Only 1% of the Japanese population is Christian, so christmas in japan is not really considered a religious holiday, but rather a fun and festive event. However, most companies regard December 25 as a normal business day. In the Land of the Rising Sun, Christmas Eve is celebrated more than the day itself.
Some Christmas customs have been imported from the West (especially from the United States) but Japan has managed, once again, to “Japanize” this holiday to really appropriate it and create its own way of living it. celebrate christmas. You will surely find illuminated fir trees ? in shopping malls, Christmas markets and luminous garlands, but also some unique traditions 100% made in Japan. If you want to know more about how Celebrate Christmas in the Land of the Rising Sunhere’s a little sneak peek!
Immerse yourself in Japan’s Christmas traditions
More than a religious event, Christmas in Japan is a romantic celebration. The night of December 24 is celebrated as a couple, however, single people can also celebrate Christmas with friends; more rarely with the family.
And Santa Claus in all this?
In Japanese, “Merry Christmas” is ” meri kurisumasu and Santa Claus ? is known as holy saint (“Señor Santa”) for Saint Nicholas. In big cities, store employees dress up as Santa Claus to sell you anything. However, the Japanese do not have the tradition to open your presents under the Christmas tree, December 25. This western custom is not really something common within families. In fact, only couples give each other small gifts ?. Rest assured that the exchange of japanese gifts It takes place on New Year’s Day, a much more celebrated holiday than Christmas in Japan.
In Japanese culture, there is already a tradition of exchanging gifts in December known as Oseibo. For this occasion, the Japanese offer gifts such as condiments, drinks or cakes to their companions as a token of appreciation.
What do we do at Christmas in Japan?
If he Christmas decorations as the fir trees and the garlands are not very present in the houses, decorate shop windows and shopping malls big cities. Also, at the end of the year, the Japanese take advantage of the lights that decorate the hangouts and the Christmas market with its mulled wine and gingerbread.
December 25 is not a holiday in the archipelago. Therefore, it is the day before when we take advantage of the festivities. Of japanese christmas food, not turkey with chestnuts or frozen log, but chicken. We also find the Christmas Cake, the famous Japanese Christmas cake and all its derivatives. For New Year’s Eve, most couples go to restaurants, while singles prefer to go to KFC. In fact, at this time, chicken was an institution in Japan. Finally, Japanese people love to go to Tokyo Disneyland to celebrate Christmas.
Take full eyes in front of the winter illuminations.
although winter illuminations in Japan are not directly related to Christmas, it’s hard not to talk about it. Every year in winter, Japanese cities are decorated with fairy lights and light effects for the greatest pleasure of our eyes! The tradition of the Christmas tree is not very common in the Land of the Rising Sun, however shops and malls will not hesitate to display giant trees all lit up and richly decorated to impress you. ?
Similarly, Christmas carols resonate in shops from morning to night. And when it comes to putting the package on decorations, the Japanese know how to do it! we meet in the high level of creativity ! Magnificent illuminations are on display in working-class neighborhoods from mid-November to late December. Royal attractions, many visitors come to admire these grandiose shows. Among the most famous light events in Tokyo are Caretta Shiodome Illuminationsthat takes place in a large shopping complex or in the starlight garden in Roppongi. In general, lively neighborhoods in big cities are good places to enjoy illuminations.
Gobbling down a huge bucket of chicken at KFC
Ha ha The Christmas’s food… That magical moment when everyone gathers around a table to fill their stomachs by tasting delicious dishes that have been simmering all day. In Japan, things are a bit different… There is no Christmas turkey on the table, but there is a huge fried chicken bucket Order at local KFC. And there are no less than 3.6 million Japanese families who, every year, try the tender and wings ? of the famous Colonel Sanders. The demand is so high this Christmas season that people have to order the special christmas menu up to six weeks in advance. And if you haven’t anticipated far enough, you may have to wait hours on the phone before you can place an order!
But where does this tradition come from? Why has chicken become a legend in Japan at the end of the year? To understand its origin, you have to go back 50 years. At that time, the first kfc manager in the country, Takeshi Okawara had the idea of creating a special cube for Christmas. In 1974, the KFC brand launched a advertising campaign campaign to promote this “Christmas cube” and it was a complete success, especially thanks to its slogan “Kentucky for Christmas!“. Since then, traditional Christmas food in Japan rhymes with KFC and this tradition is truly ingrained in Japanese society. One thing is certain, it is not good to be a chicken in Japan at this time of year. ?
For you, we have found a Japanese advertisement that was on TV in 2010 during the Christmas season. See for yourself.?
Enjoy a romantic evening between lovers
In Japan, the spirit of Christmas is quite different from our Western traditions. For Japanese youth, night of december 24 he is considered like the most romantic day ? of the year, just like Valentine’s Day. It is essential to find a partner to spend the evening alone with your better half. Young Japanese couples are used to booking a table at a chic and elegant restaurant with a nice view (well, those who don’t go to the local KFC ?). They also enjoy strolling under the winter lights and giving each other romantic gifts. It should be noted that gastronomic restaurants, like KFCs, are taking over and therefore it is necessary to book well in advance to be sure of having a place.
Often the individual They live badly tonight, so to forget their loneliness, they go to bars with their friends and usually end up drunk. In this video, the famous Christmas song. jingle bells was parodied to give unique hell (which roughly translates to “hell of loneliness”), will give you a little insight into how single people feel about this vacation. ?
Eat soft cakes covered with cream and strawberries
Once you’ve devoured your KFC chicken, it’s time for dessert. In Japan, the kurisumasu keki – or Christmas cake – is sold on practically every corner. It is a light and fluffy cake, made up of sponge cake covered with whipped cream and very red strawberries; a kind of strawberry plant in fact. By the way, if you didn’t know, this emoji ? is like the Japanese traditional Christmas cake ! Nowadays, you can find this type of dessert also called shortcake with pistachio, chocolate or other fruits besides strawberry. A real pleasure !
Attend the Disneyland Christmas Parade
a Christmas, Tokyo Disneyland It is a very popular destination for both families and couples. The amusement park is completely decorated and the day goes by to the rhythm of the numerous christmas parades with costumes, choreography and candy launches to put stars in the eyes of young and old. Even Santa Claus makes an appearance! ??
Of course, you have to like the crowd because, on December 24, the paths of the amusement park are very crowded. If you want to take advantage Christmas spirit at Disneyland Tokyo without stepping on it, keep in mind that the decoration is installed from the second week of November. On the other hand, on December 26 all the decorations are removed to make way for the New Year, a very big celebration in Japan.
Romanticism, light shows, chicken, Miki Kuchi aka Mickey… Celebrating Christmas in Japan is quite a peculiar experience. While in France we wake up with the family offering gifts around the Christmas tree, the Japanese celebrate Christmas as a couple or with friends in the restaurant. However, you will enjoy festive atmosphere of this period. If you are planning a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun to celebrate the 2021 Christmas season, you will no doubt be amazed at the gap between Japanese and Western culture. With its attractions lighting up all of Japan, expect some crazy Christmas magic.
➡️ To learn more about the winter season in the land of the rising sun, discover our article japan in winter. ☃️