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One of many December events, a Christmas illumination.
One of many December events, a Christmas illumination.

December Events: Best Five You Should Check Out in 2023!

Thuy FangThuy Fang
Published Time
Posted on November 25, 2023

December events always lighten up the winter season in Japan with awesome activities! They can range from concerts to even fireworks! Here are a few December events in Japan you should check out!

Candlelight Concert: Best of Joe Hisaishi (Kobe 12/21, Osaka 12/23)

Dive into the magical worlds of Ghibli Studio’s classic anime at this super fun December event! Explore the enchanting realms of films like My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away through the awesome power of music.

Listen as talented musicians bring to life the fantastic tunes of renowned composer Joe Hisaishi in super cool and lively performances. It’s a rare chance to feel the magic of your favorite Ghibli films through the awesomeness of live music!

A shot of the Candlelight Concert.
This is one the best opportunities to enjoy a classic concert! Image via Secret Media Network

The concert venue, decked out with sparkling candles, transforms the whole experience into a cozy and magical adventure. The unique lighting adds an extra layer of coolness, promising a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you can enjoy live performances while soaking in the fantastic glow.

Whether you’re a mega Ghibli fan or just someone who loves great music, this event is a perfect mix of nostalgia, creativity, and the magical essence that Ghibli films are famous for. Don’t miss this extraordinary night of music and enchantment—it will be a blast!

Nankinmachi Lantern Fair (Kobe 12/9-1/9)

Every year, Kobe‘s Nankinmachi Square hosts the Nankinmachi Lantern Fair, a lively celebration that charms visitors with its cultural richness. Starting with a special lighting ceremony on December 9th, the fair begins with the energetic Chinese lion dance, setting the stage for a festive atmosphere.

The first day of this Chinese lantern fair offers an immersive experience. Attendees can enjoy the excitement of firecrackers and the pleasant tunes of a live jazz performance, creating a lively and unique vibe for the event.

The outside of the Nankinmachi Lantern Festival.
The Nankinmachi Festival takes place in Kobe’s Chinatown. Image via Feel Kobe

The festival’s highlight is the stunning display of over 400 Chinese lanterns. These lanterns, strategically placed in Nankinmachi Square, emit a gentle and distinct glow, unlike typical Christmas lights. They light up the area daily from around 4 to 10 pm, creating a magical atmosphere.

It’s perfect for leisurely evening strolls, enjoying delicious food, and exploring captivating items from local vendors. The Nankinmachi Lantern Fair provides a sensory experience, inviting visitors to appreciate this cultural celebration’s beauty, tradition, and warmth.

Looking for some awesome snacks this December? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat delivers the best Japanese snacks, drinks, sweets, and noodles straight from Japan to your door so that you can have a fun summer party at home!

Mutek Japan 2023 (12/7-12/9)

This year, the Mutek Japan event will be held over four days at three iconic venues in Tokyo: Miraikan, Shibuya Stream Hall, and Line Cube Shibuya. Mutek is a non-profit that has been spreading digital creativity joy through its annual global festivals since 2000. 

Two DJs at the Mutek Japan events, one of many December festivals.
Mutek Japan is an epic electronic dance concert! Image via Clubberia

To create a playground for constant innovation, the Mutek festival spotlights not only well-known artists but also rising stars in electronic music and digital art. In the festival, digital creators, composers, and music artists worldwide, including local ones, will team up to deliver memorable performances. It must be among the most joyful December events, as you can discover hidden gems in the music scene.

Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks (12/2-12/23)

The Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks tradition, held every Saturday in December, transforms winter nights into a romantic setting with fireworks. Visitors can enjoy fireworks accompanied by music, which enhances the magical experience.

The Odaiba Rainbow Festival at night.
The Odaiba Rainbow Festival is a winter fireworks show. Image via Shutterstock

Approximately 2,000 fireworks will burst into Tokyo’s clear winter skies, launched from Daiba Park and around the Statue of Liberty in Odaiba. The best views can be found in front of the Decks Shopping Center. Moreover, Toyosu Gururi Park provides an alternative spot with a different outlook and potentially fewer crowds. 

For an exclusive experience, observers can also reserve a pleasant cruise ship viewing or secure an ideal place on the Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks Special Viewing Course held on December 17th this year. 

Toji Matsuri (12/22)

Toji Matsuri, known as the Winter Solstice Festival, occurs at Anahachimangu Shrine in the Nishi Waseda area. It is a unique celebration when Japanese people gather to enjoy outdoor activities despite the chilly weather. 

At the Issan Shrine, something cool may happen called hiwatari. Here, visitors walk barefoot on a path in the middle of a bonfire. This captivating tradition is like a magical walk, which symbolizes cleaning up the bad stuff from the past year and hoping for a healthy family in the coming year. 

The TeamLab Planets Toji Festival collaboration, one of many December festivals.
This event takes place during the winter solstice. Image via Japan Travel

In addition, people can buy a unique charm called Ichiyo Raifuku. It’s like a spiritual item that can turn bad things into good things and help visitors stay warm in winter. Furthermore, the matsuri offers a vibrant winter market featuring stalls selling seasonal products such as yuzu citrus and hot food. 

From captivating concerts to mesmerizing fireworks, these December events are perfect for the holiday season with friends and family! We’d love to hear from you if you’ve attended any of these winter events or have your own joyful stories to share. Drop a comment below and spread the December cheer!

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