Japan Australia Pages

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas in Japan

image from bobby stokes
Christmas in Japan is traditionally celebrated with KFC fried chicken and a fancy Christmas cake. The cake usually consists of a sponge cake covered in whipped cream and topped with strawberries. Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, and unfortunately is just a regular working day if it falls on a week day. The retail stores and shopping malls scattered all around Japan have been the most enthusiastic about Christmas, with large Christmas trees, Santa Clauses and seasonal decorations out in force several weeks or months in advance. Christmas Eve has traditionally been a time for couples to go out on a romantic dinner date and restaurants and hotels are usually fully booked out during this time.

Over the last few years, more and more people are starting to celebrate Christmas like we do in the west. They are taking up traditions such as decorating their home, exchanging gifts and having a nice Christmas dinner. The Winter Illuminations have become a big deal during this time with magical displays put on by several places. My favourite has to be the Winter Illuminations at Nabana no Sato in Mie Prefecture.

image from Mie Tourism Guide
 How to spend a Festive Christmas in Japan like back home

There are several places in Gifu/Nagoya, where I live that have the goodies you need to make a Festive Christmas just like at home.

Plant6 in Ogaki has a range of cheeses, party foods, snacks, cookies and meats.

Amika in Akenabe-cho and Masaki has a large range of frozen meats including whole chickens.

FrancFranc in Nagoya Parco has lots of different Christmas decorations as well as Tokyu Hands in Takashimiya Nagoya.

Loft in Gifu City and Sakae Nagoya also has lots of Christmas decorations and stationary like Christmas cards.

Kaldi in Diamond City and Masa21, has lots of different imported food such as chocolate, candy and snacks for those Christmas stockings.

In the Tokyo area, check out places like

Precce for a variety of cheeses, party foods and speciality items for Christmas.

Nissin World Delicatessen for whole turkeys and fixings for stuffing.

Kinokuniya has several traditional style Christmas decorations.

Seijoishi import grocery store has lots of different imported candy and cookies.

Ikea is selling real Christmas trees for ¥1990 and also have a good range of Christmas decoration.

FrancFranc and Tokyu Hands have loads of Christmas tree decorations.

Loft also has lots of Christmas decorations and stationary like Christmas cards.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas

This is my submission to the December 2011 J-Festa Christmas in Japan


  1. Been looking amusedly at KFC's all-out promotion for Japanese to go for a "Kentucky" Christmas dinner. xD

  2. Thanks for the links, more idea of Christmas gift.
    Hopefully Christmas is going to be a holiday in Japan soon.

  3. nice idea, thanks for sharing...

  4. What an interesting post! I had no idea that Christmas wasn't nationally celebrated in Japan. Also... KFC? Really? Also interesting. In America Christmas is such a big deal. Well, at least in my family. We have a huge, home cooked feast; duck with cherry sauce, fettuccine alfredo. I can't imagine having KFC, or it being a work day!

    Though, I'm sure Japan has a lot of really cool stuff that America doesn't have :P

  5. Thanks Lina, it is very different in Japan, but I find it cute and enjoy seeing the Colonel in Santa get up :)

    Thanks Antleeli, glad to hear it was helpful. I long for the day it will become a holiday in Japan, but fear it might not happen any time soon if at all.

  6. Thanks Anon, glad you liked it :)

    Thanks Amber, a traditional western style Christmas is starting to become more popular in Japan, but it is still very interesting the Japanese way. Your Christmas sounds amazing with family and lots of great food :)

  7. Don't laugh, but we are actually having KFC for Christmas lunch this year! But I am having a big Xmas celebration for 17 people on Boxing day so I have to cook all day on Xmas day and thus the reason we are getting take away.

  8. Thanks Lisa, I won't laugh, but that is pretty funny! Will you be in Japan or back home? KFC isn't a bad thing for Christmas, and totally understand your reasons. You will be having your big traditional Christmas meal on Boxing Day instead :)

  9. I've often wondered why Christmas is so popular in Japan, but the other Christian holiday, Easter (with all its cute bunnies), is not. Any theories?

  10. I love the Japanese strawberry cake that they serve for Christmas! I was so surprised when my students drew their Christmas cakes with cream and strawberries - sounded to me much more of a summer cake!

  11. Thanks Rurousha, great question and not so easy to answer. I guess the Japanese don't really relate Christmas as a Christian holiday. It has become so commercialized in Japan that it is seen as a time for couples and a romantic time of year. Easter has never been big in Japan and they don't have a chocolate eating culture like we have in the west. I think the Easter Bunny would be a big hit though in Japan as he is so cute. Halloween has started becoming more popular in recent years :)

  12. Thanks Michelle, the Christmas cakes in Japan are really good and so tasty. They are nothing like the fruit cakes we have here in Australia as a Christmas cake :)

  13. Ikea sells real Christmas trees?? Haha, wow.

  14. Thanks Angrygaijin, Yes, who would have thought it and they are actually pretty good :)

  15. as always, thanks JA for participating in J-Festa. i still can't believe that KFC fried chicken is what has been interpretted (or influenced by media) by the Japanese as Christmas dinner.

  16. Thanks Reesan, Always a pleasure :) I was lucky enough to have my KFC dinner for Christmas Eve this year.

  17. Awwww... I wish I'd have checked this out sooner - I didn't know IKEA sold xmas trees! Oh well, there's always this year. ;)
    Thanks for the tip!

  18. Hi Ri, Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it was a great tip and hopefully they will do it again for 2012 :)


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