What is Japanese Christmas culture? Also introduces illumination spots

“I want to experience Japan’s unique Christmas culture!” Foreigners visiting Japan during the Christmas period may think this way. Christmas in Japan has many differences from overseas. This time, we will explain the classics of Christmas in Japan, such as how to spend the day and the meals.

At the end, we also introduce recommended Christmas illumination spots, so be sure to take a look. Experience Japan’s Christmas culture and create wonderful memories.


◊What are the characteristics of Christmas in Japan? Introducing our unique culture!

How do Japanese people spend Christmas? I would like to introduce three characteristics that are different from those overseas.

● Spend time with your lover or friends
● Eating out or going out
● The night of the 24th is the most exciting.

It is standard for Christmas in Japan to spend time with your lover or friends, and to eat out and go out. Let’s take a closer look.


・Spend time with your lover or friends

Overseas, Christmas is mainly spent with family, but single men and women in Japan often prioritize their lovers and friends. Christmas in particular is one of the most important events for couples, and it is common to spend it together.

It’s also the perfect time to confess your feelings and propose, so hotels and restaurants will have a variety of plans for couples. A characteristic of Christmas in Japan is that children only spend time with their families during childhood, and as they grow older, they spend more time with friends and lovers.


・Eating out or going out

Restaurants and department stores in Japan generally do not close during the Christmas period, as it is a busy season. The city is lively with many families and couples going shopping and eating out because it’s Christmas.

You may be surprised at the difference, as it is common for shops to be closed and the streets to be quiet during the Christmas period overseas. Christmas in Japan is open as usual, so you won’t have any trouble finding a place to shop or eat.


・The night of the 24th is the most exciting.

The most exciting time of Christmas in Japan is the 24th. Japan does not have a Christmas holiday, so there is no culture of taking long breaks. Few people go out of their way to take time off for Christmas, and the Japanese Christmas season is characterized by a very short period. Therefore, many people will enjoy a Christmas party on the night of the 24th. Restaurants are also busiest on the night of the 24th, when they are filled with customers who have reserved reservations.

The town is filled with restaurant staff dressed as Santa Claus and young people having fun until late at night, creating a fun atmosphere. On the 25th, there will be less excitement than on the 24th, and the city will be calmer.


◊Is it not possible to eat without making a reservation? What is the standard Christmas meal menu?

What kind of food do Japanese people enjoy at Christmas? The four standard Christmas dishes are:

● KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
● Christmas cake
● Pizza
● Roast chicken

The standard Christmas meal menu is different in Japan and overseas. In Japan, it is standard to eat chicken and cake on Christmas. Let’s take a look at the differences in Christmas food culture between Japan and other countries.


・KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)

Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is famous all over the world, has become an indispensable standard menu item for Christmas in Japan. Japan Kentucky Fried Chicken Co., Ltd. has established itself with a Christmas campaign. Before Christmas, a commercial for a limited menu is shown and reservations are flooded.

Storefronts on Christmas day will be quite crowded as customers will be lining up to pick up their reservations. It’s so popular that in some stores you can’t buy it unless you make a reservation, and it has become a standard menu item.


・Christmas cake

Christmas cake is an essential part of Christmas in Japan. Overseas, people often eat sponge or bread-based foods such as Kuglof or Stollen. However, in Japan, shortcakes made with fresh cream, strawberries, and sugar and decorated with Santa Claus decorations are common.

Fujiya, a Western confectionery store, became established by selling Christmas cakes. On Christmas day, cakes are sold on the streets, so it might be fun to take a look and see what they are like.



When we have a Christmas party at home, we often order pizza delivered to our home. Pizza delivery on Christmas day is flooded with orders, so if you don’t make a reservation, you may not be able to eat it, so stores recommend making reservations early. You might see pizza delivery companies busily riding around town on motorcycles dressed as Santa Claus.

In addition to home delivery, we also sell large quantities at supermarkets.This menu item is so popular that it was sold out on the night of the 24th.


・Roast chicken

Roast chicken is often seen on everyday dinner tables overseas, but in Japan, many families only eat it at Christmas. They are sold in large quantities at supermarkets and convenience stores only during the Christmas period.

Some restaurants sell roast chicken as a standard Christmas course menu, and it is very popular.


◊Recommended Christmas illumination spots

In Japan, illumination events that can be enjoyed during the Christmas period are held all over the country. From here, we will introduce recommended Christmas illumination spots.

There is a possibility that the event will be canceled depending on the infection status of the new coronavirus, so be sure to check whether the event is being held right before you go.


・[Tokyo Yomiuriland] “Jewel Color” Jewellumination

At Yomiuriland, one of the largest scale illuminations in Kanto will be held. This season, new colors that express “love for the earth” will be introduced, which will further excite the atmosphere.

Another highlight of Yomiuri Land is that you can enjoy a panoramic view of the scenery while riding the Ferris wheel. The extremely popular fountain show will also be held, making it a spectacular illumination spot.


●Event period October: 19, 2023 (Thursday) – April 7, 2024 (Sunday)

●Location: Yomiuriland

●Address: 4015-1 Yanoguchi, Inagi City, Tokyo


・[Yokohama/Minato Mirai] Yorunoyo 2023

An illumination event will also be held at Minato Mirai, a popular tourist spot. The theme for 2023 is “Visiting, Encountering, and Mixing,” and it is a fantastic show that includes projection mapping and music.

The event is held once every 30 minutes, and admission is free, so it’s easy to take a tour while sightseeing.


●Event period November: 27, 2023 (Monday) to January 4, 2024 (Thursday)

●Location: Yokohama downtown waterfront area

●Time: 17:00~21:05


・[Tokyo Disneyland Sea] Disney Christmas

At Tokyo Disneyland, a limited-time Christmas parade called “Disney Christmas Stories” will be held. If you use the paid service Disney Premier Access, you can watch the show from a reserved seat, so if you’re concerned about crowds, you might want to consider that.

Currently, the Disney Resort is holding a 40th anniversary event, where you can enjoy not only the parade but also limited edition goods and food. At DisneySea, the approximately 15-meter-tall Christmas tree has returned for the first time in four years, so why not take a commemorative photo?


●Event period November: 8, 2023 (Wednesday) – December 25, 2023 (Monday)

●Location: Park Wide

●Performance time: 45 minutes


・[Saitama Moominvalley Park] Winter in Moominvalley

A limited event will also be held at Moominvalley Park in Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture. It is a fantastic event where the story of Moomin is projected as projection mapping and the aurora borealis also appears.

How about spending a wonderful Christmas at Moominvalley Park, where you can experience the world of the story?


●Event period November: 2, 2023 (Thursday) to January 8, 2024 (Monday)

●Location: Moominvalley Park

●Time: Based on Moominvalley Park business hours


◊Enjoy the traditional Japanese way of spending Christmas

We introduced the differences between Christmas culture in Japan and overseas. There are many differences between Japan and other countries, including the people you spend time with, the standard food menu, and the way you spend your time. Why not experience the difference firsthand and experience Japanese Christmas culture?

Also, the streets of Japan are very lively during the Christmas period. There are lively restaurants and plenty of events, so you’ll be able to stay active. Have an experience like never before and make your trip a memorable one.


Q. Do I have to make reservations for all restaurants during Christmas?
A. Although not all restaurants, many restaurants are fully booked during dinner time on the 24th.If there’s a restaurant you want to go to, it’s a good idea to check in advance to see if it’s open.

Q.Are famous tourist spots open during Christmas?
A. Many locations are open during the Christmas period, but it may be a good idea to inquire as they may be temporarily closed.