Christmas in Japan

The Japanese have their own unique take on Christmas.

With less than one percent of the population Christian, one would wonder why the Japanese have adopted this festival but then again it's a good excuse for elaborate illuminations, even more kawaii (cute) characters and shopping! 
In close proximity to New Year, which is considered a time for family, Christmas has been adopted as a time for friends and dating! The festivities begin in November with shopping malls and department stores all competing for the best decorations and illuminations which are of course accompanied with carols on a relentless loop. It's quite remarkable how big Christmas has become without having any religious, traditional or historic importance to the Japanese. Our advice is to embrace the commercial trappings and take it all with a pinch of salt because, no matter how hard you try, you will never find the true meaning of Christmas here. 
So how do the Japanese actually celebrate Christmas? Christmas Eve has become a big date night where couples usually go out for dinner and present each other with lavish gifts and on Christmas Day a slightly strange tradition of eating fried chicken at fast food restaurants has emerged. This is so popular that many people place orders weeks in advance and every KFC outlet has their own life-size Colonel Sanders statue dressed as Santa. 
Travelling during the Christmas period certainly adds some extra curiosities to your travels and as it is not an official holiday shops, businesses, restaurants and sightseeing spots are open as usual. It will certainly be a Christmas to remember! 

Christmas in Japan

Available throughout Japan

Other Festivals experiences

View more >
  • Yabusame horseback archery

    Yabusame horseback archery

    Witness the incredible martial art of horseback archery as the spirit of the samurai lives on.

    Read more >

  • Nebuta festival

    Nebuta festival

    Gigantic illuminated floats take to the streets of Aomori every August.

    Read more >

  • Awa Odori dance festival

    Awa Odori dance festival

    Head to Tokushima for the most famous and boisterous of Shikoku's summer dance festivals

    Read more >