Christmas is not widely celebrated in as religious celebration in Japan, because not many people here are Christians. However, several customs have come to Japan from the West such as sending and receiving Christmas Presents and eating gorgeous dinner.
Christmas is known as a time to share the happiness. People attend on parties, and spend romantic night with boy/girl friend, not many people think as a religious event and stay at home with their family.
If you are visiting Japan around Christmas time, how about try these real Japanese things?
1. Walk Around Christmassy Town
Everywhere is decorated with Christmas lights from the end of November. You will see lots of boys and girls walking down the street holding their hands. There are Christmas lights in Omotesando, Roppongi, Shinjuku, Ginza, Marunouchi (around Tokyo station), etc. Omotesando and Roppongi are the two of famous spots, and my favorite Christmas decorations.
Omotesando is the name of the street near Harajuku. The street is filled with 500,000 golden color Christmas lights. Omotesando is also a shopping street so walking down while shopping in boutiques will be a nice thing to do. The light is going to be lit until 9:00 p.m. everyday until 25th December.
Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas
You can see the Christmas lights in Roppongi Hills at “Keyaki-zaka” (zaka means hill). There will be 1,200,000 LED lights, changing colors from blue to red in every 30 minutes. There are also Christmas lights in Japanese garden “Mori-Teien”.
Also Christmas market will be held with lots of Christmas items. Grab some hot wine and walk around Roppongi Hills!
Find more about Christmas lights in Tokyo: 8 Places to See Beautiful Christmas Lights in Tokyo
2. Buy A Christmas Box of KFC’s Fried Chicken
This must sound strange, but in Japan we do not usually eat turkey for Christmas, but instead chicken, and especially, KFC. It is said to be that KFC did a huge campaign about eating their fried chicken for Christmas around 1970’s. Since then, KFC has influenced Japanese culture on Christmas.
3. Eat Christmas Decorated Cakes
This is also a unique custom about Christmas in Japan. People usually make reservation for Christmas cake in order to buy popular ones from famous bakery. Buying Christmas cakes are said to be started around 1950’s, by Fuji-ya (one of the biggest confectionery company in Japan) as a marketing strategy to increase the sales.
Nowadays, various cakes are sold. You can buy those at anywhere from department store to local confectionery to convenience stores. Anime character decorated cakes are also popular for kids and otaku.