Spectacular Christmas lights, New Year’s Eve at Tokyo shrines, Tsukiji Fish market morning sushi, Tokyo Winter Skyline from Sky Tree tower, Kabuki December plays, shopping hot-spots, and partying with the characters of Disneyland.


By François Rejeté [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Lights Festivals

When: Throughout the month until December 25th

Whatever doubts may surround the non-religious nature of a Japanese Christmas, the Japanese commitment to spectacular Christmas Decorations is unmistakable.

Here, you will quite simply find some of the best festive light-ups in the world. The giant Christmas Tree at Ebisu Garden Place, the awesome flashing lawn at Midtown Park, and the sheer trendiness of Marunouchi’s Naka-Dori represent but three of the fantastic light-up attractions on offer.

Roppongi Hills also goes over the top with a luminescent large Christmas Tree each year, and is sure to deliver something similar this year. Step inside any other large shopping center, and literally be dazzled by the creativity.

Getting there: Ebisu Garden Place is directly accessible from Ebisu Station on the JR Yamanote and Tokyo Metro Hibiya Lines. Midtown Park is a short walk from JR Roppongi station on the Hibiya and Toei-Oedo Metro Lines. It is also near Nogizaka on the Chiyoda Metro Line. Naka-dori is within touching distance of Tokyo’s Main Station, Marunouchi side, served by a multitude of lines.

Hours: 1700-late

More information: Tokyo Midtown
See more: Christmas Decorations In Japan

See More: Day Trips from Tokyo
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Tokyo Shopping during Christmas

Photo Credit: ARTELLIGENT_CHRISTMAS_Roppngi_Hills cc at wikimedia

To dispel a popular myth: Japan sure loves Christmas. Indeed, most shops will be putting up trees and festive decorations even earlier than their counterparts in the west.

Expect a glut of new electronic product releases, most of which can immediately be found in Akihabara’s giant Akiba electronic department store. Cheaper bargains will also be found in Akihabara’s electric town backstreets.

All your favorite department stores such as Lumine, Isetan, Wako, and Mitsukoshi will be offering special limited edition goods for the festive season, while a host of giant shopping centers such as Koshigaya Laketown and Kawasaki Lazona will be staging their own seasonal events. Also, keep an eye out for the delightful Traditional Christmas Japanese Desserts in bakeries up and down the city.

Getting there: Akiba can be accessed via the JR Sobu and Yamanote Lines, and the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. The dazzling department stores of Ginza can be reached via Ginza station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya, Ginza and Marunouchi lines. Koshigaya Laketown has a station of the same name on the JR Musashino Line (which can be reached directly from Tokyo Station’s Keio Line). Kawasaki Lazona is attached to JR Kawasaki Station on the Tokaido, Keihin-Tohoku and JR Nambu Lines.

See more: Christmas In Japan

See Also: Top 10 Tokyo Shopping Spots
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New Year’s Eve Shrine/ Temple visits

Photo Credit: おむこさん志望cc at Wikimedia

One of the more amusing sights at New Year is that of Japanese shrines and temples begging – via commercials – for people to come visit them as New Year’s Eve crosses over to New Year’s Day.

Long lines will be par for the course at more popular locations, but this is the biggest festival of the year and sure to make for an unforgettable tourist experience.

The most popular venues in Tokyo late on New Year’s Eve will be: Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi Park, and Yasukuni Shrine in Kudanshita.

Popular non-religious venues include Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower.

Join the thriving crowds, and pray for your family’s health and happiness over the coming year. Furthermore, listen to the iconic sound of the Joya no Kane, the ringing of shrine bells 108 times, one for each of the sins listed in Japanese folklore.

Getting there: Asakusa Station is accessible via the Tobu Sky Tree, Toei Asakusa and Ginza metro lines. Meiji Shrine can be reached from JR Harajuku and Meiji Jingu-mae Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line. Yasukuni Shrine is a short walk from Kudanshita Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line and the Toei Shinjuku Line.

See More: Meiji Jingu Shrine

4 Best Winter Tokyo Attractions

Tsukiji Fish market might be a little colder than usual, but it is still a fabulous place to go for morning sushi (except Wednesdays when it is closed).

Tokyo Sky Tree will also present some fabulous views of the Winter Skyline and may prove a particularly beautiful experience when the landscape is covered with snow.

Tokyo Tower always celebrates its birthday in December and will put on special lightning displays throughout the month, especially on New Year’s Eve.

Meanwhile, the kabuki hotspots of Shimbashi Embujo, Meiji-za and National Theater will be staging their plays throughout the first three weeks of December.

See more: kabuki Tickets

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Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea Special Events in December

Christmas Wishes November 7 – December 25 Children will be wowed by the Disney event known as “Christmas Fantasy,” which sees the attractions of the Chiba-based theme park dazzling with festive decorations. In “Disney’s Santa Village,” all your favorite characters will dress up in festive clothing for a special Christmas parade, with appropriate floats and Santa Claus also makes an appearance.

See More: Plan Your Trip To Tokyo Disneyland In 5 Easy Steps

Getting there: Disneyland Japan: Getting There Fast And Easy

Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • To make sure you have all the important things covered see my first-time-in-Tokyo guide
  • Get your 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to easily get around Tokyo
  • If you want to travel on bullet trains you can save big with a Japan Rail Pass. Here’s why is worth it.
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Tokyo.
  • Check out my detailed Tokyo packing list to make sure you’re prepared.
  • The best site to book hotels in Tokyo is almost always Booking.com. And remember to book early, especially during busy times.
  • For travel insurance (which you need) Word Nomads offer great coverage in Japan and are highly recommended.

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