Image by Kure (license) Christmas in Japan is a mix of traditions, with continental-style markets playing a big part in the warm-up for the big day.

Christmas Markets


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

  • Solamachi Christmas Market, Tokyo Skytree, Until December 25
    A German-style market featuring wooden stalls, hot wine, and the typical German beer and sausages. Beautiful lighting in the market area enhances the Christmas illuminations at Tokyo Skytree. See More: Tokyo Sky Tree
  • Marché de Noël, Tokyo Midtown, Until December 25
    The lovely and elegant Tokyo Midtown mall gets into the seasonal mood with this market, which boasts everything for Christmas – from Holiday tableware to seasonal sweets and gifts. See More: Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi
  • Roppongi Hills Christmas Market, Roppongi Hills, November 30 – December 25
    Another German-style Christmas Market in the upscale Roppongi Hills features an incredible selection of decorations, Christmas carols. The classic German sausages and beer are part of the fun. See More: Roppongi Hills

Must-Know Christmas In Japan

December 25th is NOT a national holiday in Japan. Japanese people work and go to school as usual. But although Japanese only about 1% of the Japanese population is Christian (the rest are Buddhists and Shinto) Japanese Christmas is a big Day, with traditions that are uniquely Japanese. Sending Christmas cards to friends is one of the traditions in Japan.

End of the year gifts for your boss, Kid’s teachers, and friends is a Christmas custom here

The gifts are bought at department stores, so the receiver can check the price and return something around the same price.

Forget-the-year parties are a fantastic Japanese tradition for Christmas. Companies, hobby groups, sports groups put up huge drinking parties which typically end with streets and subways full of drunk people trying to get home…

Strangely, the Japanese Christmas is like Valentine’s Day, While the Japanese New Year is celebrated like a traditional Western Christmas. That’s when the Japanese people prepare decorated trees, Santa clauses, gifts, and Christmas decorations.

See More: Best Christmas Decorations In Japan: Tokyo Illuminations
See Also: More Romantic Things To Do In Tokyo

See More: 10 Weird Facts About Life in Japanese Culture

Christmas in Disneyland Tokyo

Winter is much slower than summer in Disney Sea Tokyo & in Tokyo Disney Land, so fewer crowds and waiting times.

If you visit during the beginning to mid-December you can enjoy the ‘Christmas Fantasy’ show and the Disney Sea Tokyo special Christmas versions of their shows.
See More: Tokyo Disney – Events And Latest News

Christmas In Japan For Kids

Children receive presents from a Buddhist monk who is seen as the Japanese equivalent of Santa Claus (‘Hotei-Osho’).
See More: More Japanese Festivals For Kids
See Also: Japan With Kids

Christmas In Japan: Food

Christmas Eve is celebrated by eating a cake made of sponge cake, strawberries and whipped cream. Stores drop the price of it drastically on December 25th in order to sell everything out by the 26th.

A Chicken dinner has become very popular. Many Japanese make reservations for their ‘Christmas Chicken’ ahead of time at Kentucky Fried Chicken! Most Japanese believe that Westerners celebrate Christmas with a chicken dinner too (from Kentucky…)

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 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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