mix of Western and Japanese traditions that make Christmas in Japan memorable. It’s a unique way to feel the holiday spirit and make beautiful memories. Would you ever enjoy Christmas treats and fun in Japan? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Thalia Harris

Writer living in Tokyo who likes stories, music and video games. <3

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