Japan Australia Pages

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas in Japan 2012

Christmas in Japan is celebrated a little different than from home in Australia. For a start the seasons are different, Winter vs Summer. Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, and is just a regular working day if it falls on a week day. In Australia, it is a time to spend with family, while in Japan it is a romantic time for couples, kind of like a second Valentine’s Day.

Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day is the special day in Japan. It is usually a time for couples to go out on a romantic dinner date and restaurants and hotels are usually fully booked out during this time. Christmas Eve is celebrated with a fancy Christmas cake. The cake usually consists of a sponge cake covered in whipped cream and topped with strawberries.

Christmas food in Japan includes traditional KFC fried chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken has become synonymous with Christmas in Japan since they launched their advertising campaign in the 1970s. You will usually see the Colonel dressed up in Santa gear around this time. There are long lines at KFC on Christmas Day and many people pre-order their Christmas feast well in advance to avoid missing out.

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.

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.

How to spend a Festive Christmas in Japan like back home 

There are several places in Gifu/Nagoya, my home in Japan 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 last year was selling real Christmas trees for ¥1990 and also have a good range of Christmas decorations.

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

Light Tunnel at Nabana no Sato


  1. I love the Christmas illumination in Japan. They are awesome!

    1. Thanks Lina, The Winter Illuminations in Japan are amazing and just make the festive season for me. You'll have to check out Nabana no Sato in Mie one of these days :)


  2. シンガポールは、あまり豪華なクリスマスの飾りがないので寂しいです。

    1. Thanks Lim, そうですか。シンガポールではあまり飾りがないのは知らなかったです。なばなの里は本当にきれいですよ。ぜひ行って見て下さい。

  3. I think it's also very interesting that a lot of Japanese people think that Christmas is the birthday of Santa and whatnot!
    They also don't know that Christmas is celebrated very differently in each and every country. I guess they think it's all the same in Western countries.
    They're always very surprised when I tell them about the differences about America and Germany in terms of Christmas - let alone the differences between European countries.

    It just shows that Japan doesn't know much about Christmas and just like Halloween and Valentine's Day it has been adopted to be a popular holiday where people can make money.
    In this case it's bakeries (X-mas cakes) and KFC, I guess.

    1. Thanks Zooming Japan, Yeah, coming from Australia many Japanese people ask me whether Santa rides his surfboard to your house to deliver the presents ;) I guess we all celebrate Christmas a different way around the world. In Oz, its summer, so a backyard BBQ and day at the beach is very common.

  4. I like Loft. Are there any MUJI stores in your place? It's also a good store.

    1. Thanks Cocomino, I love looking around Loft as they have so many great floors of wonderful stuff. Yeah, we have quite a few MUJI stores as well. MUJI is great for its simple design and affordability. Do they also sell Christmas stuff?

  5. Although I don't celebrate Christmas, I enjoy Tokyo's Christmas illuminations, and I get very homesick whenever I hear "Silent Night".

    Oh, and I rather miss a Southern hemisphere Christmas lunch that consists of a barbecue on the beach or in the garden. Santa wears a swimsuit! ;)

    1. Thanks Rurousha, The illuminations in Tokyo are amazing for Christmas. I'm hoping they stay up a little longer, so we can see them when we arrive.

      I will definitely miss our Southern hemisphere Christmas when we are back in Japan. BBQ lunch with family, beach cricket and the Boxing Day Test Match at the MCG :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you Karumina, Appreciate the positive feedback and hope you will stop by again to visit :)


  7. This entry has just helped me 100x for my Japanese assignment to compare Japan/Australian stuff, どもうありがとう!

    1. どういたしまして. Glad we Could help WP.


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